Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Jacques-Imo's Café in New Orleans, LA

After a day of wandering and riding streetcars around New Orleans with no real destination in mind, it was decided it was dinner time. A random streetcar stop was chosen which appeared to have some nearby restaurants, and we started exploring. A Lebanese or sushi restaurant were the winning choices for the area until Jacques-Imo's was spotted. I had overheard people on the streetcar talking about the restaurant, so we decided to check it out. The sign out front advertises Warm Beer, Lousy Food, and Poor Service. It sounded like a gimmicky way to get people to pay for the experience of a bad restaurant. We were there and overheard people taking about the restaurant, so why not? Turned out that Jacques-Imo's was not any of those things and ended up being my favorite dining experience in New Orleans.
Jacques-Imo's appeared to be a somewhat typical looking bar when entering the restaurant. That's until they take you to their table through their show kitchen to the multi-level dining room in the back. Once seated and we took a look at the menu, Jacques-Imo's was much more of a gourmet fine dining establishment than I was expecting. The meal started with garlic cornbread. I've had cornbread and I've had garlic bread, but I have never had the two combined. It was delicious.
Under the appetizers, there were two items that have been on my food bucketlist for a while. I was debating which one to get, but we ended up trying them both. The first was Boudin Balls. These were stuffed with jalapenos and pepper jack cheese, served with Creole mustard sauce for dipping. I was told before going on my trip that I had to try Boudin Balls. These deep fried balls of mystery sausage meat were somewhat reminiscent of a jalapeno popper, only way better!
The other appetizer which I had to try was the Fried Rabbit Tenderloin. As someone who had a pet rabbit for years, I always wondered what rabbit meat tasted like. Until Jacques-Imo's, the opportunity didn't easily present itself to find this out. The meat had somewhat of a creamy quality which was very nice. I'm not sure of this is a characteristic of rabbit meat itself, or if perhaps the creaminess was infused into the meat from being fried. Either way, I can now say I've eaten rabbit and it was very tasty.
A spinach salad came next. It was topped with a fried oyster, which was unexpected.
I had the Stuffed Catfish for my entree. To blackened filets of catfish were served over a mound of crabmeat stuffing. This was topped with hollandaise sauce and scallions. This dish was bursting with flavor. The seasoning on the catfish was somewhat spicy, countered with the creamy hollandaise. The crab stuffing was also very nice!
The catfish was served with two sides. I chose the Red Beans & Rice and Corn Macque Chow. The red beans and rice was good, but nothing new to me. I had never heard of corn macque chow though. It's apparently a sort of stew made from corn and other vegetables. I enjoyed the dish!
Jacques-Imo's Cafe wasn't on my list of restaurants to check out in New Orleans. My visit to the restaurant was completely random, but I'm glad I ended up there. Jacques-Imo's Cafe turned out to be my favorite food experience while in New Orleans!

Jacques-Imo's Café on Urbanspoon

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