Bear Bites: Parish on Cherry

Shrimp and Cajun Crawfish Pasta

Fielding a New Orleans-inspired menu beyond the charms of the French Quarter is a tall order. The city’s unique taste profile has been delicately crafted and influenced by Africans, French, Spanish and a host of others that came through the city’s ports.

The recently opened Parish on Cherry offers a take on Creole/Cajun cuisine. I spent the last two months in New Orleans working, so I was skeptical long before we sat down.

 

THE GOOD:

The fried shrimp: The batter was crispy and well-seasoned but didn’t flake or fall apart. They were fresh as if they had been caught earlier in the day.

Cajun Crescent Fries: The fries found the perfect balance between potato and batter. I don’t like fries but found myself eating them continuously.

Shrimp and Cajun Crawfish Pasta: It came to the table, and I closed my eyes. I felt like I was passing some New Orleans cafe. The succulent shrimp had their tails perfectly removed. The crawfish, cut into pieces, were tender. The well-cooked Cavatappi, or corkscrew pasta, was topped with chives and diced tomatoes. The sauce was thin but not runny. It was slightly spicy at first, but sweet — cinnamon-like — as you processed the taste. The complex flavors worked in harmony. A little less cinnamon would have made the dish perfect.

 

THE SO-SO:

Po’Boys: Let me first say that the Po’Boy tasted fine, and that is not my issue. My complaints here are more cosmetic. The bread was too thick for my taste. I prefer thin and crispy bread for Po’Boys. A house-made remoulade replaces the mayonnaise that is put on a traditional “dressed” po’boy.

Atmosphere: The restaurant occupies a large space. The dark paint scheme and vintage-style post lamp lighting fi xtures coupled with mostly empty walls make the place feel too big to be intimate.

 

THE NOT-SO-GOOD:

Gumbo: They ran out of Gumbo. How does one run out of Gumbo at a New Orleans-inspired restaurant? Shame.

 

WHAT WE’D DO DIFFERENTLY:

Order the beignets with powdered sugar. In New Orleans, they are treat unlike any other. I didn’t try them here, but wish I had.

 

OVERALL:

Nick: 3 stars

Justin: 3.5 stars