A coworker had waxed poetic about Papa Dubi's, tossing around such weighty phrases as "the only place I will order steak". Naturally, the hubby and I had to check it out. We picked a lazy Saturday and made an adventure of it, driving into Guntersville for the sheer joy of the drive and the promise of some good food.
When we arrived, I was a bit surprised at the blankly strip mall-y location. Still, when we walked in the staff was welcoming and the split dining room was decorated with bright walls, vinyl wrapped tables, and New Orleans themed posters and paintings.
We agonized for some time over the menu's many options. Multiple types of fish, Po Boys, cajun samplers, fried chicken, catfish, jambalaya, steak...After some discussion with our server, the hubby went with the sausage and chicken jambalaya and I ordered a 12oz ribeye with cajun rice and basalmic dressing for the accompanying salad.
There was a TV in each seating area, so as the hubby watched game highlights behind me, I could peek through the doorway and see another game in the other room. We sipped at our drinks and chatted. The restaurant smelled faintly of fried food which was making us hungrier as we waited.
Happily, my salad arrived promptly.
Topped with a sprinkle of cheese, which added mainly color, the iceburg lettuce had a satisfying crunch. The balsamic dressing was a tasty and creamy counterpoint to the herby, garlicky croutons and crisp tomato slices.
Our entrees arrived, nicely timed, just a beat after I finished my salad.
My steak (shown at the top of the post) was a generous rib eye, a nice juicy medium rare, seasoned with a spicy rub and blackened. The steak itself had the firmer texture of a rib eye, but it was not overly chewy. The spicy rub elevated the dish, starting as a subtle flavor and building as you ate. Those of you who love spicy foods will probably consider this "lightly seasoned". At my mild/medium threshold, I found it tasty.
Seeing as we were at a cajun/cerole restaurant, I opted for the cajun rice over the mashed potatoes. The grains were gorgeously plump and lightly coated with oil and spice. Again, this was a subtler spice that built as I ate, but this one was a bit more aggressive than the coating on the steak. This is due, in part, to rice's milder base flavor. Bits of cilantro added hints of color and a fresh taste.
Tucked under my steak knife were three surprise hush puppies. Studded with bits of onion, they had a lovely corn flavor, a soft interior and a crunchy exterior. At the time, I found them a refreshing break from the spicier steak and rice. However, they next day, when I reached for my leftovers, I found my hushpuppy surprisingly zippy. I am not sure if whatever seasoning was in them had become more pronounced sitting in the fridge overnight or if it had picked up some of the aroma off the rice. Small mysteries. Clearly, this will require another trip to judge. ; )
The hubby greatly enjoyed his jambalaya, pronouncing it "really good!". The coleslaw was crunchy and mayo based, with a light flavor to counterbalance the spice of the jambalaya.
Papa Dubi's had the relaxed atmosphere you'd expect from a small restaurant near a lake. The staff was friendly and helpful and the food was well executed. Nicely seasoned, freshly prepared and generous. If you will be in the area or are willing to drive a bit, especially if you like your food with a bit of a kick, add this spot to your list.
Total for the meal: $27.40 (Includes one 12 oz rib eye dinner, one jambalya dinner, and one soft drink)
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