Roberto’s River Road Restaurant
1985 Louisiana 75
Usually when someone says that a restaurant is in the middle of nowhere, it is usually hyperbole. However, if they are not exaggerating, this is the restaurant they mean. If you are driving to Roberto’s at night, it seems like you are driving into the darkness for just a mile too far, and when you are about to give up because you are truly in the middle of nowhere, Roberto’s seems to pop up just over the horizon. From the outside, Roberto’s looks like little more than a small white shack, but the inside is cozy, comfortable and a lot bigger than it looks. R4 is one of M’s dad’s favorite haunts in the vicinity of Baton Rouge, so we were very excited to try it.
We arrived at about 8:30, to a nearly full house, though we managed to snag one of the last tables. Roberto’s menu focuses on upscale casual Cajun food, especially seafood. The dish that came most highly recommended to us was River Road Shrimp (available as either an appetizer or an entree over pasta), which consisted of shrimp in a bell pepper and spicy brandy butter sauce, so we knew we had to try it. There were also several dishes that featured crawfish: our favorite Cajun staple, Etouffe; a crawfish and Portobella mushroom pasta; and the quizzically named Catfish Dot – a grilled catfish filet topped with herbed crawfish (this was the option we went for). Fish of the Day in Papillote also came highly recommended – the catch of the day wrapped in parchment paper and baked with lemon and herbs.
We started out with a cup of chicken and sausage gumbo (there is also seafood gumbo) – which was delicious – extremely rich and flavorful. The seafood dishes were similarly tasty, and surprisingly light. For once we did not feel guilty about indulging in Cajun flavors (though of course there are fried options, too). For dessert we tried a special: cookies and cream bread pudding, which was excellent, but definitely did not need the extra sweetness of the marshmallow sauce. We managed to stick around until closing time, though the restaurant was still buzzing from a squad car full of Baton Rouge’s finest and a crowd that came in on an LSU stretch limo. Roberto’s may be off the beaten path, but it is definitely worth a little drive.