For decades, Jacksonians and others looking for fresh boiled crawfish, shrimp, and numerous dishes made with the spicy seafood have turned to Sal and Phil’s, a longtime seafood restaurant on Old Canton Road in Ridgeland. During crawfish season, which kicks off later this month, the restaurant serves up steaming platters of boiled crawfish and sides, along with popular baked dishes like Crawfish Julie, crawfish etouffee, fried crawfish tails, and crawfish poboys. Any way his cooks prepare them, customers can’t get enough of the spicy crawfish, said Anthony Walker, who co-owns Sal and Phil’s with Casey Waggener.
"Crawfish is like catfish in that it’s delicious, but needs a little spice,” said Walker. “You can make the boil fiery with spices or take it down a notch or two. In Louisiana, the rule of thumb is the hotter the better. Here, we use a lot of spices, but try to maintain a good balance for customers who prefer a milder flavor.”
Sal and Phil’s also sells packaged crawfish meat for customers who want to experiment in the kitchen with the versatile seafood that’s only around for a few months of the year.
Crawfish is a favorite selection of Sal and Phil’s customers during peak months, but if the crustaceans are not your favorites, you won't go away hungry.
The owners have continued to expand the menu to include a broad array of appetizers, soups and salads, poboys and muffalettas, seafood dishes, plates and platters, desserts, and lunch specials.
For starters, you can choose between a number of innovative appetizers like fried or marinated crab claws or crab cakes, “Wojo” or gravy cheese fries, crab stuffed jalapenos, fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, and jalapeno cheese curds.
Soup and salads are seafood-centric with a touch of New Orleans. There’s seafood gumbo, crawfish etouffee, and red beans and rice and salads filled with your choice of oyster, shrimp, crawfish tails, or fried chicken.
Sal and Phil’s poboys are another reason the restaurant has been thriving for so many years. You can’t go wrong by choosing one of many on the menu, ranging from Sal’s Supreme filled with roast beef, ham, and cheese melted to perfection, crab cake, shrimp, catfish, red fish, grouper, soft shell crab, smoked sausage, and for the purist at heart, a good ol’ American cheeseburger poboy.
Seafood plates and platters provide a little heartier meal courtesy of your choice of seafood, salads and sides. Almost any seafood you can imagine, ranging from a half dozen oysters to the mammoth King Plate for two can be filled with fried and boiled gulf shrimp, oysters, catfish filets and hush puppies, is on the menu.
Other seafood offerings like Dungeness crab legs, boiled, barbecued or fried shrimp, oysters, and, of course, crawfish can be ordered in small or large quantities and with any number of accompaniments, ranging from hush puppies, cole slaw, pasta, green salad, and fries, to name just a few.
If you’re in the mood for crawfish, the “boat” is the way to go. Filled with two pounds of boiled crawfish, corn, sausage, and potatoes, it’ll satiate your crawfish craving in no time.
Lunch specials rotate daily from Tuesday to Friday and include fried chicken, fried pork chops, red beans and rice, grilled snapper, fried catfish, fried shrimp and stuffed flounder. Each meal comes with two sides.
Save room for dessert, as homemade peach and blueberry cobbler with ice cream and bread pudding with rum sauce are treats you don’t want to miss.
Sal and Phil’s is located at 6600 Old Canton Road in Ridgeland. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, open until 10 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Monday. Call 601-957-1188 for information on catering and special events.
Crawfish Etouffee a la Arceneaux
1/2 cup margarine
1-1/2 cups finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons flour
2 heaping tablespoons undiluted cream of celery soup
1 (10-ounce) can Rotel tomatoes and green chiles, pureed with liquid
1 cup beer
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound peeled crawfish
Microwave margarine in a 3-quart glass dish on high 1 minute. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté on high 6 minutes or until tender.
Add flour and celery soup. Stir in pureed Rotel, beer, salt, and pepper. Microwave on high 6 minutes.
Add crawfish. Cover. Microwave on high 4 minutes. Serve etouffee over rice. Yields 4 servings.
Crawfish-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
8 boneless chicken breasts
Creole seasoning, salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup margarine
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1-1/2 pounds crawfish tails
3 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
5 tablespoons chopped parsley
Season chicken with Creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Melt margarine in skillet. Add onion, bell pepper and celery. Sauté 10 minutes or till onion is translucent. Add crawfish. Sauté 10 minutes over medium heat. Season with Creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir in enough bread crumbs to make of consistency of stuffing. Stir in parsley. Fill each chicken breast with stuffing and fold over, fastening edges with wooden picks or kitchen string to enclose the stuffing. Place in a single layer in a baking dish and cover with foil.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 15 minutes longer, or till brown and cooked through. Remove all wooden picks and string before serving. Serves 8.
Recipes from Best of the Best from Louisiana, Quail Ridge Press