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Jan 22, 2012 07:39 PM

Lunch at Easy Creole (North Beach)

Last week “Windy” and I slid into the restaurant space on Broadway shared by Kirimachi and Easy Creole expecting to have a ramen lunch. But at 2pm, the ramen was already sold out.

The Easy Creole man offered us samples of his day’s menu. We tried the vegetarian gumbo and the sausage and chicken gumbo. The vegetarian version is also gluten-free, relying on pureed vegetables for depth and thickening. We ordered one non-vege gumbo over brown rice, $9, and also the half-half for $10, combining chorizo etouffee and the red beans and sausage over white rice.

Serving size was bigger than expected for the prices, more than the two of us could finish. And the orders include some good bread, chewy and crusty, brushed with a spicy seasoned canola/olive oil blend and served warm.

Somehow I wasn’t as taken with the sausage and chicken gumbo when presented with a whole bowlful. The brown rice diluted the flavors too much. Red beans with sausage and rice was enjoyable, if rather predictable and straightforward. The chorizo etouffee was my favorite. The crumbled Mexican chorizo delivered a spicy kick to the buttery rich base complicated further by the savory vegetable notes of the Creole holy trinity.

The owner also brought over a taste of the spinach etoufee so we could cover all the bases. The spinach etoufee tasted like Afghani sabzi or North Indian saag, or maybe I was channeling the dearly departed Helmand that used to grace this block of Broadway. Thickened with pureed garbanzo beans and made without butter, the garlic and cumin took it to Central Asia for me. As with our earlier taste test, he also somewhat apologetically said that it was a healthier version, gluten-free and vegan too. But I appreciated that about him, presenting options but not preaching.

Easy Creole
450 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

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  1. I liked the meat and sausage gumbo best, but it was quite mild, and I really wanted it both spicier and more garlicky. The broth was good. It is a huge bowl. Fortunately he brought us a bunch of sauces. I agree, it was better without added rice.

    Chorizo étouffée was comfort food. Would like to try a seafood version.

    Easy Creole is also open 1 night at week at La Victoria in the Mission (I think Friday nights). I appreciated the vegetarian options, even if we didn't require them.

    1. My partner and I tried dinner at Easy Creole at the Residence Bar on 14th at Church last night, and I described my experience in a new topic, as this topic referred to lunch and North Beach. For a complete report, see the link above, but my condensed review is that I loved the gumbo and the chef's enthusiasm for his food, but wasn't a fan of his chicken creole.

      Easy Creole
      450 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

      Easy Creole at the Residence
      718 14th St, SF, CA 94114