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Robin's

1409 Henderson Highway, Henderson, LA - (337) 228-7594
Posted By Michael Stern on May 5, 2009 12:48 PM
It occurred to us as we traveled through southern Louisiana that a vast majority of restaurants have names with the possessive apostrophe. It makes sense, because these places tend to be defined by the personality of the owner/chef whose possession they are. Robin's is a perfect example. This is Lionel Robin's restaurant, with a menu that reflects his culinary taste and expertise. And chances are good that if you make any sort of inquiry about the menu or cooking techniques, you will meet Robin himself, who loves to come out of the kitchen to chat with strangers about his current culinary adventures, whether they be frozen and ready-to-heat crawfish etouffee or Tabasco ice cream.

We had a heck of a time getting to the place the first time we ate at Robin's, a few decades ago. A tipster had written the name down on a piece of paper, and as we drove through Breaux Bridge and up to the edge of the Atchafalaya Basin, we asked a lot of people to direct us to Robin's, pronouncing it just like the name of the red-breasted bird. It wasn't until we met the boss that we realized why everyone we asked had seem perplexed when we told them where we were going. The accent in Robin's name is on the second syllable -- It is pronounced Ro-ban, as in French, as in superb Cajun cooking.

Here you will eat some of the most distinctive restaurant meals in swamp country. Year around, but especially in crawfish season from early in the year through spring, this is the place to have it either simply boiled or in all the many ways Cajun chefs like to celebrate it. A Robin's crawfish dinner starts with bisque, which is smoky, complex, and rich. You then move on to a few boiled and fried ones, étouffeé over rice, boulettes, stuffed pepper, and a superior pie in which the little crustaceans share space with vegetables and plenty of garlic in a translucent-thin crust.

The one crawfish dish we might not recommend here is gumbo – not because it isn't good (it is); but because the shrimp and okra gumbo is even better. And chicken and sausage gumbo, while containing none of the seafood for which Robin's is renowned, is wonderful – brilliantly spiced, thick with sausage you will remember for a long time.

When we last stopped in, Robin had been experimenting with ice creams; and among his proudest creations were fig ice cream (figs are a local crop), a Belgian chocolate ice cream for chocoholics only, and the amazing Tabasco ice cream with its fetching sweet heat.

Although Henderson is out in the cane fields pretty far from civilization as we know it, Robin's is a polite and sophisticated restaurant. You can easily spend $20 on dinner, and pay for it with a credit card. This notation on the menu is no affectation: "Ici Nous Parlons Français." Et nous bien mangons!
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Crawfish Dinner
Large Gumbo
Tabasco Ice Cream

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Posted By Twinwillow on April 1, 2014 10:28 AM
Mrs. Twinwillow and I were returning to Dallas from New Orleans when thanks to the Stern's trusty old Roadfood (1980's) soft cover book, we were able to visit Robin's in Henderson for the most amazing Southern Louisiana lunch of Crawfish Etouffee, Gumbo, and fried oysters. To this day, we've never had better!
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Large Gumbo
Fried Oysters
Crawfish Pie Smothered with Efouffee
Crawfish Etouffee

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Posted By cecilpatrick on October 23, 2010 11:23 PM
It would have been in early mid_February of '98. I was headed back to California, after a winter in Florida. headed west out of baton rouge, i was looking for what has become known as "Roadfood" , and knowing how many places there HAD to be traveling through Acadiana, I decided I'd stop at a warehouse of some sort, and I asked the secretaries, " if someone was asking you to go to dinner w/ them, where would you want to go?" . in unison, they all replied, Robin's ! Turns out, Robin's was just up the road a bit, and on a cool & rainy afternoon, I had one of the best lunches, I've ever eaten on the road. Crayfish Etouffee like I've never had again ...; I'd go back :)
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Crawfish Etouffee

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Posted By Steve Tomashefsky on February 9, 2006 11:02 PM
I have been a regular at Robin's every spring for almost 20 years. It never disappoints. While I can't say no one equals their crawfish etouffee or bisque, I can say I've never had better - and I've tried almost every place of note in southwest Louisiana at one time or another. They really know their dark roux, their crawfish fat, and their herbal seasoning.

I can't speak of other items on the menu, since I've never had them! You come to Robin's for the etouffee and the bisque, and that's what you should have. Don't wimp out and go for the shrimp versions out of a fear of trying crawfish (which is not fishy or gamy). The crawfish "fat" provides a richness that shrimp dishes don't seem to achieve. I also love the homemade Tabasco ice cream, though it can be an acquired taste: mostly vanilla with just a hint of fire in the background.

Places come and go (Henderson, which used to be the real world capital of crawfish eating, has seen several close in recent years), but Robin's is consistently satisfying. Try lunch at Robin's and then take a swamp tour at McGhee's down the levee. There's no more pleasurable way to spend an afternoon in Cajun country.
0 star rating
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