Review: Fried Catfish from Popeyes

So Crawfish Festival is back at Popeyes. I love Popeyes and I love crawfish. Naturally, combining the two is a match made in heaven. I had the Crawfish Tackle Box last year and pretty much agree with Ryan’s review. It contains battered crawfish tails, a side and a
biscuit. The only real flaw I see with it is the lack of a decent dipping sauce. Tartar and cocktail sauces are pretty boring, and if you dare to dip your fried crawfish in ranch, you are no friend of mine.

Okay, we can be friends, but don’t ask me if you can barrow any money. Overall I give it three sucked-on-crawfish-heads out of four. Along with the straight up fried crawfish you can get them in a Po’ Boy sandwich. That sounded great to me, so yesterday I went to Popeyes and ordered one. It seemed a little odd when the guy behind the counter asked me what side I wanted, but since I was going to order mashed potatoes anyway I went with it. When I got back to my car I checked the bag and thought it was weird that the Po’ Boy came in the same box as the chicken meals. I then opened the box and sure enough, I had something not even close to a Crawfish Po’ Boy; the Fried Catfish meal.

At first I was annoyed, but considering Popeyes has never done me wrong in the flavor department, I said “screw it”, and gave it a try. Not going back inside and complaining turned out to be a great idea. This was awesome! The meal comes with three filets of seasoned, cornmeal breaded and deep-fried catfish. The filets are pretty big, surprisingly fresh and perfectly cooked. The soft moist interior and the crispy well seasoned exterior is just what you would expect from any decent soul food joint worth its salt.

This is as far on the other side of the spectrum from fish sticks as you can get. Popeyes, you get my vote for fast food restaurant of the year. Like most animals, wild catfish tastes like what it eats and where it lives. It lives in the mud. Thus, it usually tastes like mud. Farm raised catfish has somewhat cured this problem and gives the fish a much cleaner taste. Popeyes, for obvious reasons, uses farm raised catfish. The result is way better than you would expect. Long John Silver’s has nothing on this fried fish. The only flaw with this is the dipping sauces. The cocktail needs way more horseradish, and the tartar could use more acidity. Thankfully, Popeyes hot sauce brings the southern flavor and the heat needed to make up for the so-so condiments.

I also had to wait about ten minutes for my food. That is a good thing in my opinion though. If my catfish was cooked an hour or two ahead of time, who knows how this review would go? I’m sure some of you won’t agree with this stance, but I feel good food takes time and I am more than willing to wait for the payoff of quality and flavor. You screwed up my order big time Popeyes, and lucky for you, you screwed up in the right way. Fried catfish, mashed potatoes with gravy and a biscuit was just what the doctor ordered. Just please never release Rip’n Catfish.

Pros: Failing upwards. Popeyes hot sauce. Not having to type "Rip'n" more than once... wait twice... damn!

Cons: I didn't order this. Finding new ways to say "bland". Fish sticks.

Taste: 8.75/10
Value: 7.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 3.00/10
Price: $6.49

Overall GrubGrade: 8.75/10

More Info: Popeyes.com
Nutrition Facts:
147 gram weight catfish fillet
460 calories, 29 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 1140 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of protein

9 comments on “Review: Fried Catfish from Popeyes

  1. Adam says:

    That actually looks really good.

    • Chefprotoss says:

      You would love this broseph. Don’t compare it to the chicken though. If your in a chicken mood get that, but if only fish will do, this is about as good as it gets from a fast food joint. They really should promote this way more during lent.

  2. larry says:

    Nice review CP.

    1) I’m a fan of catfish and almost always stop when I see a clean roadside stand frying up fresh catfish but I’ve never had Popeyes. I need to remedy that on my next visit.

    2) One of the things I love about Popeyes is that they ALWAYS ask me to pull up and park unless I’m just ordering chicken (which is rare). I know the food is going to be fresh every time. I often experience the same thing at Hardees and, like you, I don’t mind the wait.

  3. Manavee says:

    My crawfish tackle box came with a creamy horseradish sauce. It was pretty good, but the cream definitely out-muscled the horseradish. I like my horseradish sinus clearing.

  4. Chefprotoss says:

    Yeah, I didn’t even mention the horseradish sauce because I have never seen it. I guess I live in an area where promotional sauces are banned. None of my popeyes ever have any of them. I have read reviews on other sites where this is an issue as well. As long as they don’t take my hot sauce I will be happy.

  5. Raiders757 says:

    Great review! Now I’m hankerin’ for a dose of fried fish now. You already beat me to it, but it’s a must to have a little hot sauce(Texas Pete) with your fried catfish. They go together like PB&J. Thank goodness I live less than a mile from a Popeye’s.

    …and to think, I was going to give the new LJS Fish Bite basket a try before the week ended. Never mind now. This sounds a lot better.

  6. Marie says:

    Good call chefprotess on givving this one a try…I actually do eat this on many Fridays during Lent and absolutely agree that it is delicious. Hot, crispy exterior with quite a bit of kick (a little bit too spicy for my tastes but I do not have a pallette for hot foods in general) to the cornmeal and the catfish is moist and flaky inside. Pair this up with a side of their awesome red beans and rice and a real cane sugar sweet tea and I am set.

  7. ChrisLad says:

    Fried catfish is hidden delight. Much more flavorful than the standard white fish. It looks popeyes nailed it.

  8. Charlie says:

    After reading this review I went to my nearest Popeyes, but they didn’t have the catfish! It wasn’t even on the menu. I was very disappointed. I ended up getting the butterfly shrimp, which were good but nothing special. On the way home I noticed Church’s Chicken had a catfish filet special so I’ll try that next time.