A Cajun 3-Way in Hermosa - New Orleans
Just a block down from Ragin Cajun, New Orleans occupies a space that used to be a 50s cafe, and you can still see traces of that design. The interior is a long diner counter, with tables lining the wall. The restaurant is extremely dark inside, so it is a little unwelcoming at first. I have been there a few times, but never managed to actually sit down and eat before. My dining companions usually take one look at the menu, and they are out of there. It is sticker shock, pure and simple. A bowl of gumbo costs 25 dollars. As my nephew observed, "What kind of po' boy can afford to pay 17 dollars for a sandwich?" The last time I tried to eat there, I was dragged out so quickly that my mother left behind an ornament she had purchased at the local fair.
This time, my mom and I went back with a mission, ready to pay any price. In a fancy French restaurant, no one would even blink at 25 dollars for an entree. That's the going rate for cioppino, and it was a seafood gumbo after all. We sat by the front window, and a young man took our drink order. My mom asked about the abandoned ornament, and he rushed right back with it. They had kept it safe for her all that time. While we waited for our food, an older gentleman with a formal, vaguely British accent engaged us in conversation. He is from Jamaica, and he owns the restaurant with his wife, Casandra, who is a native New Orleanian. I told him, "I can't wait to try your gumbo. We've heard such great things about it." He looked me in the eye and said, "It is your opinion that matters to me." Swoon.