On Saturday we made our first visit to The Bayou on Butler Street in Madison. We arrived while brunch was still serving, which sounded very good, but had a hankering for lunch so we waited until noon to order and had some tasty items off the lunch menu.
Tim and I are Bloody Mary snobs and are often disappointed with Bloody Marys at restaurants--not so at The Bayou. We thoroughly enjoyed the kick of heat in their special mix, which was a hint of things to come. One of only a handful of places in town where you can order fresh oysters on the half shell and they were outstanding. Tim ordered a dozen of the James River oysters from Virginia and although they were tiny little buggers, the taste was extremely fresh and clean. The Bayou offers a choice of three sauces with the oysters and we chose the house-made hot sauce. It was the beginning of a beautiful thing! Although the oysters need no sauce other than their own brine, the hot sauce was great with some of the other items we ordered.
The bayou offers traditional Nawlins-syle fare including Po Boys, Gumbo, Crawfish Etouffee. There were so many yummy sounding things we'll definitely be going back to try more. We tried the BBQ Shrimp appetizer which comes on a bed of rice with one skewer of shrimp and two skewers of vegetables. The rice was super with the hot sauce on it.
Tim had a crawfish Po Boy with a side of house made Baked Beans with Applewood Smoked Bacon, and I had the Gumbo, which was chock full of seafood and tasty but not too spicy. As usual we had too much food but fortunately I had ordered only a cup of the Gumbo so I helped polish off the crawdads from the Po Boy. The decor at The Bayou is something worth seeing, and it ought to be--the owners took about four years getting the place done up Mardi Gras style. The murals alone took over a year to paint. We plan to go back and try brunch some Saturday--they're closed on Sundays. If you go, check out the beer octopus over the bar. Apparently it comes down from the ceiling for a group beer chug--I'm sure that goes over well with the college crowd. As with all new restaurants The Bayou is still working out some of their menu and service details, but they seem to be off to a roaring start.
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