By Chris Frost
Oxnard— Fans of The Collection can rejoice, as the city now has authentic Creole food to savior at EMC at the mall.
The restaurant is getting ready to change its name to Louisiana Seafood House by EMC and has rebuilt its menu from the ground up.
The driving force behind the culinary treats, Guy DuPlantier, had a restaurant in Long Beach called "Crazy Creole Café" for the last five years and decided to bring his talents to the City of Oxnard for everyone to enjoy.
"We care about the product and the customers," he said. "We specialize in Louisiana seafood products, and we ship most of our products in from Louisiana. We have live Louisiana crawfish that we get in from Southwest Cargo. We take the extra steps to make sure we get the products in."
If you want to try something unique and special, be sure to order some real Louisiana Alligator which has a unique flavor.
"A lot of people say it tastes like chicken, but it doesn't taste like chicken," he said. "Alligator can be tough, so we marinate it overnight in buttermilk and hot sauce, which tenderizes it.
People trying the product will comment on its texture, but no one calls it tough.
From the moment you walk into the restaurant, it's like stepping into the Bayou of Louisiana. Zydeco music is playing, and you are greeted at the door by a friendly hostess with a bright smile and is truly happy you came to feel the love at the restaurant. You feel like a member of the family.
A must try once you're there is their famous seafood gumbo, which is packed full of freshly made lean sausage, shrimp, chicken, and rice, swimming in a spicy broth that has plenty of heat but doesn't overwhelm you. The key to a good gumbo is to pack it with flavor you can taste, and not feel like you threw a lit match in your mouth.
The fish and chips are the best, full of flavorful catfish that is crisp, flavorful, and hot. The French Fries are almost too hot to eat because they are cooked to order and flavored with creole seasoning.
The potato salad is a little different than something you buy at the grocery store. People who try it enjoy the first bite, but when the taste rolls across your tongue, you start to get the unique mixtures of spices and peppers that one customer told me was the best she ever had.
Another great dish is the Jambalaya with remoulade sauce, that Guy said came to him in a dream. Just in case, he keeps a pen-and-pad on his nightstand to write down inspirations.
"People think I am crazy," he said. "I channel my relatives, and I ask my grandma when I need her help. These recipes are handed down and handed down. The passion is there."
No meal is complete without dessert, and the mini Bundt cakes are moist, light, flavorful, and full passion.
"It's all about balance," he said. "I am an artist, but I don't paint on canvas, I paint on your tongue and palate."
Guy is planning a secret menu, and every week, that menu will be different, and each dish is designed to wow every guest every time.
"It's in my culture and DNA," Guy said. "I'm a "who dat" and it's the Saints, the gumbo and the authentic creole dishes. Don't call me Cajun, but I do cook Cajun dishes. I'm Creole, and there's a big difference. Creole food is more like city food with sauces and butter. Cajun food is more backcountry where you go out in the woods and kill something and cook it up with more cayenne and spices. We have a lot of different seasonings."
When he arrived at the location, the restaurant had three seasonings, salt, pepper, and msg. The kitchen now has a few dozen spices.
One thing you'll never find on the dining room tables is salt, and DuPlantier will tell you with all the herbs and spices, it's not necessary.
"My philosophy is if the first bite you don't like it, the second bite you don't like it, I'm going to take it back," Guy said. "I am going to try and please you. I realize that I can't please everyone, but I try."
The underlying theme is southern hospitality, he said, and everyone is respected.
"You have to stay consistent with your product each time," he said.
The trick is to find people who share his passion, and Guy said he is blessed.
"We have three line-cooks who are passionate and care about the food," he said. "You can't teach that. They have the same qualities that we share, and we are a team. Don't call me a boss. I love teaching people."
Louisiana Seafood House by EMC is located at 511 Town Center Drive in the Collection.
451 West Fifth Street
Oxnard, California 93030
1000 Town Center Drive
Oxnard, CA 93036
(Walk-in & Drop-off)
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.