I've been thinking about re-visiting this place for awhile, and today things worked out. I got here a bit after 2pm, which is typical. There's plenty of parking; a lot in the back but no back door, so park in front or on the side if you can. There's big "Towing Zone" signs everywhere, but there's nothing else around the place that would draw a crowd, so I'm not sure what they're worried about.
I walked in and there was one dude at the bar; a couple of tables occupied. "Table for 1 please". She tried to seat me at this little table right in front of the bar service area.
Catfish Dewey's Dunce Table
"How about something more comfortable?" Who trains these people? Frankly, they'd be better off not having a hostess and just letting people grab a menu and sit where they want. It's not like they were expecting a big crowd.
Catfish Dewey's Interior
The place has an odd smell, but you get used to it quickly; after a while you don't notice it anymore. Before anything happens at Dewey's, you get hushpuppies.
Catfish Dewey's Hushpuppies
They were very dense and I didn't really want to eat them. I tasted them while I was waiting for a server to come back to take my order, and they didn't seem like they were made with love.
They have a lunch menu and you can order from the dinner menu all day also; a lot of things to look at. Every day they have an "all you can eat" choice, but I wasn't doing that. It took a while for a server to come over and take my beverage order.
Catfish Dewey's Iced Tea
I was going to have catfish, because I figured if any place knew how to cook catfish, a place named Catfish Dewey's would be that place. For lunch, you can get 2 pieces for $9.50 or 3 pieces for $12.50. I wanted to try the Shrimp Gumbo, so I ordered the gumbo and the 2 piece platter. The menu says that it comes with fries, slaw and hushpuppies, but you can get any side instead of the fries. Apparently, everything comes with slaw and hushpuppies. I tried to order a sweet potato, but you can't get baked or sweet potatoes at lunch anymore. I had to settle for rice.
They're playing Christmas music this time of year; relatively modern; some Carole King and Zooey Deschanel mixed in with Mariah Carey and Michael Buble.
After about 10 minutes, the dude dropped off some slaw. Kind of odd getting a side first. At this point I surmised that he forgot the soup.
Catfish Dewey's Cole Slaw
Another few minutes and he dropped off some food at a nearby table, and came over to explain that the catfish takes a little while. "Will the soup be coming out first?", I asked. His eyebrows raised, and he ran back into the kitchen. Two minutes later, the soup came out.
Catfish Dewey's Shrimp Gumbo
When I saw this, I was thinking of the cup of soup I got yesterday at Panaretto. This was like 4x as much. More than I expected to get for $5.
As gumbo's go, this was a very mediocre one. A little bit spicy. No Andouille and it needed some thickening up. I wasn't going to eat all of this and also eat the fish, so after a few spoonfuls I stopped and asked the dude to put it in a container to take home.
The fish came out shortly thereafter.
Catfish Dewey's 2 piece Catfish
Nice looking fish; I'd ordered it blackened. I wasn't sure what the orange sauce was; I loaded up the plate with the slaw and realized that I had a pretty good load of food for $9.50.
Catfish Dewey's Catfish Lunch Platter (2 Pieces)
The catfish was superb; certainly the best catfish I've ever had, although I don't think I've ever ordered catfish before. I've had it at buffets, which is never fair. But this tasted very clean and the blackening was done correctly.
The rice seemed canned and the slaw was edible. I enjoyed the fish. You'd pay $20 for this much fish in most places, and this was the small order. The orange sauce turned out to be straight thousand island dressing; I didn't really find a reason to use it for anything.
Just about everything about Catfish Dewey's is mediocre, except for the fish. Every day they have all you can eat Catfish for $16.50, which is crazy. If you can get past the leftover decor, it's as good a value as there is around here.
Catfish Dewey's Fort Lauderdale
Catfish Dewey's is one of those Old Florida places that appeal to long-time resident more than us transplants. From the rickety decking to the checkered vinyl tablecoths, the place defies all rules of contemporary decor.
Catfish Dewey's Interior 2011
The first thing you notice as you walk in is the smell; not really a stink, but an unpleasant odor reminiscent of your childhood when you went to visit grandma. Grandma's house always smelled a bit different. Dewey's smells different than anyplace I've been in. At first I thought I might not be able to deal with it; but after a few minutes I guess you get used to it, because I didn't notice after a short while.
My server brought over a menu and also a basket of hushpuppies and a dish of cole slaw. It's nice to be able to nosh a bit while pondering the menu.jump-->
Catfish Dewey's Sides
I'd seen the lunch menu online, so I thought my choices were limited, but they serve their dinner menu all day as well. So I asked for the stone crab prices; they sell them as 1lb and 2lb "dinners", and also All You Can Eat. I ordered 1lb of the Large, which was priced at $28.
The claws come out instantaneously; they just crack the cold, cooked claws and bring them right out. Butter is optional, and as it turned out I really didn't need it.
Catfish Dewey's Stone Crab Claws
The mustard sauce provided was excellent and the crab was much better with the mustard than the butter. You get your choice of starch with the claws; the sweet potato I got was well executed.
Catfish Dewey's Stone Crab Claws
As I was finishing up my 4th Claw I noticed the sound system playing Taylor Swift's Better Than Revenge; not the kind of music you'd expect to hear in a place like this; next up was Bye-Bye Bill Bailey; more in stride for the expected ambiance.
While Catfish Dewey's is far from the best restaurant in town, I can't say that I didn't like anything about the meal. The Hushpuppies were pretty good, the cole slaw not the best I've ever had but certainly edible; the Stone Crab was fresh and the mustard sauce very good and they know how to make a sweet potato. They have an all-you-can-eat something each day of the week; if nothing else Dewey's is decent food at a pretty good price. If you like Catfish, they have all you can eat Catfish every day for $15.99.