The night before, Half Hopi was telling me about this place in New Jersey that, in her opinion, served up the best shrimp and grits. Big words (note to self: must try when I am in New Jersey). Next thing you know we both have a strong craving for the dish and we decided that for brunch, we would head over to Atchafalaya in the Garden District of NO. Reviews of Atchafalaya indicate that the shrimp and grits are amaze-balls.
The restaurant is cute and there is live music during brunch on weekends. It was really adorable. THey also have a “make your own” Bloody Mary bar!!! With all the fixings!!! BUT, as luck would have it, no shrimp and grits on the menu 😦
So Half Hopi, Spiderman and I all decided to get the next best thing and tried another New Orlean’s favorite, the gumbo.
They pour the gumbo tableside but I was very disappointed in the incredibly small amount of rice given. It was probably a spoonful, if that much. Perhaps it’s not supposed to be eaten with a ton of rice but I like it over rice – I feel it makes the dish heartier. Without the rice, I felt like I was dining on a thick soup. The gumbo was ok. Traditionally prepared, it had shredded chicken, celery, andouille sausage, okra, Cajun seasonings….but Half Hopi and I were underwhelmed. Maybe we aren’t gumbo people because Spiderman enjoyed his.
Cookie Monster (always the different one in the group) got the Louisiana crab omelet with creamed cheese and spinach served with a side of potatoes:
He was trying to eat “light” and was surprised by this. It was not light at all but SOOOO DELICIOUS! The eggs were so light, impossibly butter and fluffy. The crab had clearly been sauteed in more butter. The creamed spinach added another rich velvety element to each bite. I have to admit, when I had moved on from my gumbo, I ate half his omelet. This was so good. Crab and eggs go very well together.
For the table we tried the alligator sausage:
It was our first time trying alligator (Cookie Monster abstained however) and yes, it does taste like chicken. lol. The sausage was well flavored and tasty. I would eat alligator again.
The fried green tomatoes (another Atchafalaya “must have”) with chunk crab meat:
Very good. The unripened green tomatoes had a nice tang to it and were thick cut to hold up against the breading and frying. There was a nice cajun mayonnaise drizzled over the top and more of that luscious crabmeat.
So we didn’t get our shrimp and grits and honestly we were pretty bummed. But for me, the crab omelet and fried green tomatoes made up for the disappointment. It didn’t take the craving away but I didn’t walk away unhappy either.
Afterwards we took a stroll around the Garden District and walked off some of that lunch (quite necessary).
Atchafalaya, 901 Louisiana Avenue, New Orleans, LA