Forget your cares with flavorful fare at Fezzo’s in Crowley
Photos by Joseph Vidrine
Sept. 5, 2021 for this football fan was sobering.
The day before my alma mater the McNeese State Cowboys lost to the University of West Florida, an NCAA Division II team (national champions no less, but still in a lower division). Adding to the dismay, Louisiana State University — a team I root for because it is the state flagship school — was whupped by UCLA.
Starting off the much-anticipated football season in such a way left my soul empty and doubting the chances for a strong showing for either Louisiana school.
Therefore, to shake off the football blues (I get hungry when this occurs), I ventured east on Interstate 10 from Lake Charles to a place that serves authentic Cajun food which I knew would improve my outlook on football life and activate the taste buds.
Fezzo’s Seafood, Steakhouse, and Oyster Bar has three locations. But the venue I visit when the body has a hankering for earthy roux-based gumbos, rich sauces and gravies, fried seafood or a grilled steak is located in the Rice Capital of the World … Crowley.
Football losses only added to the proverbial “edge” many of us are experiencing along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. Hurricane recovery, insurance battles, hiding from COVID-19 and Noah’s Ark-style flooding makes the body weary. For this eating occasion, an appetizer of fried eggplant medallions covered with a creamy shrimp sauce and a plate of Fezzo’s Cajun Trio — individual cups of seafood gumbo, shrimp and okra gumbo, and seafood étouffée were the delicacies that reset my biorhythms in a positive way.
Restaurant owners Phil and Pat Faul and their business partner Winford “Pat” Borders II constructed the menu and restaurant setting to encourage a customer to slow down, tune in/tune out and improve their perspective on life no matter how complicated the world is. Flavorful food is meant to cajole one to focus on their plate or bowl, not the past or future.
“We cook food with the intention of stirring the pot like my grandma used to do. Our dishes are cooked slow and layered with flavor the correct way. It may take a little longer and possibly be a little expensive for us, but there is no value you can put on the flavor of the food when prepared correctly,” Phil Faul told me.
The Fauls and Bordes opened Fezzo’s in 1999. As a point of information a “fezzo” is actually the Cajun French word for a wooden spool.
What does a spool have to do with the restaurant’s name you might be wondering?
According to Fezzo’s website (fezzos.com), “A long time ago, when Phil’s father was a young boy in Church Point, Louisiana, he was very creative with his toys. His favorite toys were things he made with his mother’s empty wooden spools. Everywhere he went he always had these spool toys with him. One day, the local postmaster began calling him Fezzo — a name he carried with him all his life.”
Faul said it was a no-brainer to name the restaurant after his father. His father’s, mother’s, and grandmother’s kitchen experience also influenced a lot of the dishes.
There is one though, that has Phil and Pat’s input all in it … the seafood étouffée.
Shrimp and crawfish combined with a spicy sauce all smothered together in a pot and served with rice will help shake off any football related angst.
Heading back to Lake Charles I hummed McNeese State’s fight song “Jolie Blon” and LSU’s fight song “Fight for LSU.” Suffice to say, my mind was at peace and the belly was satisfied.
Such is the final result when eating food out of Fezzo’s winning kitchen.
How do you know a Cajun/Creole restaurant has good cooks? Sip a cup or bowl of gumbo. Fezzo’s gumbo with shrimp, oysters and other goodies leaves no doubt about the kitchen staff’s skills.
Creamy Crawfish and Tasso Pasta
The smoked meat melded with the pearl of the rice patty in a smothered rich sauce is sinful.
Phil’s Seafood Festival
Oysters, shrimp, fish, alligator, crab cake, stuffed shrimp and seafood étouffée on one plate makes a person want to do the Zydeco shuffle.
Smothered beef steak
What’s wrong with this version of smothered beef, onions, bell pepper and covered over rice? Not a darn thing!
Oh Lawd … pick your style with fried or grilled catfish, placed on a bed of rice and topped with an ample amount of étouffée (crawfish, shrimp or seafood).