UPDATE AS OF 2/06/2014:
Captain John’s Seafood (or John’s Seafood) no longer serves the Chinese Hot Pot-style soups that are the primary focus of this review. They also appear to have dramatically reduced the number of Vietnamese menu items that they offer.
By the time I stepped into John’s Seafood, a canary-yellow restaurant located at 1896 Airline Drive in Bossier City, I knew that I was in for an adventure. The building, which previously housed a drive-thru seafood joint called Captain John’s Seafood, has recently been transformed by murals of giant shrimp, steaming noodle bowls, and a hand-painted wooden sign declaring: “HOT PHO VIETNAMESE CHINESES NEW ORLEANS CAJUN.” What I didn’t know – and I never would have guessed, not in a million years – was that I’d just walked into a restaurant specializing in Chinese Hot Pot cuisine.
In addition to five different kinds of Asian hot pot, Chef Tommy Lee adeptly prepares Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, po-boys, fried seafood and soul food. He spent 27 of his 37 years as a chef working in New Orleans, cooking at upscale Asian restaurants and banquet halls, and it shows. The Vietnamese spring rolls, or chả giò, served here are among the best I’ve had, and come with a bed of bibb lettuce and fresh mint leaves to wrap each bite in. Vietnamese-style steamed rice platters are great for lunch. But, honestly, the seafood hot pot here was the most delicious (and fun) meal I’ve had in ages.
The hot pot experience isn’t for everyone. A boiling pot of delicious, spicy broth is brought to your table to simmer atop a propane burner. Depending on what kind of hot pot you’ve ordered, a tray of uncooked ingredients (think shrimp, sliced beef, tofu, etc.) will be accompanied by steamed rice, dipping sauces and more. Diners drop the fresh ingredients into the simmering broth and eat them as they cook. Because I couldn’t read the menu on the wall at the restaurant, I’m afraid I can’t list all of the hot pot varieties served at John’s Seafood. However, I can personally recommend the seafood variety ($35), a feast of prawns, clams, tofu, squid, catfish and more, which will easily leave two intrepid diners in a state of bliss.
In closing, I just have to ask: What the heck is going on in Bossier City? John’s Seafood is located less than a half a mile from north Louisiana’s only Dominican restaurant (Sabores), a Korean lunch counter (Fuji-Ya Market), several taquerías, a killer Greek and Lebanese place (Greek Corner), and more. Whatever is causing the continued growth of the international food scene in Bossier City, we’re thrilled to see it happening.
John’s Seafood is open, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Mon-Thu, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat. Prices for items mentioned in this post will be added as soon as possible. It’s best to call in advance if you plan to order a hot pot – just ask for Tommy Lee. The restaurant can be reached at (318) 747-7747.
Hot pot in Chinatown was a common way to fight the winter chill in Chicago, and I’ve missed hot pot more than anything else since I moved from Chicago to Shreveport/Bossier. This is the best news I’ve gotten in quite some time.
Hank, thank you so much for reading and commenting. Mr. Lee is also a consummate host – it was a lot of fun dining with him. My wife Sara and I can’t wait to go back and try some of the other varieties of hot pot.
We’ll stop by on Friday and give it a shot… wish we could get some cooler restaurants over in South Shreveport West of 49… There’s a lot of room to spread out over here. I figure since they’ve just about piled in every chain restaurant they could between Bert & 70th, maybe the mom and pops will put up shop out here…
In truth, from Korean to Jamaican to Thai, I’ve seen a lot of global restaurants in Bossier over the years. They were startups that were hidden amidst the many little shops on Airline and Barksdale.
The good news today is that you are having such a good time sampling them and writing them up.
You’re right, Robert – especially with Barksdale Air Force Base for customers, that Barksdale/Airline area really is the smartest place for an international restaurant to set up shop. I just never cease to be amazed at how quickly the restaurant scene on those two thoroughfares seems to change. Every month or so, something has opened, changed hands, or closed, it seems.
I called Fuji-Ya Market in Bossier City and they said there is no Korean lunch counter, only groceries. Did they have one before?
I’m sorry, Jay, I may have the name wrong! Let me look into this and I will get back to you.
Caught you on Poppy Tooker’s show today and immediately sent this link to my friends who live in Bossier. This sounds amazing and I’m definitely going to check it out next time I’m “up North.”
Hey, Elizabeth! Thank you for the kind words. Please do take note, however, that John’s has stopped doing the Chinese “hot pot” style meals that were so special. They’ve also dramatically cut back on their Vietnamese menu. I added a note at the top of this review, but may have to take it down altogether. Thank you, again, for reading 20×49 and sharing it with friends!