We’ve become expert at extracting food and drink motifs from various cultural, commemorative, and/or religious holidays, turning Mexican for the margaritas during Cinco de Mayo, embracing our inner German in the name of beer and puffy pretzels for Oktoberfest, and participating in all the bead throwing, Sazerac-slurping debauchery of Mardi Gras without any intention of eventually giving something up for Lent.
And considering Brooklyn boasts an impressive number of both Creole (posh city food) and Cajun (low country food)-serving restaurants, it’s especially easy to adopt New Orleans’ most notorious celebration, so laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll) with boudin balls at Tchoup Shop, jambalaya at Catfish, and crab-flecked dirty rice at French Louie!
French Louie: While New Orleans has become indelibly intertwined with Mardi Gras, the annual festival is equally important in French-settled enclaves throughout the world, from Rio de Janeiro to Trinidad and Tobago to Quebec. So instead of getting bogged down by Big Easy-specific cuisine, explore the gamut of Acadian influence at French Louie, which draws culinary inspiration from Paris, Canada, and even the Adirondacks.
320 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill
Orleans: N’awlins has bragging rights to two of the world’s greatest sandwiches; the muffuletta (a massive, crusty sphere of bread piled high with meats, cheeses and briny olive salad) and the torpedo-shaped, overstuffed po’boy. And Orleans, a no-frills, year-old Bushwick food truck, concentrates deliciously on the latter, padding their lettuce, tomato and pickle-lined loaves with roast beef, catfish, oysters, shrimp and (perhaps most authentically and delectably of all) wads of fat, crispy, and gravy-gobbed french fries.
603 Hart Street, Bushwick
The Heyward: Recently opened in the Zebulon space, this Williamsburg newcomer serves refined iterations of low country favorites, such as She-Crab Soup with peekytoe and crispy leeks, Shrimp and Grits flavored with spicy chorizo and smoky shishito peppers, and Hoppin’ John made with Carolina gold rice and red peas, studded with hunks of pork cheek.
258 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg
Tchoup Shop: One of Brooklyn’s longest running, best-loved pop-ups, Tchoup Shop (named for Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans) is the brainchild of Simon Glenn, who worked in NOLA restaurants for over 10 years. And he brings a fun, contemporary aesthetic to a variety of Cajun classics, including Red Curry Meatball Po’boys with chili-crawfish mayo, Crispy Chicken Biscuits with cilantro and sea salt, and his infamous Brisket-Duck Liver Boudin Balls, smeared with fiery Creole mustard and paired with pickles.
50 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick
La Caye: Unfamiliar with Haitian fare? Inspired by the French, African and Spanish natives populating the island of Hispaniola, it’s essentially Creole (or Kreyol) cuisine. So in addition to national dishes such as Joumou (squash soup), Akra (fried yautia root), Pain Patate (sweet potato bread) and Lambi Boucane (grilled conch with mango), you’ll also find etouffee made with chayote, shrimp over polenta with cream-champagne sauce, and Creole-sauced chicken, seafood, or broiled red snapper.
35 Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene
Catfish: At least something good came from the shitshow that was reBar; three former bartenders teamed up to open this ragin’ Cajun Crown Heights café. Chow down on Jambalaya, File Gumbo, Chicken Fried Steak or Crawfish Etouffee, accompanied by absinthe-rinsed Sazeracs, boozy Vieux Carres, and slices of Chocolate Doberge Cake.
1433 Bedford Avenue, Crown Heights
Maison Premiere: As evidenced by the marble water dispenser placed front and center on the bar—the world’s most accurate working replica of the fountain from the Olde Absinthe House of New Orleans—Maison Premiere has all of the seriously sultry, oyster slurping, Green Fairy-sipping sensibilities of the French Quarter. And it’s echoed throughout their drinks list, with the Creole Cocktail, made with whiskey, benedictine and bitters, Arnaud’s French 75 with cognac, sugar and champagne, and the Improved Hurricane, a blend of rum, lemon and passion fruit.
298 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg