Name of Restaurant: Coop’s Place
Location: 1109 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116
Cuisine: Authentic Creole and Cajun Cuisines
Time: 8:30 pm
What we ordered:
1. Jambalaya Supreme (for me)
2. Fried shrimp (for Rohit)
3. Pasta (for Chandrahas)
4. Two seafood Gumbos (one for Dennis, another for Xu Yan)
5. Some stuff the three other (German) guys ordered
6. Local brews for those who ordered beers: ambers and pale ales
7. Sodas for the rest
$140 (for 9 people, 20% gratuity inclusive)
1. Ambience: 7.5/10
2. Service: 8/10
3. Food: 10/10
1. Here’s a bit from an earlier blogpost, about Creole and Cajun cuisines:
Widely, there are two types of cuisine in LA: Creole and Cajun. Creole is the French part. Cajun is the more British part. New Orleans is clearly divided into a British half and a French half along Canal Street. Alright, they’re all American now. But that’s how it was many many many years ago.
2. The restaurant was dimly lit. It had pretty hand-painted slogans put up here and there. It had this warmth. This coziness. And I’d have given it a 9 or a 10. Only, it had this lingering odour of rotten vegetables. I don’t know if it was just me who thought that way, but I know I could smell it. That was quite a turn off. The smell obviously died down once I got used to the place and after the amazing food arrived, but I’d give a low score, for just that.
3. The waitress was this super skinny, fairly old, broad jawed, extra-jumpy lady who seemed really nice. That said, she brought in the food quick and was also courteous to check in on our party of 9 every once in a while.
4. I don’t know how good or bad the other peoples’ food was. Mine was fantastic. I’ve never eaten jamabalaya before. Nor have I tasted rabbit meat. For that matter, I haven’t eaten crawfish either. And I awaited all three. Jambalaya is basically sauteed onions, celery, garlic and tomatoes, minced to a fine paste and cooked with rice and vegetable/chicken stock. The rice is traditionally served with sausage and seafood. The recipe calls for the rice to be simmered in the broth until it is sticky, and I think that’s what I enjoyed most about it – the stickiness. The Jamabalaya Supreme I ordered was served with a variety of meat: shrimp, crawfish (an LA speciality – these really tiny shrimp-like orange fish that are almost crunchy yet uniquely delicious), sausage, shredded chicken and rabbit meat (Yes, rabbit meat. I’m a sucker for random-meat-tasting, TLC from a previous blogpost, anyone? The rabbit meat was really yum. It’s a dark pinkish colour. And full of flavour.)
5. The pale ale I ordered to go with the food was from a local brewery, Abita. The beer was good.
6. G ordered fried shrimp. I think that’s his idea of being creative when it comes to ordering food. Or then he really likes it. I remember this one time I was with him and Menon at Raleigh Times and he ordered a fried shrimp burger. Yes, I’m full of myself and my usually good (read: supreme) ability to pick awesome stuff off the menu. He got his food with fries and coleslaw.
7. Z is vegetarian. How bad can veggie pasta get? 🙂
8. A German dude, Dennis, to my left and a Chinese girl (who happens to be at NYU too!), Xu Yan to G’s right ordered the Seafood Gumbo. That was first served with a thick broth in a cup. I could see green chillies and mushroom and some meat, some rice and some other greens in it. It looked pretty good. That was followed by a mish-mash plate: mixed veggies, grilled meats and some jamabalaya. If I’m at Coops’ again someday, I’ll give this a try.
9. Regrets: I didn’t eat any alligator meat on my holiday. I’ve tasted alligator meat before though. At the NC State Fair. I had Cajun Fried Gator on a stick. It was mildly spiced, chicken-like meat. I thought I had been conned into eating chewy chicken, really. But several conversations with several different people have led me to believe that it was indeed alligator meat I ate.