Just Like Momma Used to Make

Just Like Momma Used to Make Damian’s Cajun Soul Cafe in Arlington is a chip off the old block. Chef Damian L. Placide Sr. learned to cook at Brenda’s Diner in New Iberia, La., a restaurant his mother has owned for 23 years.

The Barbeque Ribs at Damian's are moist and meaty pork ribs that come draped in a killer vinegar-based sauce that will leave your lips burning nicely.
Gumbo ($8.25) is filled with chunks of chicken, beef and popcorn shrimp in a salty and rich brown broth.

| by Courtney Dabney | photography by Jason Kindig |
Placide learned from a pro and has been serving the same authentic Louisiana Cajun and soul food here for the past five years. You will find the snug and light-filled storefront just off 360 in Arlington, with Six Flags and the GM assembly plant both close neighbors.
    A brisk catering business fills up his weekends, so you will have to take a long lunch during the work week to get your fill. After sampling a little of everything on the menu the day I visited, my stepson and I can attest that it’s all good!
    Placide cooks everything from scratch including the desserts, like a fluffy golden pound cake and a unique peach cobbler topped with a rich pecan crust and flavored heavily with cloves (each $2.98). “I wake up every morning at 3 a.m. without an alarm clock because I love what I do,” he says.
    The blackboard changes each day with different lunch specials that come with your choice of sides. The Smothered Beef Tips ($7.99) were tender cubes of beef in a peppery sauce served over rice. We were amazed by the size of the Three Wings lunch special ($7.99). They were juicy and coated in a crispy pepper crust.
    Barbeque Ribs ($8.99) are moist and meaty pork ribs that come draped in a killer vinegar-based sauce that will leave your lips burning nicely. Gumbo ($8.25) is filled with chunks of chicken, beef and popcorn shrimp in a salty and rich brown broth.
    Side dishes include classics like red beans and rice or mashed potatoes and gravy. But we couldn’t get enough of the dirty rice, which is a meal in itself. The macaroni and cheese was flavored with jalapeño and really addictive, as was the smothered cabbage, which is sweet and spicy. It had a 12-year-old begging for more cabbage.
    If you are a fan of true Cajun, then you owe it to yourself to meet the ever-smiling Damian L. Placide, Sr. and hear him say, “You’re alright!”

location: 185 S. Watson Road #101, Arlington
for info call: 817.649.7770
price range: $
hours: Mon. - Fri. 11:00a.m. - 4p.m.
what we like: Everything is cooked from scratch including the desserts.
what we don't: The decor and atmosphere is humble.
our recommendation: The Gumbo and the Barbeque Ribs are both sure bets.