Real Gulf Coast Cuisine
40-12 Bell Blvd., Bayside
Hours: Lunch: noon to 4 p.m., daily | Dinner: 4-11 p.m. Sun.-Thurs.; 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and Sat.
New Orleans is 1,316 miles from Queens. That’s a far ride just to get authentic Cajun food.
Luckily, there’s a taste (every pun intended) of good Gulf Coast cuisine right in our own backyard.
Located on Bell Boulevard at 40th Avenue, just steps from the Bayside LIRR Station, Bourbon Street, named for The Big Easy’s popular downtown thoroughfare, is like stepping into a N’awlins eatery without having to deal with security lines at the airport. Maybe it was the summery weather, akin to the hot humid Louisiana days, that made it feel more like the real Bourbon Street than Bell Boulevard, or maybe it was the French-style sconces and iron gates separating the dining rooms. Probably though, it was the food; some spicy, some sweet, but all of it satisfying. Mardi Gras may have been three months ago, but after lunch at Bourbon Street, we’re well prepared for the Lenten feast.
Our trip to the Big Easy began with a bowl of Gumbo Ya Ya, a soup that has been native to Louisiana since the 18th Century. This Cajun staple was complete with chicken and Andouille sausage and packed plenty of heat. Luckily there was a side of rice to cool our mouths down.
Soon after, our entrees arrived. An entire rack of Joey’s Famous Baby Back Ribs steamed on the table. As if that was not enough, the plate was packed with sweet potato fries, an ear of corn and candy-like cornbread. After one bite, I knew why Joey was famous for his ribs. The tender BBQ fell off the bone instantly and nearly dissolved in my mouth, rivaling any BBQ north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
The Pasta Jambalaya was an excellent mix of Cajun and Italian cuisine. A dish of fettuccine smothered in a creamy sauce and garnished with crawfish, chicken and Andouille sausage. The dish comes with slices of tasty garlic bread that soaks up the pasta’s spicy sauce nicely and adds a delicious, yet sometimes messy, segment of lunch.
After two courses, we couldn’t bear to eat another bite. For those of you who cannot tackle Bourbon Street’s generous portions, their leftovers taste just as delicious the next day. There was not any room for dessert, but we’ll be sure to take a second trip to try Bourbon Street’s homemade Southern Style Walnut Pie.
Instead of taking your chances with hurricane season in N’awlins, just take a trip down Bell Boulevard to Bourbon Street. You won’t be sorry.
-Veronica Lewin and Domenick Rafter