Who would have thought someone born and raised in New Orleans, La (LJ) and someone born in Havana, Cuba (Ozzy) would one day end up opening a restaurant in Grand Bay, Alabama? Certainly not myself, but for the past five years our area has had the privilege of enjoying the unique blend of these two flavorful influences.
When I asked Ozzy how long he had been a chef, he simply said “my whole life”. He moved to the states in 1980 and settled in New Orleans, La, where years later he would meet LJ through the food service industry. LJ’s 25 years of being a chef, much like Ozzy’s career, consist of culinary school and many restaurants including casinos (where he will proudly tell you he was always employee of the month). The two commute from Saucier, Ms all the way to Grand Bay and back each day.
You can’t judge this book by its cover, from such a small building comes big flavor. You won’t find any salt and pepper on their tables. Adding seasoning is like an insult to the love and care they put into each dish, as LJ will tell you.
The first part of my experience was the welcoming you receive just from walking in the door, you’re treated like family by both gentlemen. We started our meal off with an appetizer of fried pickles that I was told would be the best I’ve ever had, and they definitely lived up to the hype. Each slice of pickle was individually battered before being fried to a perfect crisp, you can see the Cajun inspired seasoning on each piece. The sign out front mentions their famous fried green tomatoes, so of course we had to get an order of those as well. A whole green tomato fried, in heavily seasoned batter, covered with a tomato and basil sauce that gives you the perfect balance of tomato and basil flavors presented with a lemon and parsley flakes. It definitely did not disappoint.
While choosing an entree, I asked for their favorite dishes. After a few minutes going back and forth, Ozzy finally told me if he had to choose it would be the Alfredo supreme. But ultimately we decided on the blackened fish supreme, and a stuffed burger each served with a handcrafted house salad topped with dried cranberries. The blackened fish supreme is a perfectly Cajun inspired seasoned fillet, over a bed of jasmine rice covered in the same tomato basil sauce along with a few grilled gulf shrimp. Being born and raised into a seafood family cooked by my mom and grandmothers, I hold a very high standard for seafood. The texture of the blackened fillet along with the creamy tomato basil sauce complimented each other very well, I definitely approve of this dish.
With the stuffed burger, I chose mushrooms, onions, and cheese. The handmade patty, out of marinated hamburger meat, flowing with cheese on the very first bite. Even the fries served with the burger were fried just right, you can tell by the way the food tasted and was presented that they enjoy their job. Every dish was prepared right when you ordered, and every sauce was made in house. The only unfortunate thing about my visit was I did not buy a slice of cheesecake that is topped with their homemade bourbon glaze.
I will be back, finding a place where the hospitality is as good as the food is sometimes a challenge, and they have married the two here.
12610 US-90, Grand Bay, AL 36541