Claudette’s Kitchen is the type of place where you can like it or lump it. They are absolutely polite and helpful, but no one here is going to pretend to be something they’re not.
The restaurant is open only three days a week and the place is in the middle of nowhere (get off Interstate 75 in Byron and go west until the buildings stop going by), but they serve up a great fried seafood dinner and they deserve to be proud of it.
Everything comes to your table in to-go styrofoam containers. If you come in and there are no available tables, you can either squeeze in between other diners at a long table or feel free to move a table where you want it.
Everybody seems to already know each other, so you can decide whether you want to be the mysterious stranger or if you want to mingle with the locals. Our cousins walked in while we were here, so you just never know who might show up.
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Best of all, everything is fresh. They batter it and fry it only once it’s ordered and you can even watch them do it through the glass divider if you need proof. We had the seafood platter so we could try all of their heavy hitters. At $14.99 for five shrimp, five oysters, two whole catfish, five catfish curls, french fries or fried okra, and cole slaw, the platter is a steal.
The shrimp has more of a tempura batter, so it’s not caked on like some fried shrimp can be, and the oil is kept clean, so it doesn’t taste like a bad carburetor.
I’m not a big catfish fan because of its tendency to taste like a bottom dweller, but they have both whole catfish and what they call catfish curls -- and neither tasted like dirt. Our table preferred the curls, which were more tender than the bone-in catfish, but I know some people like the skin and all, so this is a personal preference.
The fries were nothing unusual, but the fried okra and cole slaw tasted like my childhood. The slaw had very little mayonnaise -- if any -- and had a loud crunch to it. We also ordered onion rings that were thick and tasty.
All of the individual item plates are available as dinner size or snack size for a few dollars less. For example, you can get the whole catfish dinner for $9.99 or get the snack size for $7.99.
There’s also catfish filets, catfish curls, mullet, grouper filets, tilapia filets, shrimp or oysters as either a dinner plate or a snack, with nothing costing more than $12.99. You can even get chicken nuggets or a hamburger, but why would you do that?
So take a little drive down I-75 and get some shrimp and catfish. It’s the perfect summer weekend excursion.
Address: 8386 Ga. 49, Byron
Hours: 4:30-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: Yes
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 100
Price range: $3.49-$14.99
Rating: 3 stars