On the west side of Frisco, along the growing FM 423 corridor, lies a hidden gem–small, unassuming and waiting to be discovered. Some prospectors have already found it and walk in with a smile as they relish the discovery before the rush hits. Thousands pass by the new restaurant every day, many unaware of the treasure they have just missed. But, once word gets out, there just might be a stampede!
Mud Bugs Bar & Grill sits on the northwest corner of FM 423 and Stonebrook Parkway in a small strip center. If you are not looking for it, you just might miss it. But, as the saying goes, do not judge a book by its cover!
As my husband and I entered the restaurant and let our eyes adjust from the bright Texas sun, we were greeted with a friendly “hello” from behind the bar. “Seat yourself” is the mantra, and we chose a high-top, two-seater near the bar. It is a fortuitous location, as it afforded us a sneak peak into the kitchen and close proximity to the manager who was down-home friendly and happy to share the history of the place.
You might think, with an opening date of June 8, what history? But the Mud Bugs concept was slowly beginning to spawn years ago, as Dawn Loewer made numerous trips to Dallas to stock her clothing store back home in La. With friends in Flower Mound, Ms. Loewer and her husband, Hoyt, started to grow fond of the area and decided to take the leap. They sold their businesses and put down new roots right here in Frisco. But La. blood still ran through their veins, and they were often ordering fresh crawfish from back home. After friends sampled their cooking, it did not take long for them to start prodding them to open an authentic Cajun restaurant using family recipes. So, they took the leap, again, and opened Mud Bugs Bar & Grill in June.
Exposed brick walls, crawfish traps and a chandelier draped with beaded necklaces give a quick nod to La., but it is the food that really takes you there.
Appetizers such as Hush Puppies, Gator Bites, Crawfish Pistolette, Natchitoches Meat Pies, Shrimp Cocktail, Crawfish Bread and Boudin Balls range from $5-$12.99. After much debate, my husband and I decided to order two appetizers including the Boudin Balls and Hush Puppies.
Both were piping hot and generously sized. It was impossible to eat one in a single bite. Breaking open a Boudin Ball, a puff of steam revealed a tempting medley of pork, rice and seasonings. After a few cautious blows to cool things off and a dip into the homemade remoulade sauce, our taste buds were pleased. What a rush! And what an embarrassment to see how quickly they disappeared.
We then turned our attention to the Hush Puppy Basket and continued to enjoy the rich flavors. These are not your average, commercialized hush puppies. They were fresh balls of sweet corn goodness with just enough spice to make you want more. By themselves, they stood proud above the remaining world of hush puppies, and crowned with a little of that homemade remoulade sauce, the contest was over.
For an entrée, my husband ordered Crawfish Etouffee with hand-picked crawfish tails in a hearty bouillabaisse over a bed of rice. The consistency, flavor and amount of crawfish included garnered high marks from my husband. And, based on the bite I tried, this registered high on the spice scale for me, but was delicious.
Oddly enough, when it comes to Cajun food, my husband and I reverse roles on the spice scale. He goes for the high heat and I opt for the middle-of-the-road to mild range, so nothing overpowers the fabulous seasonings. Consequently, for my entrée, I selected the Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, which consisted of specially-seasoned rice with chicken and La. andouille sausage slow-cooked to perfection. And, for me, perfection it was! Just the right amount of spice with delightful flavors infused into the moist mix of rice, chicken and sausage resulted in a truly fabulous meal.
In between appetizers and the arrival of our entrées, the manager surprised us with a sample platter of some items we had not ordered. The Red Beans and Rice were soaked with flavor and just right for the person who likes only a tinge of spicy heat. The Gumbo packed a punch of zest and registered high on the Richter scale for clearing your sinuses. The Shrimp and Corn Bisque knocked our socks off – not because of heat, but because of its truly insatiable, flavorful perfection. Off to one side of the platter were two small bites of New Orleans Bread Pudding. It was just a teaser, but we could hardly wait for dessert after that tempting morsel!
We later learned that only Ms. Loewer makes the Shrimp and Corn Bisque and the New Orleans Bread Pudding every day, because there is no official recipe, and no one has succeeded in replicating her five-star results. She uses a pinch of this, a dab of that and her keen sense of smell to determine when these masterpieces are complete. It is a craft of art and sheer talent, and we were happy to indulge in the unforgettable results.
For dessert, we ordered New Orleans Beignets because the memory of Café du Monde was calling our name. With eager anticipation, we also put in a request for their soon-to-be-famous New Orleans Bread Pudding.
The beignets came out hot and fresh, snow-capped with a dusting of powdered sugar. The steam forced us to slow down and savor the smaller versions of pillowing sweetness, but once the New Orleans Bread Pudding arrived, we could hardly grab our spoons fast enough!
The little sampler bite we had earlier did not even compare to the real deal. A large, hot square of bread pudding had been centered on the plate and drenched with rum sauce. It only looked picture-perfect for a few seconds before we took our first bite. I imagine desserts taste like this in heaven.
You should know I have never really been a fan of bread pudding. It almost always receives the lowest spot on the totem pole of dessert rankings for me. So, to say this has become one of my favorite desserts is a huge statement. My husband, who is a fan of bread pudding, says it was the best bread pudding he has ever tasted, by far.
After just one visit to Mud Bugs Bar & Grill, located at 8075 FM 423, Suite 120, you will realize the treasure your taste buds have just discovered and might get the inkling it will not be your private discovery for long. So, relish the small, hometown experience while you can, because there just might be a line out the door the next time you dine. Check out mudbugsbarandgrill.com to see the Cajun-inspired menu.
Frisco STYLE Magazine dining reviews are not scheduled with or paid for by the featured restaurant. All reviews are completed for the purpose of helping readers know and enjoy local dining options.