Chow Down In Milwaukee

Restaurant Reviews

Run, Don't Crawl,To Crawdaddy's

I would like to begin this review with the statement most often uttered during our visit. This statement in some form or another was voiced by almost every person in attendance. This was, “Normally I don’t like_____ but here it is really good!”

The here in question would be the new Crawdaddy’s Roadhouse located at 9638 w. National Ave. in West Allis, owned by the owner of the original restaurant that was located on 64th and Greenfield Chef Jonathan Klug. This gives the city of West Allis its second venue with ‘Crawdaddy’s’ in the name. If you would like information on the other location, please feel free to read the review I did there as well.

Although both restaurants include New Orleans themed artwork and decorations the difference in atmosphere was immediately evident. Despite National Avenue being closed from 92nd to 96th streets, the parking lot here was full and the place buzzed with a feeling of excitement. The music being played was of a Cajun variety which I always feel lends to a more inclusive environment. The layout was far more spacious than the exterior would lead you to believe. Including the seating at the ornate bar as well as a wide selection of tables spread throughout the restaurant, Crawdaddy’s Roadhouse has seating for up to 140 guests. While we were there, we were also informed of plans to open a banquet hall in the very near future which can be rented out for any occasion.

We were seated in a short amount of time as a table had been reserved for us and was ready upon our arrival.  Our server, Athena, came by in short order. She was genuinely enthusiastic about the restaurant itself as well as having the responsibility of waiting on us. Her energy and smile were a good start to our evening here. I ordered a glass of beer from the local brewery Westallion brewery (See review for them on this site as well).  Rachel ordered the classic bayou drink, the hurricane. She said the strength was evident, but the flavor was not compromised. A tasty option she would recommend, although she would also like to try it blended. After my meal I also ordered a mojito which was light, refreshing and included a generous helping of mint. Everyone’s beverage from soda to vodka and lemonade seemed to be crafted perfectly. Even Dave, who enjoyed just a few bottles of Miller Lite due to eating earlier, informed us they were quite cold and wet. This is really the best you can expect.

Taking suggestions on appetizers from both our server Athena as well as Rachel who had enjoyed this original menu previously, really paid off. We ordered Stuffed Bread which were circles of bread filled with ground andouille sausage and grated white cheddar cheese. These were served with a Garlic-herb butter. These were little bites of heaven. Even the butter, which sadly was frozen, was full of flavor and would have been great on anything. We also ordered a side of their House Baked Bread. I am not sure how bread can have such a crusty shell and be so soft on the inside, but this bread certainly was.

Once the main entrees began to arrive our mouths continued to water. I am going to attempt to highlight the most unique or amazing of the 8 dishes ordered, but I can assure you that everyone left full and happy. Each of the dishes was plated with an impressive artistic flair. Sides were thoughtfully positioned to highlight the main dish.

We will start with one of the more classic Cajun dishes the Po’Boy ordered by Dean. You could choose from several options and he chose fried oysters. Served on a French roll with lettuce and tomato plus a delicious sauce this is an item not to be missed. I would be interested in returning and trying one with crawfish tails.

Scott ordered the Rajun’ Cajun Chicken sandwich. Blackened chicken breast topped with provolone cheese, Cajun mayo and sautéed onions, mushrooms and peppers. The bun this sandwich was served on even featured a wonderful buttery shine.  Scott chose a side of fries to go with this sandwich which was tasty and flavorful without being spicy.

Scott’s wife Alex ordered the Chicken Fried Steak, another southern classic. This featured a hand-battered and golden steak. This was in turn topped with peppered country gravy an served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and smothered greens. Alex made a point to compliment the airy and light texture of the potatoes. The smothered greens were deliciously buttery and not bitter.

I ordered the Blackened Salmon. A tender Scottish salmon filet, blackened to perfection in a cast iron skillet, topped with orange-rosemary butter served on a bed of wilted greens with portabella mushrooms. It also afforded you the choice of 2 sides. I chose the fried okra with jalapeno mayo and smothered collard greens mentioned earlier. Everything was as mouth-watering as it sounds. The size of the salmon filet was generous. The blackened process used by Crawdaddy’s Roadhouse creates fabulous flavor without too much spice. That was one of the main surprises experienced by our dinners. Those who tried blackened food claimed they usually did not like it but found it exceptional here. It should be noted my mother had the blacked salmon salad which featured the same fish over fresh mixed greens and a balsamic vinaigrette she raved about.

Rachel ordered the Stuffed Eggplant. They begin by breading and deep frying a sizable half of an eggplant. It is then stuffed with jumbo shrimp and crawfish and is finished with Cajun red gravy. It is served with garlic mashed and glazed carrots. This dish was voted as one of Milwaukee’s best eats by Milwaukee Magazine.

My favorite dish of the evening was ordered by my lovely lady, Margie. She decided to order the Blackened Duck Breast. The menu informs you that “You have never had duck like this!” and they were right. It is Maple Leaf Farms duck breast marinated then blackened to your liking. It is then thinly sliced and topped with that delicious Garlic-herb butter. It is served with angel hair pasta and Crawdaddy’s famous glazed carrots, as the menu describes them. I am normally not the biggest fan of duck as it tends to be a little on the greasy side for me. This duck, however, was more like a tender slice of the juiciest steak. The blackened seasoning which Margie does not normally care for was blended so supremely it only elevated the wonderful cut of meat you were eating. I do not pretend to know what qualifies a glazed carrot to become famous, but I suspect it would take the qualities of the ones served with this dish. They are both rustic and hearty yet sweet and tender. As for how famous they are I could not say. As to how delicious they were you have my word on that. A side note is that Margie enjoyed this dish just as much the following day when what little was left was reheated.

We concluded our meal with an order of bread pudding. This was another dish that several of our group claimed they did not enjoy. Once again, Crawdaddy’s Roadhouse made believers out of them too. Firm enough to stand up to the decadent caramel sauce that covered it, yet soft enough to melt as soon as it was placed in your mouth. We all enjoyed some despite our feelings of complete culinary satisfaction.

In conclusion, Crawdaddy’s Roadhouse is worth your time to explore. The meals were exceptional. The service was friendly and very informative. The atmosphere could not be more fun and included a fabulous live band as we made our way to the exit. My one suggestion is to bring a little more speed in which the dishes arrived at our table. Although while we were waiting, we had the chance to enjoy the fabulous crafted cocktails and locally brewed beer served here. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a visit to Crawdaddy’s Roadhouse and do so soon. As an added bonus, the road construction is expected to wrap up soon allowing more people to discover this new gem in a city full of great dining choices.


Written By: Neil Panosian

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