Traveling south on I-55 from Jackson, MS to New Orleans, LA, take a quick glance to the left before the land bridge between Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Manchac. There sits a bright white building with Middendorf’s boldly labeled in red. If you blink you might miss it.
We’ve passed Middendorf’s countless times on our road trips, but it’s hard to stop and eat with Big Easy restaurants on the horizon. Due to strange meal timing we managed to fit in two visits last weekend, one coming and one going.
Conveniently situated on the lake shore right off of the highway, we zipped down to try the thin fried catfish for ourselves.
Middendorf’s seems to have two or three separate buildings and on both occasions we opted to sit outside on a covered deck near the water. The sunny weather amplified the relaxed, casual atmosphere where you seat yourself and order at the counter.
On the first visit Ben and I both ordered the Fried Thin Catfish (large and small plates, respectively). Each plate comes with hush puppies, french fries, and coleslaw. The second time around, I ordered a bowl of Shrimp and Crab Gumbo, and he got a cup of Turtle Soup and a Shrimp Po’boy.
I’m torn about the catfish. Our plates came piled high with slender pieces of cornmeal battered fish, but upon closer examination the fish seemed to be non-existent in many pieces or disintegrated into the fried coating. It’s just that thin. I cleaned my plate and stole some of Ben’s, but felt like I was eating more batter than actual fish. But then again (with a few dashes of hot sauce) I cleaned my plate, so it was kind of addicting. The hush puppies were nicely seasoned and Ben kept trying to take my coleslaw.
Stick with the fried seafood, because the gumbo was so-so. The white hunk picture in the bowl is a piece of crab, which amounts to the total crab in the dish. The shrimp were small and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were frozen from a bag. The body of the gumbo was just too thin for my liking (I’m starting to see a pattern). The same goes for the Turtle Soup, but it had a tad more punch. I’ve never had Turtle Soup before, but it was surprisingly pleasant (add the Sherry). The Shrimp Po’boy had a generous portion of fried shrimp and must have been pretty good since Ben polished off the whole thing.
Located about thirty minutes outside of New Orleans, it’s a quick stop with fast service. We were in and out in half an hour. I am glad to have hit another place on my list and the fried thin catfish is worth trying for yourself.
30160 Hwy 51 S.
Akers, LA 70421