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.