If you have never been to Kudzu Seafood Company in downtown Macon, you are missing out on one of the best restaurants in town. Located at 470 Third Street, this unassuming casual seafood restaurant has made a big splash since opening in 2014. They offer high quality and reasonably priced Gulf Coast favorites to Middle Georgia.
Service is always a big part of any restaurant experience and Kudzu treats you right. My family has been on multiple occasions and each time we are warmly greeted and the staff makes you feel welcomed. They don’t rush you and they also don’t leave you wondering where your server went. It is clear they work as a team, as all of our needs are met by everyone working and not just our server.
The casual atmosphere is reminiscent of a beach seafood place you might see in one of the many Gulf Coast towns. The menu has a lot of options, but is far from being unwieldy. There are sections for starters, salads, specialties, baskets, poboys, burgers, sides and children. For this visit, I stuck to my favorite, firecracker shrimp tacos, with a side of jambalaya while my wife ordered BBQ shrimp and cheese grits with an appetizer of jambalaya hushpuppies. Together we ordered the daily special appetizer which was fried crab claws.
Their firecracker shrimp tacos can only be described as superb, as the shrimp was generous, well seasoned and perfectly grilled. If you want to shuck the carbs and have it outside of a taco, firecracker shrimp is also offered as an appetizer. Cajun coleslaw added a pleasant crunch and its flavor along with the remoulade sauce accented the shrimp perfectly. The jambalaya had a nice flavor, spicy but not hot, unless you are like me and add hot sauce. Shrimp in this dish are a little more shrimpy, about salad sized and you will also find Andouille sausage in every bite. For $9 you get two and a side, but I love them so much, I always go for the three for $12. The only disappointment I’ve had is in taking the last bite and realizing there are none left. It’s a pretty filling meal, so if you are a light eater, stick to two, especially for lunch.
My wife ordered the BBQ shrimp and cheese grits. In this dish, there is a BBQ seasoning added to the shrimp that gives it a unique spin on the classic Coastal Southern dish. I am not a fan of grits, but this is one of the few grits dishes that I can eat and eagerly ask for seconds. Kudzu’s variety can stand its ground with any in the area.
Since my wife’s dish didn’t come with a side she ordered the jambalaya hushpuppies to make it a meal. That is my normal side and explains why I ordered jambalaya instead. These little brown morsels are a refreshing take on the old seafood standard. Packed with rice, sausage and shrimp, rolled in panko bread crumbs and deep friend they are favorite of ours. Don’t dip these in ketchup as they are plenty flavorful on their own, but don’t pass up putting a couple drops of hot sauce as you pop one in your mouth.
Our last dish was a special advertised on the chalk board out front, fried crab claws. I haven’t had these anywhere in a while, so we made sure to take advantage of the opportunity. The meat was delicately sweet and the whole effect reminds one of Buffalo wings. They were served with remoulade as well as cocktail sauce and both sauces accompanied the appetizer quite well.
Kudzu has a full but modest beer and wine menu, giving plenty of options to go with your meal. I ordered a $4 glass of sangria, which went nicely with the sweet and spicy dishes.
The restaurant is open for lunch only on Monday and Tuesday from 11 AM – 3 PM and serves lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, closing at 9 PM. Although the on-street parking is often taken, there is a garage less than a block away on Poplar near the corner with MLK that charges $1/hour. Kudzu Seafood Company also delivers to within about 5-6 blocks from the store.