Dining: New Orleans is king at Howe’s Bayou

Molly Abraham
The Detroit News

This year marks a milestone for Howe’s Bayou, the restaurant that provides the flair of New Orleans in Ferndale. It will be 20 years since it was established by Tom Brandel, who decided after a couple of years that he would rather concentrate on his Tom’s Oyster Bars.

Michael Hennes took over and he has been devoted to the restaurant ever since. He regularly travels to New Orleans to refresh his enthusiasm for the city and its Creole and Cajun dishes.

One step through the door and you don’t have to ask what the specialty is. From the Mardi Gras trappings around the long narrow room to the lunch and dinner menus and the bottles of rye behind the bar, this colorful spot channels the spirit of New Orleans.

About the only dishes that aren’t pure Louisiana are the burger and a couple of generic appetizers, and we can forgive the proprietor for that. The bulk of the menu is admirably focused on authentic New Orleans recipes, from the fried oysters coated with andouille sausage, and crawfish cakes, both appetizers, to catfish and shrimp po’boys on French bread.

Soups include the classic crawfish bisque and a robust gumbo with chicken, andouille sausage, red beans and rice that is almost a meal in itself, and like everything else, including the cornbread served with the soups, as well as with many other dishes, and the potato chips served with po’boys, they are housemade in a real working kitchen headed by Rafael Branhan.

Shrimp is a main component among entrees at lunch and dinner. Voodoo shrimp, grilled and topped with a spicy sauce, and shrimp etouffee over white rice, are two of the best bets.

For the past week, Howe’s Bayou has been celebrating Fat Tuesday and while the party is over, the spirit continues through the week, although the King cakes are long gone.

To mark the Howe’s Bayou anniversary, there are new wood-topped tables sprucing up this Ferndale classic, where the friendly and accommodating service is a reflection of the proprietor.


Howe’s Bayou

22848 Woodward, Ferndale.

(248) 691-7145


Rating: ★★ 1/2

Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-midnight Fri., noon-midnight Sat., 4-9 p.m. Sun. Bar later except Sun.

Prices: Appetizers $6.95-$22.95, soups and salads $3.25-$13.95, po’boys $7.95-$11.95, lunch entrees $9.95-$15.95, dinner entrees $10.95-$26.95, desserts $4.95-$5.50

Credit cards: All major

Liquor: Full bar with an emphasis on New Orleans cocktails

Noise level: Moderate

Parking: Street and nearby lot

Wheelchair access: No barriers

What the ratings mean

★ — routine ★★ — good ★★ 1/2 — very good

★★★ — excellent ★★★★ — outstanding