When we think of the word “godfather,” many things may come to mind. You might think of the man present for a new baptism. Or perhaps a form of spiritual leader there to guide you down a righteous path. Or even the head figure of a syndicate, calling the shots and overseeing operational control. Any of these depictions could be true, and any of these depictions could describe Marlen Babin, owner of Parrain’s Jambalaya Kitchen in Biloxi.
Parrain – the French word for godfather – is regularly used throughout Cajun culture as a term of endearment for those destined to fulfill this crucial role. When it comes to cooking, a godfather is definitely someone worth having in the kitchen.
A native of Gonzales, Louisiana, Babin opened Parrain’s in downtown Biloxi in November 2019. In just four short years, Babin has developed a devout following of customers who know good food and know they can find it at Parrain’s. Babin’s Cajun roots run deep and sweep into every aspect of Parrain’s from its quaint and rustic atmosphere to its delectably rich dishes. Chef Rhiann Morgan is on hand daily, putting her signature touches on Babin’s family recipes. It’s the perfect storm for an incredible meal, drenched in tradition and in butter while enticing you with something truly magical.
Parrain’s menu offers just the right amount of Cajun diversity to please any palate. I’ll be honest, any restaurant that is confident enough to print a fried bologna sandwich as a menu staple immediately has my full attention. The Taste of the Bayou is hands down the best way to start off your meal. Boudin eggrolls, boudin balls, pork cracklins and Parrain’s signature hog head cheese are nestled together for a starter that will rival any competitor. Add a Boudin pork link for a full Cajun experience.
Like any true Louisiana-inspired eatery, po-boys are on full display. However, in true godfather fashion, Babin wasn’t happy with just any po-boy bread. He had to have the best. And not only did it have to be the best, but it also needed to be prepared in the most epic of fashions. Parrain’s po-boys feature freshly baked bread from local staple, Le Bakery, which is flash fried and served split-top, overflowing with perfectly seasoned catfish or shrimp. It is absolutely amazing.
If more rich Cajun delicacies are what you seek, The Swamp Tour is an authentic excursion for your tastebuds. Parrain’s dark roux gumbo, creamy crawfish étouffée, brown sugar red beans and signature brown gravy jambalaya are on full display. It’s a great sampler for those who want a little bit of everything.
However, the most prolific – or godfather – of all dishes, is the Catfish Parrain. Babin’s signature chicken and Conecuh sausage jambalaya serves as a bed for two lavishly sized filets of fried Mississippi catfish. Everything is then topped with a healthy portion of crawfish étouffée, comprised of crawfish, Babin’s signature spices and the right amount of cream cheese. It is a feast beyond all others. At this point, you may be to the point of sensory overload, but be sure to leave just enough room for the most amazing of desserts – Parrain’s house White Chocolate Bread Pudding topped with miniature beignets. Pieces of Le Bakery bread float softly in custard-style base topped with miniature versions of hands down, the best beignets I have ever eaten.
You cannot go wrong with any option at Parrain’s. It is all that good. Babin has plans to grow the restaurant and the menu by enclosing the outside patio, as well as offering a gourmet Cajun burger. Proud of the success of his destination restaurant, Babin attributes his triumphs to a hard-working staff, combined with a loyal customer following.
Parrain’s is a culinary experience not like many others, where Babin’s love of food experimentation couples well with his genuine desire to please his customers. Babin can often be seen sitting at a table, conversating with guests, where he enjoys watching others relish in his culinary creations. And relish you will because it only takes one bite of anything at Parrain’s to understand why Babin is, beyond a doubt, the Godfather of Jambalaya.