Posted by Cajun Ken
Date: Saturday, November 15, 2014
In: FAMILY, Food and Drink, Headliners, NEWS, Secrets of Times Square
Fried Green Tomatoes
New York City is known for a lot of things, but one thing it’s not known for is good Cajun and southern food. Well, pigs are flying and the cows have come home because there’s a little Cajun joint that’s doing it right. New Orleans native, Executive Chef, Bobby Bouyer now heads up the Delta kitchen and pays close attention to the quality and flavor in his kitchen.
Chef Ken, Suzanna and Chef Bobby Bouyer
I arrive unannounced with Times Square Chronicles owner, Suzanna Bowling. We sat down and I instantly felt a little at home with the friendly wait staff that are very attentive. I start with a Louisiana original beer from the small town we call Abita Springs. Abita’s Purple Haze is one of my favorites and is made from the local water source there. Suzanna enjoys her iced tea and sips it like a Southern Belle, riding on the Natchez rolling down the Mississippi. All she needed was a big hat with a bow.
We start with a southern favorite, Fried Dill Pickles with an Abita beer batter and served with a house romulaud dipping sauce ($8). They were light and crisp with the perfect level of dill. A great starter snack. Continuing along with the southern tradition we order the fried green tomatoes ($12). Huge green monster beefsteak tomatoes, smothered in a diced chicken and shitake mushroom, black pepper cream sauce. Now this is southern and it was truly delicious.
On to the entrees, the Acadian Duck ($15) with a smoked spice sauce. Most all great Cajun dishes start with a roux which is only white flour and oil. This duck dynasty dish starts with a roux made from duck fat instead of oil. Chef Bobby says this is one of Chef Paul Prudhomme’s recipes and I have to say its got Creole Chef Paul all over it. This is a four-star dish hands down. Warm, savory with a hint of smoke. Good for sharing.
Catfish done Cajun style
When I see the Catfish Lafitte ($22) I had to try it. I spent a lot of summers on my grandfather’s catfish farm in Mississippi. I had mine blackened and served with Cajun succotash, Andouille sausage and crawfish in a light cream sauce wine reduction. Light and airy with the right amount of char. Suzanna only eats salmon and was reluctant to swim in new waters but she says now she’s a big fan of the ole catfish.
Jambalaya and Gumbo
You can’t go Cajun without having Jambalaya and gumbo so when I put a Cajun restaurant to the test, I pay special attention to these two dishes. My rule of thumb is if you can’t make a good gumbo then you can’t cook Cajun. The Jambalaya ($19) which is similar to Spanish Paella, served over rice comes out fresh and piping hot. With chicken and sausage glistening. It’s full of flavor and the sausage just takes it over the top, with large portions so you may want to ask for a takeout bowl. This is the perfect fall cuisine with its hearty warmness and fall colors. This is also a great starter dish for you home cooks that want to dabble in Cajun cooking. I love me some gumbo and claim to be New York’s Cajun Ambassador, so gumbo is one dish I know. Chef Bobby brings out his house special seafood gumbo made with Louisiana and Mississippi gulf coast shrimp, blue crabs and crawfish tails. I put my nose down to the bowl because I like to smell the dark roux and other ingredients first. I take my first bite and I know this gumbo is no joke. One bite is all I need. This is true Cajun.
Chicken Fried Steak
Suzanna is enjoying her favorite dish in the world, Delta’s chicken fried steak ($19). If anyone knows chicken fried steak it’s Suzanna. She claims to have tasted it across America including all points north of the Mason Dixon line.
As her breaded cutlet of tenderized steak comes out, I smell the tempting fresh gravy as it passes by. This is the moment of truth and if it passes her muster then we’re home free. She takes a couple of bites and says “Oh my god! This is the best I have ever had. Melts in your mouth. Tender, not chewy. This is the reason to come to Delta”! It’s served with a side of cheddar and jalapeno mashed potatoes that are fresh and makes for a fantastic combination.
And for the final tasting, the dessert, which is banana bread pudding, topped with roasted candied southern pecans with white chocolate amaretto sauce. I don’t eat a lot of desserts and I really liked this one. Well recommended.
To wash it all down we have a round of Hurricanes and since it was happy hour (4-8pm) they are only $4.00 each.
We started talking Thanksgiving. They are open serving Turducken’s. Turducken’s are big down south and Chef Bobby will have a limited supply this year and is stuffing them with duck, quail and chicken ($190 feeds about 20 people). I have already placed my order.
For a taste of New Orleans, skip the stale donuts on the corner and ask for the Cafe Démodé style house Beignets and chicory coffee. This little treat transports you straight to the French Quarter.
Delta grill is the closest you’re going to get to the Big Easy without hopping the next flight out to the mighty Mississippi itself. The Delta Grill is true Cajun Creole and some of the best I have ever had. Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!
Delta Grill: 700 9th Ave off 48th St.
Cajun Ken is the host of Cajun in the City TV cooking show. For more information or have your restaurant reviewed email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making Room for Southern Cuisine
By JOANNE STARKEY
Published: February 1, 2013
The New York Times: Long Island Dining: Mineola
Biscuits and Barbeque opened in Mineola last March in a 1940s railway-car diner. When Joan Gallo, who has lived in Mineola for 17 years, noticed that the space was available, she decided it would be perfect for her style of hearty, down-home Southern food. She and her business partner, Thomas Sullivan, also own the 15-year-old Delta Grill in Manhattan; Bobby Bouyer is their chef in Mineola.
Biscuits and Barbeque is a small spot with six booths, one small table and 15 counter stools. There are no reservations, and a waitress told us that the place filled up by 5:30 p.m. on weekends. Take heed.
Our favorite opener was chunks of juicy alligator sausage atop a tangy creole mustard sauce. A close second was the basket of light, airy hush puppies with honey mustard on the side for dipping.
In contrast, the biscuits were nothing special — they were high and handsome but heavy. The à la carte biscuit ($2) is served with raspberry butter and honey butter. We also tried a biscuit covered with a tasty andouille sausage gravy, but that one, alas, was burned on the bottom.
Better starters were the crunchy nuggets of fried okra served with the creole mustard sauce, fried green tomatoes with rémoulade sauce for dipping, and a spirited seafood gumbo crowned with chopped fresh scallions. The gumbo arrived with a moist corn muffin on the side.
The smoked barbecue ribs, prepared with only a dry rub, were meaty and so tender they were falling off the bone. There are four barbecue sauces on the table, ranging from a tangy-sweet dark molasses sauce to a spicy chipotle.
Two chicken entrees also more than made the grade. The smoked half chicken was moist and tender, while the Southern fried chicken had a crunchy crust and juicy meat. If you like chicken fried steak, you will enjoy the version here with onion gravy; if you think the dish is an abomination, this one will not change your mind.
All entrees come with a choice of two sides. The best was the barbecue baked beans with smoked brisket. I could make a meal of them. The tasty collard greens flavored with smoked turkey were good, too, and so were the red beans and rice with andouille sausage.
I like onion rings that are thin and wispy, and the ones here are thick and puffy. Still, they were crunchy and crisp, a good version of this type. Southern grits failed to please the Southerner at our table — they were stiff and not creamy enough.
There are four po’boys and a muffuletta sandwich on the menu. (The muffuletta is a New Orleans specialty made from a round Italian loaf stuffed with ham, mortadella, salami, provolone and an olive-vegetable relish. It is offered in half or whole sizes at dinner. There is also a quarter-size at lunch.)
The barbecue pulled pork po’boy was a tasty winner. The deep-fried shrimp version needed the accompanying rémoulade sauce to enliven it. French fries, which can be added to the plate for $2, were hot, crisp and satisfying.
The homemade desserts are the highlight of the meal. Our favorite was the warm peach cobbler with a tender buttery crust, served à la mode. Running a close second was the tangy Key lime pie, one of the best I have tasted. We also liked the Mississippi mud cake (an individual Bundt cake) with runny chocolate in the center and ice cream on top, and the classic banana pudding garnished with banana slices, vanilla wafers and whipped cream.
Biscuits and Barbeque is a welcome addition to the Long Island dining scene. Everything on the menu, except the full rack of ribs ($23.95), is $16.95 or under. And while the restaurant awaits a license to serve wine and beer, diners may bring their own, making a meal here an even bigger bargain.
Biscuits and Barbeque
106 East Second Street
THE SPACE A 1947 railroad car that usually can seat 39. Not wheelchair accessible.
THE CROWD Mainly couples and families with children. (The children’s menu lists three entrees with fries or vegetables of the day for $5 each.) The hard-working staff is casual, friendly and accommodating.
THE BAR There is no bar. Diners may bring their own wine and beer while the restaurant awaits a license to serve them.
THE BILL Lunch entrees, $6.95 to $11.95; dinner entrees (served all day), $7.95 to $23.95 (for a full rack of ribs). Prices are extremely reasonable. No credit cards are accepted; cash only.
WHAT WE LIKED Alligator sausage, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, hush puppies, seafood gumbo, barbecue ribs, smoked half chicken, Southern fried chicken, pulled pork po’boy, collard greens, red beans and rice, barbecue baked beans with smoked brisket, fried onion rings, peach cobbler, banana pudding, Key lime pie, Mississippi mud cake.
IF YOU GO Open Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sundays. No reservations. Go early on the weekend to avoid a wait. There is a small parking lot.
RATINGS Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
A version of this review appears in print on February 3, 2013, on page LI8 of the New York edition with the headline: Making Room for Southern Cuisine.