Last week I had the pleasure of attending a tasting of Pappadeaux’s 30th anniversary menu items. Let me just tell you this, when I received this invite, I literally squealed with excitement at my desk! As a girl who grew up in Houston, Pappadeaux holds a special place in my foodie heart. Younger Erika thought Pappadeaux was the pinnacle of fine dining. They had white tablecloths! The waiters wore bowties and fancy vests! Then the menu prices were more than our typical haunts, so my dad would make a show of rebuffing our entree choices and then would inevitably allow us to get what we wanted. This was part of the Pappadeaux tradition! It also served as our gathering place for special occasions such as birthdays, graduations and out of town guests. My nostalgic connection to Pappadeaux is real AND to think that this quintessential Houston restaurant turned 30 this year JUST LIKE ME! It is like we are kindred souls! 1986 was a good year folks I am just saying.
The Kitchen Tour
On this occasion I was here to learn more about Pappadeaux. First order of business, we were outfitted with Pappadeaux 30th anniversary aprons before heading into the kitchen to watch the preparation of a few dishes. Pappadeaux considers their kitchen to be proprietary so no pictures allowed there, but I can tell you all of the good stuff. When the Pappas’ restaurants tell you they make everything fresh. They are not lying to you. The chefs showed us around the kitchen and continually pointed to prep draws that were already outfitted with fresh spinach, garlic, tomatoes etc so that the cooks could quickly prepare the orders One chef indicated that the full prep for a dish could take an hour so they work hard to prepare many of the components early in the day and then of course create your entree after you order it in a shorter time frame.
Another interesting thing is Pappas makes basically everything in house. So the andouille sausage you are enjoying in the gumbo? It is crafted over at Pappas’ Barbecue and then sent over to Pappadeaux as needed! On this occasion the chefs showed the preparation for the shrimp and grits and red snapper. We toured the kitchen just before the lunch rush so much of the staff was cleared out during our demonstration. I can only imagine what that kitchen looks like during the full rush, but it seems to operate pretty smoothly.
After our tour we headed back to the banquet room to taste those dishes and watch a demonstration of the 30th birthday signature cocktail, the Cat-30 Hurricane. The bartender even handed us some shakers so we could make a cocktail! The drink includes aged rum, Fassionola syrup, fresh lime juice, soda and topped with Hennessy V.S. If that isn’t your speed, you can always go with my favorite, the Swamp thing!!
Next, they brought out a round of appetizers for us including shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, oysters and salmon. All of these dishes were amazing! I would have loved to stay there all day, but duty called. I had to go back to work I ordered stuffed shrimp and sautéed spinach to go. Before I left, the waitresses brought out the signature dessert, a Bananas Foster Cheesecake filled with vanilla pound cake, caramelized bananas and Bananas Foster sauce. I do not even like cheesecake, but this was really good.
Talk to a Houstonian and everyone will tell you their favorite Pappadeaux location. There is of course the original on Westheimer which serves the traditional Pappadeaux bread with garlic butter on the inside. The fancier, but smaller one at Richmond and Kirby which always gives me the “see and be seen vibe.” Someone else noted that there are several locations out of state including one in Georgia that has a buffet!! Then of course the location I visited on this day, the one near Memorial City Mall and I-10 and the beltway. What I learned is, this location serves as the test kitchen. Most new items that are placed on the Pappadeaux menu will be tested here first before being rolled out to restaurants around the country. Also the private room we feasted in serves as the location for many of their food photoshoots.
Our host was a member of the Pappas family and could not have been nicer and more welcoming! It really was a great time! Pappadeaux will be celebrating their 30th birthday for the month of October and you can get in on the fun with all the fun dishes listed above and these dine in only deals! (October 9th-October 31)
- Sunday and Monday: Half Price Gulf Coast Oysters $6.95 per dozen
- Tuesday and Wednesday: Half Price Seafood Platter $13.45 (my favorite entree there, there is a great deal!!)
- Thursday and Friday: Two 1-Pound Live Maine Lobsters $29.95
Finally, you can also “Celebrate your Pappadeaux” by sharing a photo during the month of October. 30 winners will receive $150 Pappdeaux gift cards!