Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Town South Food, Wine, and Pho in Shreveport, LA

The actual name of the restaurant referred to locally as "Town South" is "Town South Food & Wine and Pho Beef Noodle Soup Crawfish and Oyster." That's the name printed on the menu. With a name that unusual, I was already fairly certain that I'd soon be having a singular dining experience as I headed south on Youree Drive to E. Flournoy Lucas Rd. A friend had recently told me of the combination grocery store/Vietnamese restaurant, and he'd described it as a no-frills, deli counter type place that just happens to serve authentic Vietnamese seafood and traditional soups. Despite being briefed on what to expect, I was still caught off-guard by the sign at the corner: LIVE BAIT.

I joined the lunch crowd in ordering a plate of boiled shrimp (pictured above), which came heads-attached, served atop a pile of boiled onions with corn and potato, the whole plate covered in Tony Chachere's. They were good, but I ended up with buyer's remorse after reading the selection of Vietnamese soups: Oxtail Beef Noodle Soup, Combination Noodle Soup with Shrimp, Beef Liver, Squid and Roast Pork (hachi machi!), Rice Noodle Soup with Pork and Crab Claws, and many more.

It's the context that makes Town South rewarding. You don't expect Oxtail Soup from a place with a Slush Puppie machine in the back. Some will wonder how a place like this ends up on a tourism-related blog. It's not going to get starred by Michelin any time soon, and the dining tables are sandwiched between boxes of Ritz Crackers and cases of malt liquor. Honestly, my answer would be: just look at it. There's an airboat parked beside the building. There's a note apologizing for how expensive crawfish are this year. This kind of place only exists here.

Town South is open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. They accept all major credit cards and take take-out orders at (318) 797-0622. Prices range from $6-$18 and there are daily lunch specials.

View a slideshow of photos from Town South.

No comments: