I Ate Here: Beau Legs (Southern Cuisine)

 

Review: Beau Legs, Lacey, WA

Somewhere along the evolutionary chain between fish and chicken, emerged frogs. Sometime in history, a primitive human slaughtered an amphibian and discovered it was tasty. We’ve been eating the part land-dwelling  and part water-dwelling slimy critters ever since. (Fun Fact: Some researchers suggest some of the first frog legs ever eaten occured over 10,000 years ago in ancient Wiltshire, England)

Frog legs are one of the star dishes at Beau Legs, located in Lacey, Wash. For foodies brave enough to try frog legs, their flavor profile is just that–a cross between a chicken and a fish. Frog legs have a history of being braised or roasted Asian and European dishes (mainly French.) However, at Beau Legs, frog legs are prepared Southern style: drenched in a cajun-spiced flour mixture and then deep fried like chicken wings. (If you’ve never seen frog legs before, picture a longer, more slender chicken wing without the pointy tips on the end).

 Southern-style deep fried frog legs at Beau Legs in Lacey, WA

Southern-style deep fried frog legs at Beau Legs in Lacey, WA

Beau legs has a plethora of other Southern Style offerings, such as gumbo ( a stew-like concoction with beans, spices, andouille sausage over rice)  mac and cheese, jambalaya (much like gumbo, but not a stew), deep fried chicken, alligator po’ boys, and fried okra. (Note: When I ate at Beau Legs recently, they were out of the alligator po’ boys. The waitress who served us said the alligator is sometimes a difficult-to-get-item from local suppliers. So if you want to try some alligator, call ahead.)

My fiance and I decided to try this restaurant after reading lots of positive reviews on yelp. My notes on overall dining experience:

Appearance:The decor doesn’t immediately scream ‘southern style’ save for a couple of mardi-gras masks on the wall. The interior dawns shades of a nautical blue, the same that you would find at most fish and chip establishments. The dining room is quaint, with about five tables and five booths. Though most tables were occupied and seating limited, it  was very clean and did not feel crowded.

Frog legs: The frog legs are coated in the same flour mixture as is used as the fried chicken. The texture of the frog legs met the expectation of what any flour-fried meat should be: golden brown, soft on the inside and with crispy on the edges. The meat was moist, easy-to-separate from the bones and cooked all the way through.

Catfish: The catfish was coated in cornmeal mix of seasonings with salt, pepper and I believe a hint of paprika. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the catfish was fried. I’ve tried many a fish rolled in cornbread and fried that was either greasy (which happens when you don’t wait long enough for the oil in the pan to heat up to the right temperature for frying and the piece of food you are trying to cook absorbs the oil) or the oil was too hot and the cornmeal burned too quickly. The catfish was neither oily or burned. The salt brought out the oceany flavor of the catfish and the cornmeal provided a lightly crunchy texture.

Tartar Sauce: Instead of handing out tartar sauce packets or having customers squirt out a generic brand through a pump,Beau Legs uses a fresh tartar sauce. The horseradish flavor is distinct, but not overly-sharp. The horseradish mix is finely minced and gives the tartar sauce a smoother consistency, unlike some brands of mass-produced tartar sauce,which have huge chunks of horseradish in them. There’s also a layer of sweetness to the tartar sauce (presumably from lemon), and chopped dill that adds a tangy element to the sauce that counterbalances the sweetness. They need to bottle this sauce and sell it!

Fried Prawns: The prawns were coated in a panko breadcrumbs. The prawns were quite large and plump. The ratio of breadcrumbs to prawns was equally proportional, allowing me to taste the buttery, juicy texture of the prawns.

Red Beans and Rice: Red beans were molded on top of the rice like the top of Mt. Rainer and it was great fun to dig down to find the rice and mix it up with my spoon! The rice was fluffy, but still firm. All of this was mixed in with creole seasonings and chunks of andouille sausage.

A cup of Beau Legs' red beans and rice

A cup of Beau Legs’ red beans and rice

Hush Puppies: My biggest surprise of the whole meal! I was apprehensive about tying the hushpuppies at first because 1) the hush puppies were a darker brown instead of a golden brown that I am used to seeing in photos 2) The first time I tried hush puppies at a national fast food chain and they had absolutely no flavor at all. They were just burned cornmeal balls. This was about five years ago and I never ate another hush puppy again.

The Beau Legs version of hush puppies were like a flavor explosion in your mouth. Crunchy on the outside and soft and spongy on the inside. There were some onions that were finely chopped (in the same way as the horseradish in the tartar sauce) that gave the inside of the hush puppies wonderful sweetness that complimented the herbs inside (I could not decide if the herb was parsley or thyme). If this is how hush puppies are supposed to taste, I have been missing out because of one bad experience long ago.

Beau Legs Fish and Chips

8765 Tallon Ln NE Ste G, Lacey, WA 98516

(360) 915-6328

Hours:

11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday

11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Noon- 7 p.m. Sunday

Menu price range: $3.99 for most sides $9-$15 for entrees and special dishes

 

 

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