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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023

Family Business Satisfies

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Anthony’s Steak, Seafood and Poultry.

Anthony’s puts the home in homemade

In each issue, the 318 Forum’s always-hungry reporter visits a different restaurant and tells you about the experience.

One of us wanted steak.

One of us wanted seafood. So, a recent Saturday night seemed like the right time to try a restaurant which – according to its name – serves both.

Anthony’s Steak, Seafood & Poultry (7504 Mansfield Road in Shreveport) is a place I’ve heard good things about but never visited. I’m told the restaurant – established in 1992 – is in what used to be a Pizza Inn. Someone with a better memory than me says the pizza place was popular, as it was next to the long-since-closed Joy’s Cinema City Six theater.

Anthony’s is a little hard to see from the street. So hard, in fact, that my friend saw it before I did.

It’s in a nice, nondescript building, which looks more like a house. The sign out front is small, so when your GPS says, “You’ve arrived at your destination,” slow down and look around. It’s there.

Walking in, we were greeted by a pleasant lady with an inviting smile. It’s always nice to feel like your business is appreciated instead of waiting several minutes for a hostess to acknowledge your presence.

We were escorted to the dining room and soon found ourselves in the 1970s. The atmosphere immediately reminded me of smoke-filled restaurants you see in old movies. Thankfully, there wasn’t any smoke.

But there was green, opaque plastic between booths, with skinny wood columns dividing the back of diners’ heads. There were mauve-colored tablecloths (think of your grandma’s kitchen table) underneath glass. On this night, very pleasing, recorded jazz music was playing throughout the restaurant. We were told the type of music changes each evening.

I kept expecting to see the Rat Pack – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford (young readers, google them) – enjoying steak and drinks over hearty laughter.

We loved the atmosphere. We were seated – no waiting – at 6:50.

Our server, Barbara, was at our table within a minute or two to welcome us and take our drink order. We would later learn Barbara – who was very nice and wore a big smile – is Chef Anthony’s sister and has worked at the restaurant for some 30 years. Most everyone who works there is related to the chef. There are nieces, nephews and a grandson, whom I met in the restroom he was cleaning, and has a wonderful attitude about life (“I want to be my own man”).

We began our meal with an appetizer of Fried Alligator Bites ($12.99). It’s not every day you have the chance to eat alligator, so why not?

Some 15 minutes later, and with my stomach growling, our appetizer arrived. Barbara gave us an understandable explanation for what seemed like a long wait. “Everything is cooked to order.” It’s hard to argue with that, and the alligator bites were well worth the wait. There were five on a plate – three small ones and two bigger ones. They were served hot and had a really good taste. The batter was just right: not too thin to fall into tiny pieces and not too thick to where it was all we tasted.

I was surprised the alligator bites didn’t come with a dipping sauce and was going to request one. But before I could, Barbara came to our table and asked if we would like something in which to dip our appetizer. She recommended a remoulade sauce, and her recommendation was spot-on. It was tangy, had a bit of a kick and was the perfect complement to the alligator bites.

There was an issue when it came to my friend ordering a glass of wine. Two of her choices from the wine list were not available. Another choice (Barbara kindly offered to bring a sample) was too sweet for my friend’s taste. Eventually, my friend found a wine ($10) she liked. Easing the frustration, a nice lady came over and apologized for the confusion, saying the restaurant was updating its wine list, and some wines on the list were unavailable.

All entrées come with a salad and either a baked potato, au gratin potatoes or french fries.

The salad was plentiful but nothing special.

It looked and tasted like a bag salad. But my friend found something that made an ordinary salad extraordinary. She ordered a vinaigrette dressing. But this was not your typical vinaigrette dressing. It was made by Chef Anthony.

The dressing was tomato-based, and my friend compared its taste to that of spaghetti sauce.

She absolutely loved it. So much that she dipped into it just about every piece of food she had.

About 45 minutes after we were seated, our entrées were served. They both had a very nice presentation and were as ordered. I had a combination of Catfish, Shrimp and Frog-Legs ($37.99), which came with one nice-sized fillet, three healthy shrimp and three nice-sized frog legs. The batter, just like on the alligator bites, was perfect. The fish, shrimp and frog legs tasted great – without the “seafood” taste.

I chose a baked potato. For you older folks, remember the baked potato Bonanza served back in the day? This one had that taste, and it was delicious. It is a compromise between a hard and soft potato, with almost a grilled taste.

My friend went with an eight-ounce Petite Ribeye ($27.99). She likes her steak with a touch of pink inside. Sure enough, that’s exactly how it was cooked. My friend said it was tender, juicy and well-seasoned. She did not have any complaints.

She selected the au gratin potatoes and said the texture and cheese were good. Some augratin potatoes are soupy – these weren’t.

Also, with our meal, we were served a loaf of bread with a drizzle of melted butter. Neither my friend nor I are big bread-eaters, but with you, the reader, in mind, we each had a bite. The bread was delicious, and when asked, Barbara told us it was homemade.

Desserts are not on the menu, so ask what’s available. We did (of course) and were given choices of cheesecake with a strawberry drizzle, key lime pie, crème brulee’ or chocolate cake. We both like key lime pie, but it seems hard to find in these parts. So, we took advantage of the opportunity.

We both liked it, but my friend liked it more than me. I didn’t experience the “key lime” taste. To me, the filling tasted more like custard. My friend tasted the key lime but didn’t care for the crust. A nice amount of whipped cream was on top, but not so much that it overtook the pie.

Pleasantly full, we received our check. The total (excluding tax and tip) was $85.96. I thought that was a bit pricey, but I’m not a good judge of what something should cost. I think everything – especially food – is expensive.

One thing that wasn’t on the receipt – but is common at many restaurants – was a tip percentage breakdown. It’s helpful not to have to use your phone calculator to determine 15, 18 or 20 percent of the subtotal.

One hour and 40 minutes after we arrived, we left – very satisfied with the food and atmosphere. Most of all, however, we enjoyed that Anthony’s is a family business. Everyone seemed to care about our experience and genuinely appreciate our business. That goes a long way, especially if the food is just soso.

In this case, however, the food was much better than so-so. Mix everything together, and Anthony’s Steak, Seafood & Poultry gets four forks. I would return and would go out of my way to do so.

Is there a restaurant you would like 318 Forum to review? Email: SBJRestaurantReview@gmail.com

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