Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Zydeco Blues Aims for Higher-End Cajun and Creole Cuisine in Des Peres **

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Zydeco Blues Aims for Higher-End Cajun and Creole Cuisine in Des Peres **

Article excerpt

Add Zydeco Blues to the roster of new restaurants that must overcome a location charitably described as challenging. The 5- month-old establishment anchors one end of what you would normally call a shopping plaza or strip mall, except most of the storefronts here house medical services. And while this plaza sits at the heavily trafficked junction of Manchester Road and Interstate 270, access to it from Manchester is tricky. All you wanted was a bowl of gumbo, but you blinked when you should have turned right, and now you're barreling down the highway toward South County.

Persevere, though (and pay attention), and you can find some flavorful Cajun and Creole fare at Zydeco Blues, a restaurant more interesting than either its awkward location or its airy, bland dining room (the decor, such as it is, evokes an urban-rustic sports bar, with a hint of New Orleans) might suggest.

Zydeco Blues is a new restaurant from Ron Gordon, who founded Wild Horse Grill (now closed) in Chesterfield. To head the kitchen, Gordon chose former Eleven Eleven Mississippi executive chef Wade Waller, and Waller's experience in higher-end dining is evident throughout Zydeco Blues' menu.

He gussies up fried green tomatoes ($8) with bacon, spiced pecans, soft blobs of goat cheese and a classic remoulade. The arrangement is artful, but each element is deliberate, either balancing or accenting the texture and flavor of the thick-sliced and very tart tomatoes inside their jackets of crisp-fried batter. The cochon po'boy ($10) doubles down on pork by garnishing slices of roasted loin with batons of beautifully browned pork belly. A compote of apple and dried cranberry cuts through the fatty richness.

A piece of blackened salmon ($24) sits on a bed of roasted spaghetti sauce in a pool of charred-onion velout. The dish's description and cost wouldn't seem out of place at Eleven Eleven Mississippi or similar restaurants, and here is where Zydeco Blues can stumble. Waller doesn't overwhelm the salmon with blackening seasoning, but the large piece of fish I was served had been cooked through, so its natural flavor was too assertive. …

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