Newly opened, The Louisiana Lobster Shack is a very funky looking space. The walls are covered in interesting art works, the bar is fully stocked and ready to meet the desires of cocktail lovers, and the furniture perfectly chosen for the space. Staff members are professional, friendly, cute in their uniforms and obviously experienced at working in a bustling restaurant.
The food menu is spread over two pages, with the drinks menu being about three times as long and, for the most part, dedicated to cocktails. For our table of six guests, this should have been the red alert that Louisiana’s main focus is not really the food. Unfortunately for us the hubbub of music, talking and laughter were not conducive to chilling and chatting over expensive cocktails.
We started the meal sharing a board of Hush Puppies and New Orleans modified bitterballen. I have always had the belief that deep-frying can make almost anything taste (momentarily) delicious. Incorrect. These deep fried corn meal nuggets were not delicious. Nor were the pseudo bitterballen containing corn meal and unidentifiable bits of meat. Very tasteless and dull.
Louisiana Bayou Crawfish Boil (€23.50) – this wooden board covered with red crayfish, two boiled potatoes, half a corn cob, coleslaw and ?spiced butter looked amazing. Alas the considerable task of removing the meat from the shells resulted in a tiny mound of tasteless crayfish meat – that couldn’t be improved by adding the ?spiced butter.
Gumbo (€14.50) – a traditional Creole dish, but unlike the traditional dish this gumbo lacked the spices that make it favourite comfort food.
RBR – Red Rice and Beans – (€12.50) as with the gumbo, no taste where there should have been an abundance of spices.
Corn Chowder (€9.50) – so dull that only half the serve could be eaten.
I had really high hopes for The Louisiana Lobster Shack. Their concept is fantastic, with Creole food being a perfect addition to the Haarlem restaurant scene. The Louisiana looks great – and will definitely entice the hip and trendy crowd, but offers little to customers seeking a satisfying culinary experience – unless it dares to use the spices intended for Creole dishes.
Bill: €165 – for six main meals, two shared entrees, seven beers, two glasses of wine, one prosecco.