New Orleans Dining 03: LA Bayou

Last night I got to the French Quarter a little early. I was there by 9:40. Most nights, after about 10:00 PM there are few restaurants open. By that point, the tenor of the party has changed and Bourbon ST is buried under the strains of live music -- everything from Blues and Country to Twisted Sister covers -- and "representatives" from the dozens of strip clubs Gentlemen's Lounges trying to entice all visitor to surrender all those stray Washingtons, Anthonys and Sacajaweas.

But as I said, I was there a little early last night and made it to La Bayou before the closed for the night. It seemed lively, but not obnoxiously so. There was no band. And, though I arrived just about 20-30 minutes before closing time, they still made me feel welcome.

I sat at the bar next an ice encased Vodka Tap. I'm not sure why you need a tap for vodka. It's not Guinness. In fact, it's about as far opposite from Guinness as you can get and still be called alcohol.

I had a cup of gumbo and a craw fish pasta.

The Gumbo was excellent. It was almost as good as the gumbo I had at Remoulade. But not quite. I still should have just ordered giant bowls of it and called it good. I have now concluded that I have not had enough gumbo in my life. The rich smoky taste is a flavor I will forever associate with New Orleans.

Next I had the craw fish pasta. It was pasta with deep fries craw fish meat in a Creole cream sauce. It was also quite satisfying, but didn't quite blow me away. And I don't thing I could tell the difference between deep fried craw fish and popcorn shrimp.

Actually, I'm not sure I could tell the difference between uncooked craw fish and uncooked shrimp. I'm pretty sure they're the same animal and Emerill had been lying to us all these years. The french bread they served with pasta was warm, fresh, and the butter just oozed down my arm.

I had an Abita with dinner and spent less than $30 total. Casual, simple, fast, and open. It's a tough combination to beat.

Next up --


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