The French Quarter Awaits 4

Creole Cajun Bistro Delivers Fresh, Authentic Ingredients

 

For those of us not getting away to escape the summer heat, there are many fun things to do right here in town. For starters, why not consider taking a trip to New Orleans by way of Chandler? At the corner of Gilbert Road and Chandler Heights you are in for a culinary experience that will make you feel as if you left Chandler and visited The French Quarter…. even if it’s only for a meal.

I’d like to introduce you to a new restaurant in town – Creole Cajun Bistro and the cooking charms of owner, Chef Eric Rachal. He and his wife, Jodie, opened the restaurant this past Valentine’s Day and it already has people traveling across the Valley to enjoy Chef Eric’s authentic Creole and Cajun cooking.

Chef Eric’s ancestors can be traced back to the 1700s, when many French Canadians relocated to Louisiana. He is blessed to be born into family of both heritages – Creole on his mother’s side and Cajun on his father’s side. Cooking all his life, thanks to Grandma Marcell F. Jacques who taught him how to cook when he was a child, Chef Eric has perfected both styles of cooking.

CULINARY HISTORY

Creole style of cooking originated from city restaurants and Cajun style of cooking originated from the country where folks hunted in the bayous and marshes. In Creole style of cooking they use a dark sauce called roux, remoulade and items that are amandine. The Cajun style of cooking is spicier and items often blackened. Creole cooking uses shrimp and Jambalaya. Cajun’s love using crawfish and alligator in their cooking.

With passion being his main ingredient, Chef Eric has combined the two cuisines and creates delicious New Orleans favorites. As Chef Eric explains he uses the Holy Trinity in his cooking: green bell peppers, onions and celery sautéed together can be found in many of his dishes.

COMFORTABLE, CASUAL DINING

The Bistro is quaint and cozy with small tables and booths, a bar that seats nine and an outdoor patio that accommodates 14. There definitely is an atmosphere that spells out “The French Quarter” with New Orleans theme hangings which sets the stage for the cuisine that is yet to be enjoyed.

I started my culinary experience with an appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes which are fried in a homemade Cajun batter and served with remoulade sauce. They were very crispy and very tasty. I also sampled the Fried Alligator and was surprised how “meaty” it was. Fried in the same Cajun batter till crispy, it’s served with a spicy orange sauce. Loved it.

Other appetizers include Cajun Onion Strings; Frenched™ Wings in three styles – Hell Fire; Lemon Pepper or Cajun; Fried Pickles, Andouille Sliders; Fried Frog Legs; and Creole Barbecue Shrimp.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Andouille, Shrimp and Chicken Etouffee. Etouffee comes from the French word “to smother.” The three are smothered with the dark roux sauce and it’s a slightly spicy vegetable stew with white rice.

A trip to New Orleans wouldn’t be right without having crawfish. I must admit, this was a first for me. And, after a short demonstration on how easy they are to eat, I enjoyed every bite. Other entrées include Filé Okra Gumbo; Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage; Creole Jambalaya; Crawfish Mac and Cheese; Shrimp and Grits; Louisiana Seafood Platter and the Bayou Bucket.

The Po Boy’s Sandwiches are served on 10” French bread with choices that include Andouille Sausage, Chicken Breast, Roast Beef, Catfish, Tilapia, Shrimp, Shrimp and Oyster and a Bistro Burger that’s served on a large, buttered pretzel bun.

A $6.95 Kid’s Menu includes a generous portion of Mac N Cheese, Fish Basket, Red Beans and Rice, Chicken Nuggets or Mac N Cheese Bites for children under 12 years old.

Desserts are prepared by his son and Pastry Chef, Eric Jr. His specialties include Chocolate Pecan Pie, Chocolate Mouse with Rum and White Chocolate Mousse with Grand Marnier. The Bread Pudding is an absolute must as well as the Beignets. The Beignets are thin, French-style doughnuts that are square and covered with powdered sugar. They are prepared like those found at Café Du Monde, in New Orleans which is famous for their delicious Beignets.

FRESH & AUTHENTIC

Everything is prepared fresh daily. Chef Eric takes pride in his cooking and wants to make sure everything is just right, when serving up generous portions for his diners.

“Every dish we serve here is a tribute to my grandma,” explains Chef Eric. “I don’t serve anything I wouldn’t serve my own family.”

So plan on making reservations for dinner, or stop in for lunch or a late night snack, and you will be pleasantly surprised at how good Creole and Cajun food can be when prepared the authentic way.