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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hymel's Classic Cajun Fare

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

I'm obsessed with type, and Hymel's retro signage makes me so happy

If you're anything like me, and you grew up in South Louisiana, it can be hard to drum up enthusiasm for a Cajun seafood restaurant. All fried seafood platters seem to meld into one in my mind, each pile of brown crunchiness indistinguishable from the last. In fact, writer Brett Anderson recently penned a column for Nola.com which insisted that fried seafood platters should get the hook.

Recently, Team Bite and Booze had the opportunity to eat at the famous Hymel's in Convent, La., where beverages are served in gigantic fishbowls and seafood is served fried and in heaping quantities.

Just about everything we ordered was fried.

Gigantic fishbowl of Abita Amber

We started with hush puppies and fried crab fingers as an appetizer. The hush puppies were some of the best I'd ever had (Blair insists Jay's from his legendary tailgating days are the best), and the crab claws were huge.

Jay and Blair split the largest fried seafood platter I'd ever seen. Piled high on the plate were fried oysters, fried shrimp, fried catfish, and a fried soft-shell crab. Served with coleslaw, white toast, and french fries, this platter could arguably feed a small army.

The soft-shell crab was fantastic. It was my first time eating soft-shell crab, and as strange as it was to literally eat the fried shell of the crab, it was incredibly tasty. Fried to a crisp, the fresh crab was a table favorite.

Seafood platter with soft-shell crab, fried oysters, fried shrimp

I made out like a bandit. For about $10 I wound up with a huge plate of fried chicken. And y'all, I love my grandma, but this fried chicken blew hers out of the water. It blew Chicken Shack out of the water. It changed my life. I have formed a religion around it.

There is no god, only Hymel's fried chicken.

The crispy corn meal crust had a distinct pork flavor to it, leading me to believe it may have been fried in...wait for it...actual lard.

The result was a crust that tasted like cracklins. Heaven help us all.

Some of the best fried chicken I've ever had

If you ever find yourself near the river in Convent, hit up Hymel's. It's worthwhile.