Smoke and Thyme in New Orleans: K Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen

K Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen is in the French Quarter in a beautiful Creole townhouse. It was the flagship restaurant of the late, groundbreaking Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme, who brought Cajun food out of the countryside and into New Orleans, and then to the whole nation. I really recommend this oral history of Paul Prudhomme from – I’ve excerpted a few quotes but the whole thing is worth checking out.

Blackened Lousiana Drum is K Paul’s signature dish for a REASON. A spice-rubbed fillet of fish is expertly burned on the outside, perfectly juicy in the middle, and served with a crawfish-butter sauce. Far too often, I’ve had a classic and found that it was not as good as it ought to be. This was not one of those times.

“People would come in, four to a table, and say, ‘Four blackened redfish. We got to a point where we literally limited blackened redfish to one to a table. And we’d usually convince them to order one as an appetizer and everybody would taste it”

Those vegetables on the side, the ones you think look kinda boring? They are immaculate.

Next time I go back, I’m going to be sure to ask for one of those balcony tables. Street musicians – violinists and horn players – often busk just across the street.

The door handles are big brass chilli peppers.

Inside, the restaurant has an open plan kitchen where you can see the chefs at work. They wear these adorable hats!

Above the window to the kitchen is this funky recycled steel sculpture of fish and seafood.

K Paul’s serves you four types of bread – a yeasted soft roll, a Louisiana cornbread, a carrot muffin and a jalapeno cheese bread

All round the dining room at K Paul’s they have paintings featuring their classic recipes – including this one for roast pork with oyster dressing

Chicken and andouille gumbo, a damn fine specimen of the Cajun style. At K Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen.

“One of Paul’s brothers called Paul and was furious: ‘How could you cook that trash food?’ This was a time when calling someone a Cajun was a derogatory comment. To them, jambalaya was what poor people ate. It wasn’t something that they were necessarily proud of. Paul changed all that.”

In the men’s room, they have a poster on the wall from K-Paul’s East Coast Tour (yes a tour – like the restaurant was a rock band) – with Chef Paul as the Statue of Liberty (or possibly the Ghostbusters Stay Puft marshmallow man)

For dessert, pecan and sweet potato pie

When K-Paul’s closes, they put up this sign.

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