While it has almost been a year since our New Orleans adventure, we have shockingly dined out for Cajun-style food just once since then, and that was with brunch at Acadiana. Coincidentally, a slew of new restaurants have opened up in DC offering New Orleans-style cusine within the past year. From The Cajun Experience to TruOrleans to Hot N Juicy Crawfish, the DMV has experienced a resurgence of Cajun cooking.
Because our friend was hosting a birthday party in the Foggy Bottom area, we felt it was an ample opportunity to try one of these new establishments for dinner before heading over. Bayou caught our eye only not only because of the convenient location, but also because of the appealing menu. The fact that they serve roast beef po’ boys hooked me right in.
Housed in what was formerly The Rookery, we were seated for our reservation in the restaurant’s small but homey dining room on the first floor. The interiors, adorned with purple walls and Mardi Gras masks, gave off a more authentic vibe than some New Orleans-style restaurants, making you feel like you were more in Frenchman Street than Downtown Disney.
After ordering a round of drinks for the table, which included staples such as Sazerac, Abita Amber, and a Hurricane, the waiter came by with a basket of complimentary biscuits with honey and rosemary butter. They were gone within seconds. Flaky on the outside and extremely moist inside, I regret not asking for another basket of them. They were authentically fantastic.
For our entrees, it was a no-brainer for me. I swiftly ordered The Magazine Street: a roast beef po’ boy (with debris) dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, coleslaw, and pickles, along with a side of fries and collard greens. While it was not the sandwich I fell in love with at Tracey’s in New Orleans, this po’ boy was certainly no slouch.
First of all, the combination of mayonnaise and debris gravy is one to relish while biting into the flaky, French bread. And while the roast beef stuffed inside resembled more of a brisket thanks in part to its thick slices, it was still wonderfully tender and full of flavor if not just a tad fatty. If there’s another roast beef po’ boy in DC I don’t know about or have yet to try, it will be difficult to top the one found at Bayou’s. The mayo/gravy combo is key and the kitchen got it right.
As for the sides, the fries were highly addictive due to the Cajun seasoning they throw on top while the collard greens were true to their southern roots, if not a little too vinegary.
Meanwhile, Rachel ordered the blackened catfish which was served atop a bed of dirty rice and accompanied with collard greens and green tomato chutney. The flaky white fish was well-cooked and nicely seasoned while the dirty rice was downright delicious. She felt the greens were a little too salty for her liking, but other than that, she really enjoyed her entree.
After we finished our meals, we stayed for some more drinks which included a round of whiskey picklebacks. If you’re not familiar, it’s pretty much what it sounds like – a shot of smooth whiskey followed by a pickle juice chaser. Needless to say, Rachel was not a fan. She did, however, love the Hurricanes the bar was whipping up.
Overall, we had a really great time at Bayou. Our waitress was super friendly, the food was excellent, and the atmosphere was laid back just like the Big Easy. If we had it our way, we would have stayed throughout the entire night. It’s hard to find places you don’t want to leave, and having been to New Orleans and experienced the wondrous cuisine of the city, Bayou certainly makes you feel at home.