French Quarter Cafe
- amykragan May 3, 2011 07:05 AM
Apparently opened yesterday in the former Mama Roux's location. I hope to try it this week. I enjoyed the food at Mama Roux's so maybe this'll be a good cajun replacement.
Checked it out last night. They had opened Monday at lunch (will be closed Sundays and for dinner on Monday) and will wait to start advertising til they work out some kinks. The decor is class New Orleans and a little less Mardi Gras than Mama Roux's was. Many of the Mama Roux's employees are back and the new chefs and manager have worked at Gumbo's Round Rock. Service was good and the manager spent quite a while with us asking for ways to improve, critiques, etc. Very eager to please and I think this place can make a go of it!
They had just gotten their liquor license that day but will be expanding the wine selection this week.
The rolls they bring to start were nothing special and could easily be run of the mill bulk items. I would have loved some crusty french bread. They did provide house herbed-butter but it was bit strong on the onion for me.
We split a cup of the crawfish gumbo which had a dark roux like I favor but I would have liked it to be a tad thicker. It was almost a broth consistency. Gumbo is a very personal taste and hard to please the masses in my opinion.
I had the Trout Ponchatrain which was small thin portion of fish topped with a brown butter sauce with shrimp and crab meat. It came with corn medley and mashed potatoes. Neither side did much for me. My entree was good, but didn't wow me.
BF had the Tilapia Imperial with dirty rice (good!) and the same corn. The large piece of fish was very well cooked and topped with a crab cake type topping. There was a tomato based sauce on the side that was off putting at first only because it was unexpected. I was ready for a creole type sauce and this was sweet, similar to an italian suace. It got better with each bite, but was just different from what I imagined when I saw it.
For dessert we had the homemade blueberry cheesecake. I usually skip dessert, but this was GREAT. Highlight of the meal topped with a blueberry puree!
We will definitely go back and know that they are truly working to give us a WOW experience.
Go check it out and see what you think!
I guess it's just a matter of opinion, but I think Gumbo should have a brothy consistency. I love a really dark roux, but I wouldn't want it to be too sludgy. Even if it's made with okra as a thickener, I'm sure the place probably has some file powder for you to add if you want it more to your liking.
That said, I'm hugely skeptical of any place outside of the south LA/MS/(maybe AL) region that claims to have great cajun food. I hope that doesn't make me sound cynical... it's just that I'm always disappointed. I don't think I've had one good example outside of that area. It's like when places claim to have NY pizza. Maybe just work with the essence of it and try to make it your own thing? There's plenty there to run with and be successful without having to claim it as "authentic" and disappointing people.
And I know this bugs some people on here, but I've gotta say... you can make some of the best gumbo you've ever had on your own. It's a bit of work, but you can make a whole ton and it freezes well. Sorry if this comment sounds like I'm flaming this thread or anything. Just offering a thought or two.
And just to contribute something positive so that doesn't sound like a useless comment, I'll highly recommend John Besh's "My New Orleans" cookbook and Tom Cowman's "Secrets of a New Orleans Chef." Also, though Emeril has a lot of annoyingly artery-clogging dishes he's presented over the years, his NOLA classics are usually pretty spot on. I made one of his gumbos one time and it was really great. Plus, you probably couldn't go wrong with anything from Paul Prudhomme.