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Mar 30, 2007 09:13 AM

Cal-cajun in Napa - Bleaux Magnolia ... coffee w/chicory, beignets and jambalaya burritos?

There was a brief mention in another thread. Has anyone been yet?

Currently open for breakfast & lunch, when they get their liquor license in a few weeks they will be open for dinner.

A former pastry chef at Bouchon is making the desserts.

From the Napa Valley register, some of the items served ...

" ... duck jambalaya and seafood gumbo, ... muffaletto sandwich ... po’boy with a choice of blue cornmeal crusted oysters, beer-battered catfish, fried crayfish tails or grilled prawns ... pulled pork slow-cooked in a pomegranate molasses- rum barbecue sandwich ... voodoo chicken sandwich"

Some of the sides and entrees sound a little ambitious like sweet potato fries with chipotle creme fraiche or blue marbled jalapeño cheddar cornbread.

In the space of the former Cafe Lucy ... 1408 Clay St.

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  1. Haven't been there, but thanks for mentioning the location. Now I can stop warning friends to not eat at the "italian" restaurant that had been there.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong


      According to the article, the Bleaux Magnolia owners had previously been trying out their menu at local farmers markets. Anyone tried the food at the markets?

      1. re: rworange

        Sorry but this stuff just sounds pretentious and just wrong.

        Po' boys are just that-- adding on high tone sounding food items to regular (albeit regular for Louisiana) just sounds like adding hype to add 0's to the bill.

        If I am going to have Cajun or Creole food, I would run away from a place like this.

        Blue collar and overalls showing...

        1. re: drmimi

          Where would you run exactly? With all the french bistro sameness in Napa (not complaining, plenty of it is great) BM is a nice addition. Have been twice. The seafood gumbo is good, though no okra or crab, but a good roux base and plenty of pepper kick. The duck sausage jumbalaya is also good, though most jumbalayas are too dry as is this one. Servings are generous, even the 1/2 servings. I prefer an etoffe which I thought I heard mentioned to another table as a special that day. That same server did not mention it to me though, which is my main complaint. The service is working out the kinks though it's been a warm greeting at the door both times.

          1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

            I'd run to cheaper and less pretentious. I like food with complexity but I would just assume stay in Sonoma County when going out to eat (I do a lot of car travel with the work I do). We have plenty of bistros here. With gas being so ridiculous, I choose my treats a bit closer to home:)

    2. I think all of those things sound good, and for the ingredients- nothing seems like too much of a stretch from basic versions. Pomegranate is wonderful with smoked meat, and sweet potato fries are always welcome.

      1. As someone who lived in NOLA before "it", I was disappointed in both the gumbo and the oyster po'boy. The roux was not dark enough in my opinion and without crab the seafood gumbo was definitely missing that earthy flavor that I love so much. The po'boy had four oysters in it... again, not what I am used to. The sweet potato fries were undercooked.
        It's great to have something different in Napa but I wish it were better. I'll make gumbo at home.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Suenarita

          i had the oyster po'boy at Maverick a few weeks back. it's on their brunch menu. It's only $10 bucks and comes on a soft round ACME roll. i think there were 6 oysters on there. i would have preferred more oysters as from what i remember, the great po'boys i had in NOLA were loaded with em. nonetheless, it was a tastey treat. nicely "dressed" with shredded lettuce, mayo, hot sauce, and just a bit of diced tomato. and it comes with shoestring fries. some of the fries were a bit soggy for my liking, but i have a feeling they're not always like that. and if i would have complained they probably would have rectified that.

          next time i go i might ask if i can get get double the oysters on the same sandwich. i'll pay twice as much if necessary, but i think it would be worth it.

          got any other suggestions of where to get a decent oyster po'boy?

          1. re: brian j

            I'd like to know too. I remember the great ones at Acme and Felix's in the French Quarter,
            so that's my basis for measurement. Perhaps start a separate thread, Brian? Looking
            for great oyster po'boy or oyster grinder?

            1. re: maria lorraine

              i've never heard of an oyster grinder. i'm only familiar with po'boys. what's the difference?

              1. re: maria lorraine

                I'd like to know where to find good Cajun/Creole, period, in the Bay Area. BM is a welcome addition because there is none to be found, regardless of the not dark enough roux and 4 oysters in the po boy. Anyone? (no Gingerbread House referrals please).

                1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

                  You might want to try Andrew Jaeger's House of Seafood & Jazz in North Beach.

          2. I like this place a lot. It has been dinged for not being suitably authentic -- well, one of the complainants hadn't even bothered to try the restaurant -- but please tell me which of the many italian restaurants in the Napa Valley serves authentic italian food?

            I've tried the jambalaya (a little too dry for my taste); the catfish (with good contrast of greens and sweet-potato fries); crawfish etouffe (sp?); and the "pork osso bucco". There are also some nice appetizers -- the crabcakes are moist and come with a very satisfying mango-pepper slaw.

            But I've never ordered the gumbo, because my wife _always_ orders it, and I want to eat around the menu, but gracious, it's good! As Dan mentioned, it has a nice base and a kick. Best of all, they know how to cook (not overcook) seafood. A whole flotilla of barely-cooked prawns and scallops and octopi (?) drifting around, flanked by chunks of peppers. Accompany that with good cornbread, jalapeno butter, a cold beer, and service that is a little rough around the edges but enjoying the gig... and close your eyes, and you can imagine yourself actually being in Napa!

            3 Replies
            1. re: teleme

              So, one year late, I'm going to second teleme and Dan Wodarcyk and strongly suggest that people give it a shot. Does anybody see the irony in complaining about the authenticity of creole cooking in general?

              To be honest, we tend to stay away from the items that are supposed to be transported dishes. We figure that's a tough road to go down for the chef. Once you stop trying to see if they hit the "authentic" high notes, the less encumbered meals tend to be hearty, spicy, and rich in a much sharper way than the majority of the restaurants in the area.

              We had a prix fixe menu there once where we started of with a spicy BBQ shrimp appetizer, a strong pork belly follow-up, a pretty good horseradish / panko crust NY steak, and a delicious, clever butterscotch and apples dessert. That was a pretty good lineup, and I think it only ran us like $75 per person with a fairly generous wine pairing after tax and tip.

              We went for brunch once, but we like the flavors of their dinner entrees more.

              1. re: napaeats

                Apparently someone associated with Bleux Magnolia is opening something in the old O'Sullivan's bar at First and Juarez. Could I be any more vague? Anyone know more?

                1. re: Junie D

                  I can be a little less vague but highly likely I'm going to botch the description. The general manager mentioned something about it while serving us our wine. I think they wanted to make it like a casual place to hang out and have drinks but more on the mature, casual side. So, I was thinking they wanted to avoid a bar, nightclub, etc. type of feel.

            2. Rw-

              Have you been to Bleaux Mag yet? How does it compare to Trinity in terms of food? I liked Trinity but thought the roux on the gumbo was not quite deep enough for my liking. I used to love the gumbo at Gulf Coast Oyster Bar when they first opened in Old Oakland. (It is long-gone)

              1 Reply
              1. re: zenki

                First, thanks for the report teleme. I'll have to give that gumbo a try.

                Thanks for the report on Trinity zenki. I haven't been up that way lately so I haven't been back to Trinity or to Bleaux Magnolia.

                I keep wanting to try the new Seafood House N Donuts in San Pablo ... which I would guess ambiance-wise is mid-way between Bleaux Magnolia and Trinity.

                The best gumbo I've had so far in the Bay Area was at Nellie's in Oakland. It is the Friday special.

                Bleaux Magnolia
                1408 Clay St, Napa, CA 94559