Mahi-Mahi Sauce Piquant at Creolinas Dixie Takeout in Davie

This is what's left of my Dolphin Piquant I ordered last night from Creolina's Dixie Takeout on State Road 84 in Davie. I should've taken a picture when it was fresh -- that would've been impressive. The hulking dish was $11.95 and came crowned with two whole mahi-mahi fillets doused in a garlicky, roux-thickened tomato sauce. I couldn't believe the portion size. I ate only one of the fillets along with a bunch of piquant-soaked rice and half of the mound of collard greens served on the side. I'm a complete sucker for great collard greens, and these did not disappoint. The mahi was moist and fresh -- I wonder how the other fillet will taste for lunch?

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This was the first time I visited Creolina's since it moved from downtown Fort Lauderdale to western Davie almost exactly a year ago. The Creole-Cajun joint has been lauded over the years as one of the finest examples of the cuisine here in South Florida (there are only really two other Louisiana-style restaurants of note here, but each is very good). But when the economy turned south, Creolina's packed up and moved out west, where rent is cheaper. The down-home food they serve seems to fit better out in Davie. And the amount of grub you get now for the price is absurd. A waitress named Lisa told me Creolina's pretty much halved their prices, but portions are as big or larger than they used to be. That's a great deal.

We also sampled some hush puppies ($2) and fried green tomatoes ($5.95), and both were a little overfried. I like a thick crust, but the dense coating on the hush puppies was like stucco. And I wish the tomato part of the fried green tomatoes were cut thicker -- the green (and slightly red) tomatoes had pretty much melted into the batter, they were sliced so thin. They came with green onion ranch on the side; next time I'd ask for the house remoulade instead.

You can still eat inside at Creolina's Dixie Takeout, despite the name. There are about ten tables lined in plastic yellow tablecloths inside and three or four outside. If you sit inside, you can look around the room at Creolina's many awards and articles it's accumulated over the years, many of them right alongside old Southern magazines and music posters and pieces of Louisiana memorabilia. There are a few portraits of Louis Armstrong too. I don't recommend sitting outside, as kids from a nearby trailer park panhandle from the Dunkin Donuts across the way. It's not a big deal, but as they edged closer, our sweet-as-bread-pudding waitress ran outside and threatened to call the cops if they didn't leave. That's one aspect of the move that Creolina's probably is not fond of. But at least there are fewer drunks than downtown. We stayed a little longer to sample the bread pudding served with vanilla-bourbon pudding on the side, another huge portion for just $4.95. You can really taste the bourbon in the vanilla pudding -- it was my favorite part.

I'll definitely be going back to Creolina's. For cheap soul food with a Louisiana accent, it's hard to top. I'll have to finish up my leftover dolphin piquant first, though.

Creolina's Dixie Takeout
13150 W. State Road 84, Davie, 33325

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