There are several David’s Catfish House restaurants—in Andalusia, Brewton and Atmore, Alabama, and now one in Crestview. The menus are similar. I’ve eaten any number of times at the one in Andalusia—usually with a large group of family members— and my recent visit to the Crestview restaurant was likewise a family affair.
My wife, our daughter Grace (the Tiny Diner) and I went to David’s at lunchtime. The full menu was available, there are weekday lunch specials, and an all-you-can-eat fish and popcorn shrimp meal. I usually get a sandwich at David’s, but today I wanted to give the menu more of a run.
David’s is in a single-story building, with a tidy, no-frills exterior and a row of comfy rocking chairs on the porch (it can get crowded). We got a table right away (there were eight of us), and I had a few minutes to check out the decor. David’s is directed toward families and makes a definite local connection. The walls bore photos of the Crestview area, with a Bulldogs band uniform on one wall, area road signs, and assorted fishing memorabilia.
As the name implies, catfish is the star of the show, but there’s plenty of choice among other seafood, and land-based proteins as well.
There’s a main dining area, and a smaller room in back. Seating is in booths and open tables. All tables are set with packaged cutlery, condiments, crackers and rolls of paper towels (makes life easier, especially with kids).
We were seated just before the arrival of a small multitude of what appeared to be school cheerleaders and their families, fresh from a competition. The management and wait staff remained very attentive, and stayed on top of everything that came its way.
The menu offers appetizers, sandwiches, salads, seafood, seafood combos, and house favorites. My wife and decided to start with some apps—I ordered fried onion rings and she chose a cup of gumbo. TD is not really into apps yet, and she was engaged in some sort of semi-competitive interaction with one of her cousins.
The apps came, and I was glad we were in a group. The serving of onion rings was large enough for everyone at the table to share. The rings themselves were bangle sized—crackling hot, absolutely oil-free and crunchy—some of the best I’ve ever had. Each ring had to be cut into two sections just to eat. Ranch dressing is served as a dip, but these were perfect with just a little shake of salt.
The gumbo is described on the menu as having shrimp and crab, but the day we ate there it seemed to be mostly andouille-style sausage, so maybe they were varying the recipe. In any event it had a rich, smoky flavor, with plenty of pork, vegetables, and rice
Other appetizer choices are fried green tomatoes, crab claws, fried dill pickles, and “redneck ben-yays” (beignets) with butter.
I love catfish, as does my wife, so that was an assured choice, but I’ve always enjoyed the fried oysters at David’s (in Andalusia), so I ordered a combo platter of catfish filets and oysters, with French fries and grilled green beans on the side. Whole catfish is also available for a small additional charge. TD had a children’s meal of fried shrimp.
As with the onion rings, David’s fries stuff seriously, and correctly. Both filets were crisp and greaseless, the interior white meat flaky and moist. The oysters (there were six, maybe more) stayed plump and salty in their crust. The green beans were fresh—grilling left them with just enough of a tender crunch to pair well with the seafood.
My wife ordered a three-piece catfish platter, with fries and cheese grits. Her catfish was up to the standard of my serving, and David’s cheese grits struck the exact balance between thin and thick, laced with plenty of mild cheese. Both meals came with hushpuppies.
Other menu choices include combo platters with catfish and shrimp, a mixed seafood platter that includes stuffed crab; fried or popcorn shrimp, boiled shrimp, broiled catfish, shrimp and grits, a ribeye steak, fried or grilled pork chops, Cajun grilled shrimp, crab claws, shrimp or oyster po-boys, chicken sandwich, chicken tenders, hamburger and hamburger steak, and dinner salads.
We boxed half of everything up, and decided to forgo dessert, which was lemon ice-box pie and cheesecake.
Whether you love catfish or not, David’s seems ready and eager to feed you well, for a reasonable price.
DAVID’S CATFISH HOUSE
1296 N. Ferndon Blvd.
Hours: Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Open until 10 p.m. for home football games.
Reservations: Not Necessary
Children’s Menu: Yes
Catfish is king at David’s house, served fried whole, in filets or broiled. If that’s not your thing, they also have shrimp, oysters and stuffed crab, plus chicken, burgers, pork chops and steaks. It all comes out hot and fresh, with a smile and family-friendly courtesy. Try the onion rings. There’s also an all-you-can-eat special. $5-18.