First off, Katfish Kastle is located directly across the street from the Kream Kastle, an iconic Blytheville drive-in restaurant that is owned by the Johns family and just last month surpassed 66 years in business. The Kream Kastle is well known for it’s BBQ sandwiches and other drive-in foods… On the other hand, the Katfish Kastle is owned and operated by Suzanne Johns Wallace and her husband Jeff Wallace. Jeff takes care of all the food preparation including the mixing and making of hush-puppies, and cooking the white beans. Suzanne is more out front and greets the customers and makes sure things go smoothly in the dining area. The other thing that both “Kastle” businesses share is the common thread of replacing the “C’s” with “K’s” for Kream Kastle and Katfish Kastle. Pretty cool huh!
Disclaimer: The owner, Suzanne and I went to the same high school, but I graduated a year before her. So it’s possible you may think this review is biased, but it is not. I made up my mind way beforehand that if the food was only average (or below), that I just wouldn’t write the review. In fact, I assumed it would be like most of the catfish places I have eaten at, which is your run of the mill greasy and “fishy” tasting catfish. It’s just really hard to find GOOD catfish and catfish restaurants. Needless to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised that it far exceeded my expectations.
So by virtue of the fact I am even writing about Katfish Kastle…it means I had a positive experience.
This is how the meal went from beginning to end. There were 7 people in our party and we were waited on very promptly. The waitress, Ashley was very nice and was able to take all 7 orders (including some with special instructions) without getting anything wrong. She did a great job at our table. Our orders were taken and our drinks brought to our table within a minute or two. Everyone got fish except for one person who did not like fish and he was able to order from the menu across the street (yes, you can order food from the the Kream Kastle; BBQ, burgers, pizza burgers, etc) and they will serve it when the other meals are served.
For myself, I ordered the 4 piece catfish (or should I say Katfish) dinner. The dinner comes with 3 huge hush-puppies, a bowl of white beans, coleslaw, white onion slices, pickled green tomatoes, a pickle spear and HOT FRIES and HOT FISH. From the time we ordered till the time the dishes were served was no more than 20 minutes…maybe even around 15 minutes. The food was hot and the presentation on the plate looked scrumptious!
I love GOOD catfish. I HATE bad catfish. To me if the fish tastes excessively “fishy”, it tends to be a very unsatisfying meal and just doesn’t taste good to me. In fact, only a week ago I ate at place in Searcy, AR that supposedly had a good reputation for their catfish…and all 4 pieces tasted like a sewer pond. YUCK.
The fish from Katfish Kastle was perfectly done, a great tasting breading on the fish, a perfect temperature for eating and best of all…a nice CLEAN taste to it. All 4 pieces of my fish were exactly the same…perfect. Some of the best (at least tied for best) catfish I have ever eaten.
As for the side dishes and condiments. They too were just right. The white beans were served in a small bowl with a thick pudding like consistency (that’s a GOOD thing)…and they were tender and tasty with a hint of ham flavor. The fries were krinkle cut fries that were crunchy on the outside and meaty on the inside…and hot. The onions and pickle were…well, fresh onions and pickles. The tartar sauce is homemade and the sides are rounded out with some pickled green tomatoes. Admittedly, I did not eat the tartar or the pickled tomatoes…I don’t like those, but my wife said they were very good and she could tell the tartar sauce was homemade and not store bought.
The hush-puppies were Lee Ann’s (my wife) favorite thing of the meal. She LOVES hush-puppies and these met the challenge. The hush-puppies are the size of a medium sized snowball and have corn, chopped onion and some of the best danged jalapeno peppers with just the right amount of “heat” to them. Not too hot, but enough to let you know they are there. Lee Ann only likes mildly spicy foods, and these were perfect she says. They are fried perfectly and have nice crunchy outer coating.
The portions from Katfish Kastle are GENEROUS. The tea was good and flowing freely. Overall just a really enjoyable catfish dinner. I would love to critique something they could improve on…but I don’t know what it would be…
If you’re looking for a good catfish restaurant with a simple menu, a friendly staff, some QUALITY catfish filets and hush-puppies, then I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Katfish Kastle in Blytheville, AR.
Below are the details for Katfish Kastle.
111 North Division
Blytheville, Arkansas 72315
Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4pm – 8:30pm