A Review & A Recipe
Posted: Nov. 5, 2009
Avid home cook serves comfort-food at Lady Louisa's Place
BY SYLVIA RECTOR
FREE PRESS RESTAURANT CRITIC
If you're a great home cook who secretly dreams of opening your own restaurant, you'll relish the story of Lady Louisa's Place, a new ribs and comfort-food spot on McNichols in northwest Detroit.
Ten years ago, owner Rudy Hendrix, 61, was director of sales for Ameritech Cellular in Michigan, with some 400 people working in divisions he oversaw. But when Cingular came in and wanted him to move to Chicago, he left and started a remodeling business.
His real passion, though, was cooking for the crowds of friends he liked to invite to his home.
"People would just kind of rant and rave about how good the food was," he says. "For a while, I sort of dismissed it. But they'd go looking for take-home containers when they finished eating, and after a while you come to realize they mean it.
"The long and the short of it was, I just decided this was something I wanted to do." It also gave him a chance to get his son, Brett, 26 -- another avid cook -- into a family business instead of working at other people's restaurants.
Hendrix's friends weren't merely being polite when they said his food reminded them of their grandmother's cooking. While some restaurants turn out home-style food that tastes institutional, his dishes still have a fresh, flavorful, home-cooked quality.
The comfort-food menu features Memphis-style ribs with a sweet-and-smoky sauce, tender beef brisket, pulled pork, smothered or fried turkey and chicken, short ribs, meatloaf, gumbo, fried-to-order fish and chicken-fried steak, among other entrées. The long list of sides includes all the classics, from barbecue beans and cornbread dressing to collard greens and red beans-and-rice.
Whatever you order, don't skip the savory, deliciously creamy macaroni and cheese -- a signature dish.
Hendrix's favorite, which I haven't yet tried, is his smothered catfish: a catfish filet over rice, ladled with shrimp-and-crayfish Étouffée. "People just love it," he says.
Hendrix named the restaurant after his grandmother, whose portrait hangs on the wall, but it's really a tribute to his entire family. His father was good in the kitchen, "but all the Hendrixes -- my cousins, aunts, uncles -- have a reputation for being good cooks," he says. His brother is Freman Hendrix, twice a Detroit mayoral candidate and long active in city and Wayne County politics.
Set on a busy corner, the restaurant has free parking in back. Booths and tables are available for dine-in customers. The food is displayed cafeteria-style behind protective glass, and Hendrix or his son fill the carryout containers as customers order.
Credit cards accepted; the menu is online at www.ladylouisas.com. (15535 W. McNichols; 313-272-7427)
Smothered Catfish with Shrimp
Get this recipe courtesy of Lady Louisa's Place in
on 15535 W McNichols Rd Detroit. Call them at (313) 272-7427.
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped celery
cup chopped green bell pepper
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
tablespoons vegetable oil
5 pounds shrimp
6 tablespoon garlic
7 tablespoon cayenne pepper
8 tablespoons seasoned salt
¼ cup all-purpose flour
10 cups seafood stock
onions, celery and green pepper in butter and oil in large skillet
until onion is translucent. Stir in flour. Cook 4 minutes Add garlic
powder, cayenne, seasoned salt and paprika. Sauté 30 seconds. Add
shrimp. Sauté 2 minutes. Add Seafood stock. Simmer 15 minutes.
8 (5 to 6-ounce) catfish fillets, skin
Old Bay seasoning
4 cups all-purpose flour
Oil, for frying
Heat a fryer or a
deep pot halfway filled with oil to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle both sides
of each catfish with salt and Oldbay. In a separate bowl, combine the
flour and the cornmeal. Dredge the catfish in the flour mixture and
place in fryer. Deep fry for approximately 7 to 8 minutes until done.
Drain on paper towels.
PLACE THE CATFISH ON A BED OF RICE AND
SMOTHER WITH THE ETOUFFEE