Catfish Cabin: another fried buffet [closed]

by | July 2, 2009 | 23 Comments

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Catfish cabin is located at 6317 N. Meridian Ave in Oklahoma City (map).

PLEASE NOTE: Catfish Cabin is no longer in business.

I’m sure you are familiar with all those cliches about curiosity. You know, like “curiosity killed the cat.” Sure, curiosity steers me into lots of great shady finds all around the city, but this morbid curiosity sometimes bites me in the end. For example, sometimes curiosity causes me to reject steadfast rules. I recently broke the rule of “don’t eat at buffets, specifically seafood buffets, and even more specifically when that seafood buffet is not on the gulf coast but rather in Oklahoma.” I know — long rule.

Catfish Cabin in Oklahoma City

Anyhow, I see Catfish Cabin every time I visit Leslie’s Pool Supply store next door. Unfortunately, I stopped at Leslie’s recently when I was really hungry and that bad painting of a dancing catfish on the outside window next door — the one that honestly looks more like a mutant seal — beckoned me to all-I-can-eat myself some catfish. What was weird when we walked in was that it felt like we were walking into a Chinese buffet. It had a fountain and those fold-up, asian-looking dividers. Then the smell of fried seafood filled the air and I was snapped back into reality.

It’s your typical seafood buffet with fried clams, fried shrimp, fried catfish bits, fried whole catfish, fried stuffed crabs, fried okra, fried potatoes, and so on. It’s kind of hit or miss on whether you get food that’s fresh out of the kitchen or the kind that’s been sitting under heat lamps for a while. The whole fried catfish that I had was actually pretty good, and I caught it as it was just being loaded on the bar. By the way, whole catfish is always fun to eat with the kids because you can wave the little fish skeleton at them and get a “that’s cool dad!” So, all-in-all, not a bad buffet.

On the other hand, it is still a buffet, and I don’t really like buffets. Mainly this is due to the hepatitis risk, and also the aggressive masses that push on you to move on down the line so they can fill their plates. Catfish Cabin had its fair share of the aggressive masses nearly reaching around me. I half-expected one of these folks to smash by face against the sneeze guard when I reached for the last roll. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

I also had trouble stomaching the vegetables here. I’ve had a lot of bad mac and cheese in my day, but this mac and cheese made the stuff from KFC seem gourmet. I have a 6 year old, a 5 year old, and a 2 year old that wouldn’t touch this mac and cheese. That should tell you something.

On the plus side, the wait staff was great. They have a bunch of sweet little old ladies who you can’t help but like. Oh, and the desserts weren’t terrible. They were your standard buffet desserts — cobblers, puddings, and soft-serve ice cream. My kids love a place with the soft-serve machine. But next time we go out to eat just for the soft-serve, we will head to someplace like Jason’s Deli, and not here.

If you like paying $12 a person for an Oklahoma seafood buffet, then Catfish Cabin is for you. We’d love to hear from your side of the story in the comments. But for me, Catfish Cabin is nothing but a reminder to trust my past experience.

You see, this review isn’t about revealing new truth about all you can eat seafood buffets, but rather about offering a reminder to us all. We all learn culinary lessons in our life, but sometimes we need them reinforced so we don’t forget the sting of our mistakes which may have faded over time. So, remember the rules, and next time you see me at a shady diner about to order the five dollar T-bone, go ahead and stab me with your fork.

Catfish Cabins of Oklahoma on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Andrew Littleton on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009. It is filed under:

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  • Katie says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 8:51 am   

    Haven’t been there in years, and as I recall, you can order off the menu and not have the buffet? The whole fish was great that way and hot and fresh. I try to stay away from most fried stuff now anyway and probably won’t return. There is a set of people who love the place. I guess it’s whatever makes ya smile?

  • Brian says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 4:06 pm   

    I ate at Catfish Cabin just last week, but until then I hadn’t been there in a couple years. I have always ordered the catfish filet dinner off of the menu rather than have the buffet. I really like the catfish filets from there, although I wouldn’t say that they are the best I have ever had.

  • Bizzle says:
    July 3rd, 2009 at 3:04 am   

    Yup. My Nene loved this place. I remember it for the all-you-can eat snow crab. I think a thing of the past now. The apple/peach combo cobbler was interesting. The buffet, hideous except for the fried catfish as stated. Instant mashed potatoes and mexican food thrown in for good measure. Yuck!

  • Martha says:
    July 3rd, 2009 at 9:50 am   

    My lingering impression is that it would be a good place to people watch or find movie extras. I would imagine David Lynch could get a lot of ideas in there.

    I have been once. I wish I had known about the ordering off the menu. It looked like everyone was going the buffet route though….in regard to the rules, I’m glad to know there are others out there who think like me! When I see people piling up plates at places like Catfish Cabin I wonder if I’m alone in the world!

  • Ron says:
    July 5th, 2009 at 4:31 pm   

    I like Catfish Cabin. I go through the buffet line and only get fried catfish, whole and fillet, pickled green tomatoes, and coleslaw. I too like the waitresses. 2 of them were with Sleepy Hollow for years and years.

  • Kevin says:
    July 6th, 2009 at 6:21 pm   

    Not the grandest catfishery in town, but it is a well stocked pond for those times when catch and release is considered only half right.

  • Ryan S. says:
    July 9th, 2009 at 9:27 am   

    Catfish Roundup is WAY better.

    Too bad it’s out in Seminole.

  • Clint says:
    August 18th, 2009 at 6:29 pm   

    Two experiences.
    1) Dinner about 6 months ago, it was good, kinda trashy, but the catfish was fine, I would give it 3 outta 5 stars in general, and 4 outta 5 for buffets. HOWEVER….
    2) Lunch about 2 months ago…AWFUL. I MEAN REALLY BAD. We were shocked, it was like it wasn’t even the same restaurant and were wondering if they serve a (MUCH) lower quality food at lunchtime. The awfulness was epic, should be sung about with harps it was so bad. I wish I could give negative stars.

  • jack richardson says:
    August 30th, 2009 at 11:19 am   

    i ate at catfish cabin for so many years ,the food was so awasome ,and the staff too,it is agreat place to go eat out ,,i go there once a aweek and its allways the same food the same taste ,its wonderfull

  • michelle says:
    November 12th, 2009 at 2:59 pm   

    My husband & I decided to drop in once and it was old and dried out and we both got bubble guts that night.

  • digusted says:
    November 24th, 2009 at 12:34 pm   

    Me, my mother, and 5 year old son went yesterday and the experince was horrific!! I should have known by the 2 lonely cars in the parking lot (including my own), that this is not a happening place. I too thought it was a chinese restraunt at first. The ribs and brisket tasted like pinto beans w/o the beans or cornbread. No real seafood at all. All imitation. the dessert was horrible and wierd??! The place looked like it was standing on it’s last leg. Catfish Cabin should stick to catfish only. the best thing on the menu was the tomato relish. Sorry for sounding so mean, but I paid $31.46 for the most horrible experince ever!!!!

  • Chris Kennedy says:
    January 23rd, 2010 at 5:23 pm   

    I ate at the Catfish Cabin about a year ago. I agree that the best thing there is the wait staff. For a great Catfish experience I suggest the Steak and Catfish House located at Waterloo and I-35. It’s a whole in the wall joint but its the best Catfish in Oklahoma. Splash a little Bobby Joe’s Pepper Sauce on you plate and enjoy.

    p.s. the veggies are delicious as well.

  • Maneki Neko says:
    February 5th, 2010 at 2:33 pm   

    Does anyone else find it irritating when a restaurant advertises “seafood” and all they have is shrimp? (Jeez, just say you have shrimp!) That was my experience at Catfish Cabin. I used to live near the Catfish Cabin and I stopped in one evening hoping to find some good fried oysters. Fried oysters seem to be a little difficult to find here in Oklahoma, and I was really craving some. Much to my disappointment, the fried oysters were not on the buffet that day. I think they’re a special item only served on the buffet on Fridays or Saturdays, and unfortunately I didn’t know that you can order from the menu as some others have mentioned. The absence of fried oysters was not my only disappointment. Everything had been sitting under the heat lamps for far too long and was very greasy and bland. The selection was really picked over and the only seafood left was shrimp and if I remember correctly they were not deveined well. In their defense, it was late in the evening and they were going to be closing within the hour. But they were still pretty busy so I expected them to keep refreshing the buffet but that did not happen. I was so disappointed that I almost complained, but those sweet little old ladies got to me and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. They were definitely the highlight of my dining experience. Overall, this place is way overpriced for the quality & certainly not worth $12 pre-tax & tip for one person. Even if I didn’t live so far away now, I would not return anyway. Want a good, cheap fish dinner from a locally owned place with friendly staff? Try Bob’s Fish & Seafood on Kelly. They have fresh, frozen, and cooked fish & seafood and lots of side items to choose from as well. I have to wonder if this is where some of the nearby restaurants like Mama E’s and Florence’s get their supply of fresh fish – I’ll have to ask them about that next time I’m in! Lunch special – 2pc catfish fillet w/ coleslaw, potato wedges & hush puppies for $4.50 and it’s delish. Take out only so call ahead or you’ll be waiting a while in a shady locale so beware of that. Hey, could this possibly be the next Shady Restaurant of the Month? 

  • TxOkie says:
    April 9th, 2010 at 7:22 am   

    My wife & I have been searching for some good fish places & haven’t had much luck here in Okc.We finally found one pretty good bar-b-que place that sell’s catfish.Kansas City Blues has some of the best tasting catfish here in Okc.My wife & I come from San Antonio & have been living here in Edmond for about 12 year’s now. We love the environment & people here in Oklahoma but we miss the great food from San Antonio but Oklahoma is still a very good place to live.If we want some San Antonio flavor food,we just cook it ourselves & becoming pretty good at it.

  • David Walker says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 2:45 pm   

    I thought the food was great! And cheap too.

    Oh, yeah, that’s when I worked there in 1976. They had a slogan on the menu… “If we please you, please tell others. If we don’t, please tell us.”

    I can’t believe it’s still around. I live in Georgia, and I can’t find decent catfish, hushpuppies, and cole slaw down here. I always compare it back to what I used to make at Catfish Cabin, and it just doesn’t measure up. Back then, everything was hand-made… hand cut and breaded fish, hushpuppie dough (with jalapenos!) mixed by hand, hand-shredded cole slaw, tatar sauce and shrimp sauce made from scratch. Damn, I’m getting hungry for it now!

    Well folks, I’m sorry it’s gone the way of the prepackaged out-of-the-box world. I still remember the recipes, so I guess I’ll just have to do my own fish fry. Drop on by…

  • Greg T says:
    April 23rd, 2011 at 7:16 pm   

    This place was awful the last time I was there. Food uniformly lukewarm, and drink refills conspicuously absent.

    Totally forgettable

  • Carlton B says:
    June 16th, 2011 at 12:09 pm   

    i have had better seafood at long john silvers

  • dom says:
    February 17th, 2012 at 8:54 pm   

    Kind of a strange review. Good food, good service, but a thumbs down because you don’t like buffets, which you knew it was when you went in. Odd.

  • Debbie Cook says:
    June 24th, 2012 at 6:05 pm   

    On our way to Cajun King Saturday 6/23/12, noticed that Catfish Cabin has gone out of business. Don’t remember the name but a Mediterranean Buffet place is going to be opening there soon.

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Thank you for sharing about this gem. I would have never known!

David, left as a comment about 4U Cafe