A Great TS Debate: Herby-K’s

For all the ways that we often agree, N and S are at constant odds over Herby-K’s. This debate is both long and bitter, and shows how surprisingly polar opposite we can be. To get to the heart of this debate, we’ll let both members of our team have their say.

S LOVES Herby-K’s, and here, she explains why:

As a home-grown Shreveport girl, Herby-K’s has been a tradition in my family for three generations. My grandparents went on dates there, my mom remembers the days of car service, and I have a lifetime of memories within its’ walls. Jimmy knew me by name, Killer taught me how to spin quarters on the jukebox for extra plays, and my mom smuggled Shrimp Busters into the hospital after my c-sections. Some of the my warmest memories are with my family around a meal at Herby-K’s. I remember eating oysters with my grandfather, drinking beer with dad, and watching my kids eat their first Shrimp Busters.

Herby-K’s is the very definition of  a local, hole-in-the-wall gem. The atmosphere shows its’ history, and proves that, if it ain’t broke, leave it the hell alone!  While the patio expansion has added some much-needed seating, the original  structure is unchanged…and I like it that way. In a town where the old is often abandoned in favor of the shiny and new, Herby-K’s proves that providing tasty, consistent, gut-busting fare can trump all changes in the economy and city scape. Sure, the bathrooms are an adventure, but you know what you’re getting into, and if you’ve ever tried to find a restroom in NOLA during Mardi Gras, the you know Herby-K’s just isn’t that bad.

On to the food: A typical trip involves crab claws, onion rings, Shrimp Busters with extra red sauce, and goblets of ice-cold beer. My sister swears they have the best burgers in town, though I’ve never been able to bring myself to deviate from my traditional order. The crispy goodness of the Shrimp Buster, combined with the tang of lemon and kick of red sauce, pairs perfectly with the crusty bread for a meal of deep-fried, sinful paradise. Wash that down with a frosty goblet of draft beer, and I am in heaven, though my arteries whimper in defeat. Herby-K’s is food for my soul, and  is always at the top of our list for a family get-together.

N is a nut-bar for not loving it, and he just needs to give in and realize that, when he married me, he was in for a lifetime of meals there.  What kind of weirdo orders a salad at Herby-K’s anyway? His lack of enthusiasm shows that some of his taste buds must still be in a coma. I know four years of NSU cafeteria food can traumatize a person, but come on!

S

N HATES Herby-K’s, and makes no bones about it:

1:First, the food.  Let’s dispel the myth: there is no shrimp in a shrimp buster.  I challenge you to find it!  It is only a matter of time before this is confirmed on Myth Busters (do it, Adam!)  I have yet to figure out what law of physics is being defied by them being able to pound/press a tiny shrimp (if it is a shrimp)into a paper-thin wafer of fried substance and STILL maintain the shrimp’s tail handle.  I have to admit I was intrigued by this ‘shrimp buster’ concept as I had seen it in a magazine somewhere, but am now thinking that anything fried can make its way into Southern Living.  The fries, if you are foolish enough to get them, come from the local Wal-Mart brand bag (I suspect).  I can make those at home, and at least adapt them in some capacity to be edible.  If you like onion rings, and I don’t, I will give credit to them for this item.  Try them, but in moderation, as everything from Herby K’s is….yes, you guessed it, a heart attack waiting to happen.  The burgers are not worth comment, either good or bad, as I can find them at any short-order dive.  Believe it or not, as I have now tried just about everything on their menu, the best item I have found to decent taste is the Chef Salad (with bleu cheese dressing).

2:Now a positive note! Drinks!  If you are a beer fan, and a work-out fanatic, this is the place for you!  Not only do they have decent beer choices, but beer is served in a 10 lb. frozen goblet.  With 4 reps of 20, I can not only work my arms, but feel really happy doing it!  The inherent side bonus: Herby-K’s provides entertainment to their local patrons as every customer non-accustomed to this work-out inevitably drops this bludgeon of beer goodness, deafening those eating nearby (and more than likely waking them from their grease-induced coma) as the glass explodes.  With the removal of video poker, they have also recently expanded their alcohol selection from beer to anything 40 proof and above.  Yay!  Any other drinks come served in bottles (glass not plastic), and for that, Herby-K’s has my gratitude.

3:  As noted in other posts, there is more to rating a restaurant than just the food. Unless you have a hefty seat cushion (either organic from eating tons of shrimp busters, or have purchased one for a local Shreveport Captains game), prepare yourself for a most unpleasant hard-wood seat.  If you are lucky enough to get one of the 4 booths, rest assured if any cushioning exists in the backs, it will be sparse, ripped up, and probably housing some small furry, woodland creature happy to pick up the crumbs of whatever you can drop.  If you need the restroom after surviving a couple of giant beers of doom, and your heart allows you to stand and move, then get ready to trek out of the restaurant (watch your step!), around the corner,  through the dark alley (have I mentioned yet the unfortunate part of town this restaurant is in-pack a weapon!), and step up (a foot step at least!) into a dirty, graffiti’d outhouse (and I was wondering who to call for a good time).    Overall, the atmosphere could be defined as ‘cozy’ in a 3rd world or post-nuclear kind of way as the interior probably has not been updated in over 50 years.  I can see how S’s family has memories of eating from the car.  I certainly would opt for a real seat cushion and a quick exit strategy.

At the end of the day, my wife and her family love Herby-K’s, and because I love them, I will continue to try and suffer in relative silence.  S mentions a lifetime of meals there; perhaps, but it will not be too bad as I believe the years are dropping off with each visit. Consider yourself warned.

N

So, you see, the battle rages on, and will probably continue for eternity. Our best advice is to try it for yourself,  make up your own mind and let us know what you think. Nothing throws fuel on a fire like taking sides…

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4 responses to “A Great TS Debate: Herby-K’s

  1. I saw your web site via msn the other day and absolutely love it. Keep up the truly great work.

  2. Guess you are both right about Herby-K’s
    But maybe it was Jimmy, that guy was the GREATEST!! waiter bartenter……… EVER, well that i have meet, The food does suck but the memories for the around fiftysomethings is thiick as north louisiana red clay. It all goes back to Jimmy, the cool dude that served the coldest beer in town. ITs strange he has passed a while back i miss him

  3. Gotta say I am going with the wife on this one. The shrimp buster doesn’t suck even a little – order it with onion rings. Eating those french fries is a missed opportunity. Personally, I fold the shrimp and dip ‘em in the red sauce, then eat that black peppery cole slaw on the french bread.

    The service could really use some attention these days. I hope they’ll do what needs doing to keep this place alive as the institution that it is.

    I’d like to hear N’s opinion on Fertitta’s Deli!

  4. It’s a fun and unique place to go and I agree the shrimp has been “busted” buy a Mack truck. However, after the most outrageous, arrogant seating service by a blonde headed man we walked off with hungry out-of-town relatives and said “never again.”

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