NEW: Easy Creole (Cajun food), Berkeley - any reports?
- hhc May 23, 2013 05:56 PM
Read on EaterSF that Easy Creole is now open in Berkeley. Menu is suppose to change daily, has some vegetarian dishes. Any reports?
1761 Alcatraz Ave, Berkeley
Was intrigued, until I saw they have been serving curry chicken and turkey pozole on top of the vegetarian skew- what a confused menu. I'm not sure why they adopted a Creole moniker.
Would that be between Adeline and Sacramento, near Sweet Adelines?
If you want you some good creole food, try T. C.'s Fried Chicken. I had their gumbo this week and it was spicy and very meaty with tiny shrimp, a nubbin of crab, much sausage and lots of chicken. The mac and cheese was the best I recall having in a restaurant. Very cheesy and very creamy. A very satisfying $6 meal! The dougnnut holes were good too.
There was plenty of macaroni that Friday. It was definitely saucy, but not at all soupy. It was also very orangy in color unlike your photo. My only complaint is that I couldn't manage to get the top to brown in my oven. It reheated great though. The other side I have liked there was the dirty rice, which did taste of chicken livers.
Perhaps as with most home-style cooks, the dishes vary from day to day. Their hours are inconvenient for me, but I should try to get there more often.
cashier very gracious. willing to let new patrons sample the dishes.
sampled curry chicken: bland, curry tasteless, skipped.
settled on bourbon st. beans with sausage. (8)
-good amount of heat but not burning. no (immediate) gas from beans
-came over white rice (sogginess a turn off)
menu divided between 5 meats & 4 or 5 veggie options.
eating here is similar to throwing a hail mary pass. but at least one can sample before buying-a definite plus.
I ate there a few times while they were doing a pop-up a few blocks from our house in San Francisco. The experiences I've read here sound exactly like mine from a couple years ago--super nice people, bland (and sometimes poorly prepared) food.
I liked the kind people so much I kept thinking the poor quality of the food (soggy rice, tasteless vegetarian dishes) was an aberration and returning for another go, but after 3 or so visits, I gave up.
We wanted to like this. Cashier was super gracious and welcoming. She could train a lot of other folks in customer service.
I want a bunch of folks who make Creole and Cajun food to go work with these folks. The elements are there - nice front of house, very cute spot, great sauces, laid back vibe, lots of vegetarian/vegan options, but one thing just wasn't hitting for us - the food. I'm just not sure I have the same view point about the desired consistency of any of the roux-based dishes we had. Where I expected buttery, spicy gravy, most were more pasty and lighter in color, heavier in texture than I would expect. It seemed on most that the roux needed more time in the pan. I would also have liked more flavor built into the proteins and a touch of heat. Their sauces, especially a yummy garlic sauce, make up for it, but you honestly shouldn't need as much as we used. Bourbon Red Beans were the most successful dish. The beans were cooked well and the links added some much needed flavor. Chicken Creole was pasty and the roux tasted of flour. Confusing and not reminiscent of chicken creole I have had before. Drunken Crawfish and Shrimp dish needed about 10 more minutes on the roux to be to my taste.
In their defense, their website says "It's Cajun and Creole. Kind of."
Reports on this place are mixed, but some folks are VERY into it. I'm going to chalk our meal up to a weird/rough night and consider heading back over at some point. I grew up close to Louisiana with a whole lot of flavor and technique in the creole cajun cooking we ate and made. It may be that my expectations that it taste like home are high.
This is funny to me, Creole/Cajun food. That's like American/Mexican food. You do one or the other. Maybe that's why some people have mentioned roux malfunctions. They're two opposite ends of the spectrum. Wish them luck, they sound like good people.
We were going to order food to eat at Hoi Polloi, but it looked more comfortable to eat in the restaurant.
To me, this is hippie food. Reminded me of India Joze. Menu has ten soupy stew-type dishes $8-10, half with seafood / chicken / meat, half vegan, served over white or brown ($1 exta) rice. I think it's all gluten-free? You can get half and half of any two dishes for $10. Lots of bottles of house-made hot and other sauces to choose from.
My fist thought to get the Italiano was a good hunch, that was a tasty mix of sausage, mushrooms, tomato, etc. similar to many things I've made for dinner at home except I'd have used more vegetables. The Drunken Étouffée with shrimp and chicken was underseasoned, when I added salt it was still kind of bland, as were the other two dishes I tasted. Cornbread would have been better if they'd cooked it until it was starting to brown.
It's a very pleasant and friendly place. I can see why some people love it. If you're going to judge it by the name and compare it with real creole or cajun food, don't go.