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Feb 4, 2012 01:42 PM

Who likes Cajun food?

I'm looking for some suggestions on good Cajun food in Seattle south to Olympia.

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  1. Try Marcela's Creole Cookery in Pioneer Square for lunch or Toulouse Petit.

    1. I grew up on the Gulf Coast about 2 hours out of NOLA so this is a topic dear to my heart. In a nutshell:

      Where Ya At Matt is a food truck that does the best po'boys and jambalaya I've had in this corner of the country. Good red beans as well. My first choice.

      Crawfish King in the ID does a decent crawfish boil, or did the last time I was there a few years ago. They also had proper cajun gumbo (brown, dark roux and no tomato).

      Toulouse Petit does pretty good shrimp & grits but nothing else impressed me there.

      There's a place up in Ballard I haven't tried yet (Le Bon Ton Roulé) and another one in the CD (Louisiana Grill & Deli).

      Marcela's and Bayou on First are both terrible.

      13 Replies
      1. re: terrier

        I didn't think the oyster po' boy at Marcela's was bad for lunch, terrier. I haven't tried it for dinner and I have heard mixed reports. I doubt that any resto here does cajun/creole as well as it's done in NOLA. I love the food there ...

        1. re: firecracker

          I am glad to hear Marcela's is doing something edible - I haven't been in probably 5 years; a couple of bad experiences soured me on it.

          Speaking of fried oyster sandwiches, Matt's in the Market (unrelated to Where Ya At Matt) is still my favorite, even though it's not a poboy.

          Oh, and I have to give a major warning - run, do not walk, AWAY from "The New Orleans" in Pioneer Square, unless you're just having beers in the bar or listening to a band. The food has nothing to do with New Orleans - they've even managed to mess up a plate of fried catfish.

          1. re: terrier

            I went to The New Orleans once and only once, terrier. Horrible food, although the dirty martini was decent and the music pretty good as well. Nothing compelling enough to ever go back. I liked Ralph & Kakoo's and of course Pat O'Brien's in NOLA. Eddy played the plate, although the last time I was there, he wasn't. Also liked Gumbo Ya Ya's, the Bombay Club, an old place called GE (I believe), Muddy Waters and so many more.

        2. re: terrier

          We like Le Bon Ton Roulé a lot. We've been 3 times and had takeout twice and it's always been top notch. I can be a bit loud and the dining pace is casual (do go if you're in a hurry) but the staff is hard working and very sociable. I'm a big fan of the étouffée, the GF loves the jambalaya. Both a very rich so be prepared for leftovers. I know it's not very creole but the do a good poutine too.

          1. re: B Minus

            +1 (or A+) on Bon Ton. Better than a lot of the food I had In NOLA in March (but nowhere near the best, sorry).

            Gotta say, though, that the best gumbo I've had anywhere has been at the 74th Street/Hilltop Ale Houses. Unfortunately, that's the only dish that qualifies...


            1. re: kaleokahu

              Bon ton's alright... Certainly better than Marcela, The New Orleans and alot of the other stuff that passes for Southern around here, but there's better out there if you're willing to venture out.

              I posted on these guys a while ago, but if cajun/creole is what you're looking for, you guys have to get down to Crawfish Grill (or maybe it's still called Be's) down in White Center. I've been telling everyone I know who respects good, authentic food about it. It may sound ridiculous, but it seriously may be my favorite place in the city right now.

              Legit po'boys and crawfish boils down there. (His etouffee's not as good, but I'm just impressed that he puts it on the menu). I think on Mondays he does some bargain deal on the boils, and at least as of last month, he had a 4lb crawfish boil for something like $36 (a steal). Even without a discount, all of his menu prices are ridiculously low.

              I suppose this involves leaving the Capitol Hill to Greenwood bubble that we all find comfort in and venturing down into a less desirable part of town, but I think it's totally worth it.

              1. re: GreenYoshi

                What do you mean "we," Green Man?? :->

                White Center is right next door to me, and I am tickled to have another interesting place to try there. Thanks!

                1. re: MsMaryMc

                  +1 MsMary! And Green Yoshi - I find nothing 'undesirable' about White Center. If you have not been in a while, you will find the Downtown area teaming with fun resto's with reasonable, interesting eats.

                  Original Full Tilt is here, Crawfish Grill, a decent BBQ joint, Restaurant 88's awesome Pho and seafood curry, papusas and the best Tre Leche cake at Salvadorian Bakery, Zippy's giant burgers, and lot's more!

                  Up with White Center! Not so white, not so centered!

                  1. re: gingershelley

                    Yeah... That was supposed to be a subtle dig (too subtle apparently) toward all of those around here who's only Chowhound recommendations are limited to Paseo, Tom Douglas/Ethan Stowell, Canlis, everything Melrose Market and the Pike/Pine corridor. Those who would have mocked Food Truck 5 years ago, before they started becoming trendy.

                    I'll admit I don't get down toward White Center as much as I'd like (it is a bit of a trek from the north end of the city), but I know it well enough to think there's a case to be made that the best Cajun, Mexican and pho places in the entire city are down there.

                    (Also, come on, are you going to pretend that White Center isn't "undesirable" and that many proclaimed "foodies" around here will NEVER head that way for its culinary treasures? My beloved Crawfish Grill is across the street from a porn shop that is surprisingly still busy and the diviest of dive bars. Yeah, it's still gotten better, but it's still go a lot of it's Rat City history going on.)

                    1. re: GreenYoshi

                      Don't forget Rosticeria Y Cocina El Paisano.

                      And you are all right about White Center. And GreenYoshi is right about the predictable recs emerging from N. Seattle foodie "bubble," (but don't forget Salumi at 11AM and, inexplicably, The Three Girls Bakery).

                      1. re: equinoise

                        Yes, Paisano was the mex place I was thinking of when talking about the best Mex in Seattle being in White Center.

                        Crawfish was the Cajun place (obviously).

                        And Pho White Center is the pho place (Although, I have to admit I'm no expert on pho, and I find most places to be pretty similar. My buddy who fancies himself a local connoisseur on the stuff says it's his favorite).

                2. re: GreenYoshi

                  And don't forget the Carneceria El Paisano, next to the restaurant, with their wonderful $1 tamales . . .

                  1. re: LemonyRoux

                    Just had a couple of those tamales yesterday LemonyRoux! A delicious brunch :)

          2. Cacheinhand, I new home-style Cajun place has just opened in Parkland near Pacific Lutheran University. (Madea's Cajun Cafe, 417 Garfield St., Parkland.) It is owned by two sisters from Louisiana and they are starting out small with a limited menu. (i.e. Gumbo is only served Friday & Saturday and not during the week.) I have not been yet, but it is on my short list to try as I still miss "From The Bayou" which used to be in the same neighborhood.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Leper

              I second the recommendation for Where Ya At Matt, including the beans and rice. Some things I had at Toulouse Petit were good, but the menu at that point was so massive that it would be hard to avoid the less succesful/authentic items. Have not been back for two years or more.

              Crawfish King hits the spot for seafood boils, but other stuff there is middling at best (but have not had the gumbo). I noticed that a new crawfish joint has opened up in the complex near the Othello Link station on MLK, but haven't yet been. It is a shame that Taste of Louisiana in Skyway has closed; that place was legit.

              Yoshi posted about a White Center place fairly recently. Too bad that Taste of Louisiana in Skyway closed; that place was legit.

              1. re: equinoise

                this is the one cuisine i wish we had more of. a couple of places surprise me as having not been mentioned. kingfish cafe has some consistensy issues in my experience but has been really god most of the time. and though i have not been a quite awhile, i have enjoyed some very tasty catfish+ at catfish corner on e. cherry st. rally want to get to crawfish king soon. anyone know if it is run by NOLA natives?

                1. re: bighound

                  I've never been to New Orleans, nor am I very familiar with their cuisine. However, I have tried everything at Catfish Corner, and it is all wonderful. Best hush puppies I've ever had

                  1. re: SeattleDiners

                    We've found he hush-puppies at Rainin' Ribs inconsistent, but stupendous on a good day (and the brisket and ribs are good, too)

                2. re: equinoise

                  I'll third Where Ya At...very similar to the Cajun fast food sandwiches I grew up on in Houston...I really wish Matt would just open a restaurant somewhere, finding the truck can be a challenge.

                  1. re: equinoise

                    Tried The Cajun Crawfish on MLK for take-out yesterday, ordering 3 lbs of crawfish with the "boom-bang" sauce, a combination of their 3 other sauces. Just like Crawfish King, 2 or more pounds comes with sausage, potatoes and corn (and the potato serving is skimpy--in this case just one half a spud). I thought the quality of the bugs was better than any others I have had in SEA, with only one possibly bad one, and a lot of good sized specimens. We also elected the daily special of a dozen raw oysters for $12.99; they turned out to be some rather meaty virginica types that had lost their liquor, whether on the ride home or intentionally, I don't know. Still, a satisfying and civilized precursor to the messiest of meals. Also tried the cajun fries, which were basic bagged, tarted up with some spice blend.

                    1. re: equinoise

                      Equinoise, how was the sauce, and do you have a choice of heat on the bug boil?

                      1. re: gingershelley

                        I thought the sauce was delicious; I wished I had some more potatoes or bread to mop it. I probably would not have seperately ordered any of the constituent parts except for the cajun (the others are garlic butter and lemon pepper). I thought combining all it may be overkill, but it worked well for me. And yes, you have a choice of 5 stars; I elected 2 and it was moderate. I'd probably get 4 if it was just me.

                        1. re: equinoise

                          Thanks for the further info - will have to try this place!