Man, here's another one that really dates us....... I first posted on Bud's, when it was Bud's Louisiana Food Shoppe on Kettner back in August of 2006. We then visited a couple of itmes after they moved to Tierrasanta in August of 2008. We thought the food had slipped a bit and before we knew it, Bud's was gone.......
Only to find out that Bud's Cafe had reopened on a small side street of Balboa Avenue in an area that looked like a business park.
After the move to Tierrasanta, the hours had gotten a bit different, and here it was Monday and Tuesday, breakfast and lunch, 7am to 3pm. Wednesday thru Friday 7am to 9pm, and Saturday 12 noon to 9pm. Since I'm fairly close to the location, I decided on grabbing some lunch to see how things were at Bud's.
It's the same paintings and furniture, but for some reason, I liked it in this setting more. There's also a nice outdoor area, for those non-rainy, winter months. The menu looked pretty much the same and I've always enjoyed the option of a cup of gumbo or bisque to pair with a sandwich. So I went with something I hadn't had in a while, a cup of Jambalaya ($4).
This was better than I recalled; a nice tang, decent seasoning.....the food at Bud's has never struck me as spicy, so I didn't expect that. It was a decent bowl, even overcoming my dislike for converted rice.
I paired that with the New Orleans BBQ Shrimp Po' Boy ($9).
The sandwich came with some "by the book" Cajun seasoned fries. The bread was crusty and the shrimp was just plain perfectly sauteed. I had forgotten that Bud's tends to drench stuff with tartar sauce......the BBQ sauce wasn't particularly spicy and this isn't a "super stuffed" sandwich, but I wasn't expecting that. Not bad.....
My server was excellent, friendly, but not too buddy-buddy, efficient and professional. I thought the service was actually a notch above the food.....
I returned a couple of days later and ordered a Spicy Andouille Po Boy ($10).
The bread was again crusty, whole grain mustard went well with the sausage, which I was told was Comeaux's Andouille, a pretty well known brand out of Lafayette. The spices were nice, with a bit more ooomph then I expected. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the very tough casing of the sausage, which was really hard to bite through with pulling the whole darn thing out on your lap. Nitpicky perhaps, but overall a decent meal.....
I had mentioned having lunch at Bud's to the Missus. She was curious to see if the food had changed over the years......and I noticed that Bud's has a Happy Hour from Wednesdays through Fridays, from 3pm to 6pm. 15% off appetizers.....I thought some appetizers would be enough for a meal for me and since they also had the lunch/dinner menu, She went for the Crawfish Etouffe ($15).
This seemed a tad lighter (in a good way) then what we'd experienced at Bud's before, it was not as rich, but the great flavors of the shellfish base came through nicely. It was also devoid of the gummy textured, floury taste that sometimes came along with this pretty looking plate. The Missus thought the crawfish taste came through better as well.
I almost forgot about the Caesar Salad that came with the etouffe.......it was actually decent in size. But take a close look and you'll find that the romain lettuce is dripping wet. It hadn't been dried well after rinsing......watering things down.
The cup of Red Beans and Rice was a total fail for us. Other then the nice tasting Andouille, I really thought it second rate. First, there was a total lack of flavor in this....no beans, no spice, no smokiness. It was more watery then creamy, and the beans were tough..... I mean c'mon, this is something I make at home all the time. I know it can be done better.....
I was fascinated by the Creole Caviar, so of course I ordered it.
I loved the flavor of the "pate", a blend of shellfish base with shrimp, crawfish, the Cajun trinity....it was rich in a good way. The Missus didn't care for it at first, mostly because the "toasts" were a bit too buttery, taking the richness over the top for us, and making the dish a bit too salty. This would have been great with just plain bread ot toasts. It didn't seem like much, but sure filled us up. We'll have this again....though maybe order a baquette instead of the toasts.
Thinking that I hadn't had a fried item here, I ordered the Soft Shell Crab Appetizer, a simple floured and deep fried soft shell crab. First, I thought the tartar sauce in this case really helped the soft shell crab....the capers in the sauce did wonders, mainly because the flavor was pretty mild. We also didn't enjoy how this was fried....preferring light and crisp, over gummy and chewy. Sad, I'd always thought they did a good job of frying here....perhaps this is an aberration.
Dinner did seem a bit of a mixed bag, but we left in a positive state of mind. Service had been nice and professional, and though I've heard folks complain about the price to quantity ratio......I'd point to our $30 tab for two burgers we recently ordered at the bar, which was more expensive then this meal!
We'll probably be back in the near future....I still need to see if their gumbo and seafood bisque is still any good.
Bud's Louisiana Cafe
4320 Viewridge Ave
San Diego, CA 92123