revisit to bud’s louisiana cafe / kearny mesa – san diego, ca

Taking a little break from the travel posts to write about a place Jake and I went to last week here in San Diego. I haven’t written about Bud’s Louisiana Cafe since 2009, when they were still located in Tierrasanta! I’ve been back a few times since that post but am finally doing a revisit post. Woo!

I had a strong hankering last week for some catfish… specifically some FRIED catfish. Maybe it was that week spent in the South that rekindled this craving since I haven’t wanted catfish in quite awhile. I hadn’t tried the version at Bud’s before but I knew they did a cornmeal crust on all of their fried things which I love, so I figured there was a good chance I’d like their version.

We went on a Friday and I wish it had been Wednesday or Thursday so we could enjoy their beignets… oh well, I guess we’ll just have to go AGAIN. Heh.

Caesar Salad at Bud's Louisiana Cafe

I started with an upgrade (of $1) to get a Caesar Salad. A House Salad is the standard meal starter but I love their Caesar here. The dressing is nice and garlicy and they top the salad with Parmesan shavings and garlic bread crumbs instead of croutons.

Sliced jalapeno corn muffin

[jalapeno corn muffin / $0.75]

Even though I’m not a fan of spicy things, these Jalapeno Corn Muffins are just light enough on the heat that I can devour them easily. The dice is fairly small and they also put actual corn into the muffins which I love. I always like to see real corn in my cornbread as opposed to only corn meal. It makes it more “cornbready” to me, if that makes any kind of sense. This corn muffin was tender and not super crumbly – it kept its shape while eating it.

Roast Beef Po Boy at Bud's Louisiana Cafe

[sloppy roast beef po boy sandwich / $12]

We asked our waiter to cut the sandwiches into thirds for us to share between Jake, T and I so this is just one third of the sandwich. It’s “sloppy” because the roast beef is covered in gravy and served on French bread. I only had a couple of bites of my sandwich – not that it was bad, but I was way more into the catfish that not and wasn’t really interested in eating this. Well, and I don’t like gravy on bread, really. It makes things soggy and that weirds me out. Soggy = gross in my mind. The flavor of the roast beef was fine but I didn’t think the sandwich was mind blowingly awesome. I doubt I would order it again with the lure of fried shrimp and fried catfish stealing my attention away. Sorry, roast beef.

Cornmeal Crusted Fried Catfish at Bud's Louisiana Cafe

[fried catfish plate / $13]

Aha! Here we are – just what I was craving! The catfish is dusted in a light cornmeal batter than makes the catfish SUPER CRUNCHY. The coating is just incredibly delicious – it’s light, and a bit mealy from the cornmeal with a really satisfying crunch and just the right amount of seasoning.


Here you can see that the crust is not that thick at all. It truly forms it’s own crust and surrounds the fish to encase it. The catfish was so tender, very light and quite sweet. Simply delicious!

The cajun fries that came with the dish were a little on the salty side for my liking so I didn’t eat too many of those and I didn’t really touch the coleslaw. It was tangy and bleah. No coleslaw for me, ever. Thank you.

Tartar sauce

I got a little container of tarter sauce, too. I suspect this is like a “pass it around” jar and not just a jar for me alone since it has a big old “TARTAR SAUCE” label on it.  It tasted housemade and I had a tiny bit of it. It had a nice flavor but I could see bits of pickle in it, so I just tried to get the sauce without pickles… which is kind of hard since they were chopped up pretty good.

Pecan Pie Cheesecake at Bud's Louisiana Cafe      

[pecan pie cheesecake / $7]

I couldn’t resist trying one of their desserts. I don’t even know why I ordered it, I don’t really like other “stuff” with my cheesecake but I decided to make an exception. You can see the cheesecake layer on the bottom with the pecan pie on top – makes me wonder how they make this… does it all get baked together? I wasn’t totally into the pecan pie part since the pecans weren’t very crunchy – they tasted like it was raw pecans that went in instead of toasted. It was more heavy on the nuts than the “goo” and there was very little “goo” to go around. The cheesecake was just “eh”. Not very creamy, just okay. It was like a Frankenstein dessert put together, but it wasn’t done very well. Oh well, at least I tried it and can know to avoid it in the future.

Despite the blah dessert, the catfish made me very happy and satisfied my craving for some delicious catfish. I love anything in a cornmeal crust and was happy to see their catfish was just as good as their cornmeal crusted shrimp that I also love. Now I just need to remember to visit when they have the beignets on tap…

Bud’s Louisiana Cafe
4320 Viewridge Ave, “A”
(In the Balboa Business Center)
San Diego, CA 92123


mary likes baking.

6 Responses

  1. OMG, that fried catfish is calling my name!

    One of the best versions I had was from my late friend HotFudge. She was from Louisiana and made the best seafood gumbo and fried catfish (in which the corn meal crust had spices in it)….

    Bert and I will have to try this place soon!

    • mary says:

      Hi CC – yeah the catfish here is good. Your friends version sounds like it was great, too. I love cornmeal battered stuff!

  2. Faye says:

    Oh the catfish looks so delish in your pic! I hate it when there’s more batter than fish you know? I have never visited Buds even though I visit that area quite a bit.

    Why do you hate coleslaw so much πŸ™

    I want to come here to try the beignets! Haven’t had a proper one here in SD (or actually ever!).

    The pecan cheesecake looks like it had potential (if it had some melted semi sweet chocolate oozed in between the layers or the pecans!).

    • mary says:

      Hi Faye –
      The catfish was SO YUMMY. I loved it! I can’t remember where else I’ve had beignets but the ones here are good. I MIGHT have once come here alone and ordered a plate for myself and maybe ate 2 and half. Maybe. Shh, don’t tell.
      Me and coleslaw, we just don’t see eye to eye. A) It’s made with cabbage usually which I don’t really like to begin with and B) it’s usually tangy or bitter or blech. Coleslaw is something okay in a sandwich where the whole flavor of it doesn’t bombard me on it’s own. I’m so picky haha!

  3. Lynn says:

    It’s taco tuesday and now I want fish! Maybe a fish taco? hahah I usually skip this place when my coworkers go here for lunch (kinda pricey since other places have lunch specials) but the catfish is so tempting me now. Maybe I’ll hit it up again for dinner with Dennis if he’s in the mood for it.

    Looking at food pictures when I am already so hungry… is that a bad thing?

    • mary says:

      Hi Lynn – yeah it’s too bad they don’t have a lunch menu with lunch prices – but I really like their food! Hope you try it sometime πŸ™‚

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