Jezebel’s Bayou is an authentic New Orleans-inspired restaurant located in the old Menu 6/Boulevard Blue location on Larchmere. They fly their seafood in fresh from Louisiana every day. I love New Orleans, so I was very excited to hear about Jezebel’s, and the fact that it is so close to my home is an added bonus. If I could winter in New Orleans and spend the summers here in Cleveland I would do it in a heartbeat. New Orleans is a very unique city with a very unique culture – and outstanding food. I’ve enjoyed some amazing meals there.
Our first visit to Jezebel’s Bayou started off rocky and just stayed rocky. I had made a reservation for 11 people for 1 PM several days beforehand, so it wasn’t like our big table was a surprise – or at least it shouldn’t have been. As I was driving to meet my friends on that rainy Saturday afternoon I got a call saying they were standing outside the restaurant and the door was locked (the hours on the door indicated they opened at 11, but maybe they hadn’t gotten around to changing the hours on the door). I called and was told that the chef had arrived late that morning from shopping and that they would be opening at 1 or 1:05. When I got there they were opening the doors and letting us in. They never seemed to hit their stride after that. To make a long story short, our lunch took 3 hours.
However, the drinks were potent, which made up for the long wait. It might have been the fact that we were “day drinking” on empty stomachs. Several of my friends got pretty crocked on Sazeracs while we waited, and I got pretty buzzed from my hurricane. I had to walk away from it at one point to visit the other end of the table, because I needed to slow down. My $9 hurricane was made with Myerʼs Dark Rum, Bacardi, 151, orange juice, pineapple and grenadine and was absolutely delicious. It wasn’t served in a hurricane glass, but that certainly didn’t detract from the drink itself.
The food itself was really good. I started the meal by ordering the Alligator Voodoo, which are farm-raised alligator strips served with a Jalapeno Remoulade sauce. They were pretty moist, and the dipping sauce was very flavorful. I would definitely order this again. The New Orleans BBQ shrimp appetizer seemed a bit pricey for just four shrimp, although my friend A. said they were good. I’ll probably order them as an entree in the future. The onion rings, dipped in a Dortmunder Gold beer batter and served with a warm white Cheddar fondue sauce, on the other hand, were plentiful and delicious. I couldn’t stop eating them off my friend’s plate. That fondue sauce was divine!! My friend E. also thoroughly enjoyed his raw oysters on the half shell.
I ordered the Shrimp and Crawfish Creole for my entree. Whooeee, was it spicy, which is just how Creole and Cajun food should be. I ordered it because it was served with steamed rice. I was glad it came with the rice, because the rice offset the heat a bit. The shrimp and crawfish were perfectly cooked and the tomato-based creole sauce was very flavorful.
I will also be ordering the Sweet and Crunchy Praline Salad in the near future. It is gorgeous and features mixed field greens, mandarin oranges, sun-dried cherries, white cheddar cheese, and sugar-spice pecans with a white French dressing. It was light and flavorful and the pecans were delicious.
The owner came by at some point to welcome us and make sure everything was okay. He was so sincere we didn’t have the heart to complain about the unorganized service or slow kitchen. And we were enjoying ourselves, even if several of the folks had to be in Akron at some point. I wasn’t planning on going anywhere that afternoon and just enjoyed the company, so it wasn’t that big a deal to me. I just won’t be going back again with a large group. The smaller tables seemed to be taken care of just fine, having arrived after us and leaving before us.
Several of my fellow diners were also surprised when they got their bill. It certainly wasn’t a cheap lunch, but it was a delicious and enjoyable one. I’m glad I have a New Orleans restaurant so close to home. I plan to give dining service one more try, and if it is just as slow I will simply stick to carry out in the future.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
12718 Larchmere Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44120