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[Austin] Cajun and creole restaurants


Kent Wang
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Quality Seafood is not strictly cajun as it has a lot of Southern dishes but I have never had a better gumbo or etoufee. As I wrote in that thread:

The seafood gumbo is chock full of fish, scallops and shrimp; it easily has twice as much meat as any other gumbo I've ever had. The soup itself is also very thick and can be had without any rice, though rice is offered on the side. Though I haven't had gumbo in New Orleans, I'd have to say that this is the best gumbo I've ever had. The crawfish etoufee is my second favorite and similarly chock full of crawfish tails. My guess is that they're able to offer a pint of so much seafood for only $5.90 because they are wholesalers and can get even cheaper prices than other restaurants.

I just went to Sambet's on Saturday after reading a positive review. I was disappointed that all they had were sandwiches, po boys and soups. It was also quite pricey, $9 for a muffaletta sandwich with a side of gumbo, and this is hardly a fancy place. The gumbo is darker than Quality Seafood's but is nevertheless not nearly as good. I'm just not into sandwiches that much.

I have heard a lot of good things about Gene's but have yet to go.

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My daughter and I had lunch recently at Ms. B's on E. 11th, which was highly recommended. I thought it overpriced. The gumbo was very dark with good flavor, but seemed watered down, no thickness to it at all. Would have also preferred a crispy baguette to the jalapeno cornbread bread basket served. Fried shrimp were very large but disappointing, overdone and we were not crazy about the batter. Maybe the other location is better?

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I've had mixed experiences with the etouffee at Ruby's BBQ on 29th and Guadalupe - first time I tried it I thought it was great, very rich (buttery?), lots of crawfish meat. Last time I was disappointed though - it had a darker, less delicate flavor and was somewhat greasy. Haven't tried their gumbo yet.

I like the etouffee at Quality Seafood, though I think the flavor is a little "tomato soup-y" for my taste.

I don't know if the food is any good at the Old Alligator Grill on South Lamar, but I heard the restaurant scenes from "Office Space" were filmed there....

Anyone been to Jazz on 6th St, or Evangeline Cafe on Brodie Lane? I've heard mixed opinions of both...

Edited by walternewton (log)
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I don't know if the food is any good at the Old Alligator Grill on South Lamar, but I heard the restaurant scenes from "Office Space" were filmed there....

The Old Alligator Grill indeed served as the interior to Chachi's in the movie "Office Space." The food however, could best be described as mediocre.

I have heard good things about Gene's Poor Boys, but haven't been. I am kind of nervous because I find it impossible to obtain a real New Orleans style poor boy in this town, and Gene's has been talked up so much I'm now kind of afraid to go and be disappointed. Can anyone here weigh in?

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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I haven't been to Gene's yet, have heard it's pretty good though.  Another place on the East Side on my list to check out is Nubian Queen Lola's Cajun Kitchen.

I've driven by the place a few times, and I always want to stop just by virtue of the name alone!

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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  • 7 months later...
Re: Gene's see EVENT: Lunch at Gene's New Orleans Deli.

Despite its name, Lola's is really a Southern cuisine restaurant with the only cajun items being the gumbo and etoufee. I put a little write-up about it in the Southern cuisine thread.

I think you misspelled the name of the restaurant. If you look at the picture you have, the correct name is Nubian Queen Lo La's. Small point, but necessary.

edited to ask, next time you in, ask them if they are related to the old Lola's restaurant that was on Esplanade next to Ferrera's market across from the old Whole Foods and close to the racetrack in New Orleans. I liked that place.

Edited by joiei (log)

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I noticed the discrepancy too but that seems to be the only place that spells it as two separate words. The Austin Chronicle review, Yellow Pages listing all say 'Lola'.

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  • 1 month later...

I went back to Gene's today.

They have chicken & dumplings on Wednesday. The broth is extremely thick, with lots of flour, about as thick as a New England clam chowder. The chicken is pretty tender, but it's in one big piece that you have to break up yourself. It is only one breast. Serving size is huge, enough for a meal onto itself plus it comes with cornbread and a side of green beans. Broth had good chicken flavor, but most likely comes from a can of chicken broth. Seasoning has lots of black pepper and a bit of other spices but the very small and evenly sized pieces of spices in the broth strongly suggests a commercially made spice blend. Dumplings are nice, but not too fluffy. No vegetables or anything other than chicken and dumplings. Price is also expensive at about $8, but this is reasonable considering the portion.

Also had the fried shrimp and catfish plate. Shrimp and catfish were of not too fresh, probably frozen, commercial quality. Frying is nice with a thin, unseasoned, golden batter. This is in contrast to Lola's which is even thinner but highly seasoned. I think Quality Seafood will do a better job with fresher ingredients and Lola's would do it with better seasoning. I had green beans (typical canned, no flavor) and potato salad (boring, too mushy).

Overall, I think Gene's is pretty good but has no advantage to Quality Seafood and Lola's with the dishes they all serve. It is also not particularly more cajun than those other two restaurants with a lot of just plain Southern cuisine. The only exceptions are the jambalaya and New Orleans barbecue, which I plan to try next time.

Edited by Kent Wang (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Now that I've moved to the East Side, I've been hitting up a lot of the area restaurants. I tried to go to Lola's but the place was closed (despite the open sign being on). So, I settled for Gene's.

Fried shrimp and oyster plate with red beans and cornbread is $11.95. That's what I would expect to pay downtown but this is the East Side! Ingredients were standard Sysco fare, cooking is average.

Peach cobbler was overly sweet with cardboard like crust.

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Hey, Kent! It sounds like you don't live too far from me. I assume you've been to Joe's Bakery and the Taqueria Arandas on 7th and Robert T. Martinez. Good stuff! Also, you should try Mr. Catfish out on Springdale. (I don't care for their sides, but their fish rulez.) Also, I hear there's a Peruvian restaurant on E 7th between Pleasant Valley and 183. A good lunch place is Bossa Nova on 6th and Robert T. Martinez. And Rio Rita is now serving cocktails!

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There's an interesting creole/cajun place on the southwest side of town, on Brodie Lane, in a strip center about halfway between Wm Cannon and Slaughter, called Evangline Cafe.

Typical po-boy and fried seafood menu, and have had soft-shell crab for the past couple of months. The gumbo is good, and they do a more than passable job on the 'classic' dishes.

I was there a few nights ago and tried their catfish macque choux, and found it borderline amazing -- very nicely surprised.

They have nightly live zydeco and other regional music to add a bit more flavor. It's a small place, about 15 tables, but atmosphere and food comparable to any roadside cafe you're likely to find driving down highway 90 west of New Orleans.

I've never had a wait there, a hidden gem not far from Circle-C.

Recommended.

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I went to Evangeline about a year ago. I think the gumbo is a little thin and stingy on the meat. I still think Quality Seafood has the absolute best gumbo in town. Overall, Evangeline is pretty good and may even be one of the best restaurants in the neighborhood.

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  • 1 month later...

With Reggie's and Lola's closed that day (their hours are rather unpredictable), I resorted to Gene's again. Fried three-seafood (shrimp, oyster, catfish) plate was $15. Quality was OK, but I could have gotten better by spending that $15 at El Chile. These prices are unreasonable and I don't like supporting them by giving them my money.

Their seafood gumbo is one of the worst I've had. No vegetables. Yes, no trinity or okra and stingy amounts of shrimp and sausage. The Quality Seafood gumbo has more shrimp (and more tender, too) -- plus four other kinds of seafood! But a gumbo without the trinity is not a gumbo, and a supposed New Orleans-style restaurant cannot call itself that with such a gumbo.

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  • 3 weeks later...

gallery_36558_3077_16504.jpg

Although Lola's is mostly a Southern cuisine restaurant, she does offer gumbo and crawfish etouffee. The gumbo is rather thin and mediocre, but the crawfish etouffee is very good, with a healthy amount of vegetables and crawfish, on the spicier side.

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