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Cajun somewhere in San Jose, San Francisco, or on the Peninsula?

j
jflesh Nov 1, 2006 09:14 PM

I've got a colleague flying into the Bay Area in the next couple
weeks, and he's expressed a non-specific interest in Cajun dining. Hunch is that this isn't the best part of the nation for that kind of food, but I'd be interested in any current recommendations. Searched the board a bit but see lots of mostly older postings.

He'll be staying in San Jose, but I live in San Francisco, so something in either town or on the peninsula would be fine.
Would lean toward a place that works well for a decent sit-down
meal.

What's the story on this Kingfish restaurant in San Mateo?
Am seeing some mixed reviews, though some may be targetted at
the now-closed San Francisco location. Many of the older
postings on the San Mateo location sound positive. Any recent
experiences?

Thanks,
J.

  1. g
    gourmetwannabe Mar 5, 2007 06:39 PM

    Another thumbs up for CreoLa. In fact, I get their Oyster Po'boy or Shrimp Po'Boy sandwiches with dripping remoulade sauce and perfectly fried seafood for lunch to go. I highly recommend their dinners. The place does get crowded on weekends.

    1. b
      brokergal Mar 5, 2007 07:38 AM

      I have to put in another recommendation for CreoLa in San Carlos - everything mentioned above (great food, service, setting and good value) is 100% accurate. I typcially eschew anything fried, but their 'gator medallions are awesome!

      1. m
        Mark G. Mar 4, 2007 08:15 PM

        Checked out the Cajun Crab House (smile) we had the crab, shrimp and crawfish boils It was worth the trip. Service a little slow the waiter was lost but the waitress knew her menu . The place was pretty full on a Sunday. The boils waht can I say. The crab and the crawfish catch them in season. I'd get desert someplace else if you can eat past your main course. Ample parking in there lot or street. Just down the street from Vally fair and Santana Row.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Mark G.
          Melanie Wong Mar 4, 2007 09:25 PM

          My brother was just telling me he liked the Cajun Crab House. He had the shrimp boil for $13 per pound, can't beat that. Anyone tried the beignets?

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/353203

          1. re: Mark G.
            wchane Mar 5, 2007 08:13 PM

            went there the other night and THIS PLACE IS FANTASTIC!!!! was a little skeptical as i found mixed reviews prior to our visit, but one thing everyone agreed upon was the food is excellent. we ordered nearly everything on the menu and my recommendation is to stick with the boils, corn bread, and some redbeans & rice. we didn't have room for dessert, and don't plan to do anything after. you're dirty, and smell funny. they also have abita brews.

          2. j
            jflesh Nov 17, 2006 01:51 AM

            Tried Andrew Jaeger's last night and was very happy with the experience. The large dining room was suspiciously empty upon
            arrival, with a lone couple dining in the corner, though the main lounge area was a bit busier. Suspect lots of folks were drawn by the live music, though my associate and I preferred the dining room given that the volume-level in the lounge would've all but killed potential for conversation. Even the carryover of sound into the empty dining room could challenge conversation some, but I still saw this as a festive upside to what would've been one giant quiet space otherwise. Voices had to be raised only slightly.

            Wish I had more menu items to discuss, but the appeal of the
            "special" tempted both of us. Apparently on Wednesday and Friday nights they offer a plate with crab-stuffed lobster tail and an 8oz NY strip steak for 19.95. Unbelievable value, and the food was outstanding.

            As part of the special, we were given small bowls of lobster bisque soup to start. And while I initially thought this seemed a bit thin, the full-bodied flavor and hints of spiciness made up for it. Thoroughly enjoyed dipping a couple pieces of bread in the soup beforing finishing off the soup standalone. Reminded me of how much I can enjoy lobster bisque (which I remember really liking at Rocco's on Van Ness several years back... but this has been closed for some time now).

            A salad was also included as a starter, and while this wasn't bad, this was the low-point of the meal. Very forgettable, with greens that seemed just a bit soggier than
            would've been optimal.

            But the entree dazzled...

            The steak was very tender and fresh tasting, and when I requested it rare, it actually came _rare_. The steak was lightly seasoned, and had what appeared to be a seasoned butter on top. Really good, and one of the better steaks in recent memory.

            The lobster tail was equally well-prepared. Of course, the portion here probably wouldn't satisfy any serious lobster craving, but given the steak and 19.95 price tag, I wasn't dissatisfied. The tail was cut lengthwise (so was really more of a "half tail"), and the upper body of the shell was filled with a seasoned crab meat. Drawn butter was served on the side. Couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 ounces of lobster and crab meat total, but very tastey.

            Opted to finish off the meal with a single malt and the massive apple gallet. Personally have an aversion to many desserts because I don't typically enjoy sweet foods, but this was great. Not overly sweet in the least, with very fresh tasting apple and firm perfect pieces of banana. Definitely enough for two though. My colleague thankfully had no aversion to polishing off the other half of it.

            Also enjoyed our waitress, who was very attentive and just a bit coarse at times (which was an attitude that blended perfectly with the surroundings).

            Gotta say I'm pretty excited by this place, and look forward to returning to try some of the other more traditional Cajun-leaning entrees.

            Many thanks to those who recommended this!

            J.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jflesh
              Robert Lauriston Mar 5, 2007 07:42 AM

              Jaeger's dining room never seems to be more than half full when I walk by. The place really deserves more business.

            2. Shoefly Nov 9, 2006 11:35 PM

              No on NOLA - it's way too loud. Head over to CreoLa in San Carlos - the menu & place is small - so you know the menu will be good! If you've never had Crawfish Etoufee - you've gotta try it.

              344 El Camino Real
              San Carlos, CA 94070
              (650) 654-0882
              http://www.creolabistro.com/

              1. k
                kevin Nov 3, 2006 06:09 PM

                town hall is supposed to be some cajun food on its menu.

                1. k
                  kevin Nov 3, 2006 06:04 PM

                  is hooker's gumbo shack near market and sixth, still around???

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kevin
                    Melanie Wong Nov 3, 2006 06:07 PM

                    Hooker's closed.

                  2. p
                    P. Punko Nov 3, 2006 08:03 AM

                    I've never been there, but The Poor House Bistro in San Jose has New Orleans style food. I've heard it is OK, but this is not necessarily the word from aficianados.

                    http://www.yelp.com/biz/FDgwFVBzybkFs...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: P. Punko
                      Peter Yee Nov 9, 2006 11:17 PM

                      PHB produces food that pales in comparison to the real thing. Not bad for the neighborhood, but nothing that drew me back for a 2nd visit either.

                    2. Neilo Nov 2, 2006 09:29 PM

                      Elite Cafe on Fillmore bills thenselves as New Orleans food.

                      I had brunch there Sunday and it was perfect.
                      I don't know how cajun it really is.
                      Great Bloody Mary.

                      1. JoyM Nov 2, 2006 07:28 PM

                        Kingfish is an ok restaurant, especially for "traditional" eaters, but there's nothing particularly Cajun about it, despite their advertising.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: JoyM
                          j
                          jflesh Nov 2, 2006 08:55 PM

                          By "traditional eaters" do you mean fans of simple or minimalist preparations, without a lot of "creative" flourishes? Or does this mean something else?

                          Not turned off at all by this kind of "traditional", but am
                          getting the feeling that many responses to Kingfish have been luke warm at best, and driving out to San Mateo for a so-so meal doesn't make much sense.

                          J.

                          1. re: jflesh
                            JoyM Nov 2, 2006 10:01 PM

                            What I meant by "traditional eaters" is, well, like my grandparents. It's a good place for a steak, or a nice piece of fish, but you won't find anything innovative or surprising or, as I said already, Cajun, despite their advertising.

                            So, "traditional" as in, well, traditional. Old-fashioned. Not minimalist so much as good, fresh food that someone who would run screaming in terror at the thought of sushi or Thai food would approve of. Some creativity in the food, but no surprises.

                            That said, the mussel appetizer is delicious, my carnivorous friend loves their steaks, the potato/veggie sides are nice, but all together NOT Cajun and no, not worth going out of your way for, especially when there are a zillion other choices on the Peninsula.

                        2. Melanie Wong Nov 1, 2006 10:16 PM

                          There's also CreoLa in San Carlos though I've not been there.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                            p
                            plainjane Nov 2, 2006 08:47 PM

                            CreoLa is great - I was just there for dinner a couple of weeks ago. I had the Crawfish Popcorn and the Shrimp Etouffe. My companion had the Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya. We had the beignets and a delicious chocolate dessert. Total for two people with a good bottle of zin - $110.

                            Of the Cajun/Creole restaurants I have been to in the Bay Area (Cajun Pacific, Gingerbread House, Poor House Bistro), I've liked CreoLa the best. The service is attentive and the setting is elegant.

                            1. re: plainjane
                              m
                              Mel Nov 17, 2006 02:44 PM

                              i have been to gingerbread house and it was not that great. Reminded me of the tourist traps down in the quarter. looking forward to trying CreoLa soon.

                          2. n
                            NoeMan Nov 1, 2006 10:13 PM

                            Cajun pacific in SF is open this weekend. Quite a fun place with authentic food. Very small and funky. Middle of nowhere.

                            http://www.cajunpacific.com

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: NoeMan
                              s
                              Sebby Nov 2, 2006 07:39 PM

                              Second this place. It's small and casual. They are open on some weekday nights. (I'm on their email list, so I get alerts as to when).
                              I go for the Dungeness Crab fest every year. Drool. Two weeks and counting.

                              1. re: Sebby
                                j
                                jflesh Nov 2, 2006 08:49 PM

                                Just glanced at the menu and this place does look good.
                                Will definitely plan to try it. Current thinking is that
                                we'll be dining on a Wednesday, which means it may not be open, and the location is a bit out of the way, so I'll probably sample this another time.

                                Could you provide more detail on the "Dungenes Crab fest"?
                                Is this a seasonal offering of several crab dishes? At
                                a "somewhat discounted" price (never sure if "fest" implies "reduced cost")? May be interested in heading out there for something like this...

                                Thanks,
                                J.

                                1. re: jflesh
                                  s
                                  Sebby Nov 2, 2006 09:08 PM

                                  Sign up for their email alerts from their website. Sorry, I deleted the one I got a few days ago, so I can't paste it here.

                                  Dungeness season the the Bay Area opens in two weeks. So they have nights were it's an all crab menu. You have to make reservations, they do two seatings. You preorder a full or half crab. It's a prix fixe, I can't remember the price $35-40?.

                                  Last year we had crab bisque, three types of appz (crab cheese puffs, crab egg roll, crab stuffed mushroom), and then your Dungy. It was roasted with Pernod ...it's different every year. There is also roasted potatos and a side salad served family style. And lots and lots of melted buter dripping down to your elbows.

                                  They ususally serve Ciao Bello sorbet for desert.
                                  Oh, and one glass of wine or a beer. You pay extra if you want more.

                                  I usually order the whole crab and take leftovers home to make crab cakes the next day.

                            2. k
                              kc72 Nov 1, 2006 09:49 PM

                              Nola in Palo Alto?

                              http://www.nolas.com/

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: kc72
                                Porthos Nov 1, 2006 10:08 PM

                                Nola's forte isn't really the food. It's more about the drinks and the bar scene.

                                1. re: kc72
                                  p
                                  P. Punko Nov 3, 2006 07:58 AM

                                  I don't know about how Cajun, but NOLA does have a great teriyaki skirt steak sandwich, they serve it with onion strings on the sandwich, tomato and aioli- delish

                                2. Robert Lauriston Nov 1, 2006 09:39 PM

                                  Andrew Jaeger's.

                                  http://www.condorsf.com/

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                    Melanie Wong Nov 1, 2006 10:15 PM

                                    We had a family dinner at Andrew Jaeger's two weeks ago and had a fine time. The Condor Club, honky-tonk atmosphere does make it feel a lot like the French Quarter and especially with the live jazz. Our server, Amanda, was just great and added to the warmth and color of our meal. She's one of the refugees and is putting down roots here. I'll post more about the food soon, but in the meantime, here's the slideshow.

                                    http://flickr.com/photos/melaniewong/...

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                                      n
                                      NoeMan Nov 1, 2006 10:22 PM

                                      Fabulous place. Nice pics.

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                                        j
                                        jflesh Nov 2, 2006 09:00 PM

                                        Really enjoyed the pics and would be interested in any
                                        additional detail on menu items. Current leaning is to try
                                        this place out in a couple of weeks, and I always enjoy visitting restaurants armed with item recommendations.
                                        Food looks good, and the venue appears reasonably entertaining and convenient.

                                        Thanks,
                                        J.

                                    2. Sarah Nov 1, 2006 09:22 PM

                                      I saw a place w/the word Cajun on its black awning. Wish I caught the name but I was driving slowly enough as it was w/impatient cars behind. On Irving around 8th Av... Not PJ's.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Sarah
                                        Sarah Nov 1, 2006 10:18 PM

                                        Ooops, I checked CitySearch, and it was PJ's Oysterbed.

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