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Louisiana Kitchen & Bayou Bar, on Cordell Ave in Bethesda - From the Staff of The Old Louisiana Express - Closed


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Carlos recognized me almost instantly. I thought he looked like he'd put on a few pounds. But there was no mistaking the man running the front of the house at Louisiana Kitchen, which opened last Saturday in the former New Orleans Bistro space on Cordell Ave.

The menu is almost exactly, exactly the same as that of the now-departed Louisiana Express. They even managed to carry over the phone number from Louisiana Express: 301 652 6945. The only accidental omission, Carlos admitted, was the "Cajun pizza". They're going to try to run without it for now. Prices seem to be very slightly higher...a quarter here, fifty cents there, maybe a buck on a few of the apps. But the setting is now fresh and shiny, with new furniture, dishes and flatware, and finally some room between the tables.

Yes, the spicy fries are back!

Running the kitchen is co-owner José Blanco, the long-time chef at L.E. The two of them managed to hire many of the former staff from L.E., although I didn't see any of them on this Thursday afternoon. Several locations for the venture were considered from Silver Spring to Frederick, but when the former New Orleans Bistro space came available, everything clicked into place. The space came broom-clean with none of the decorations, so the interior re-do has been limited to a new floor, some paint and wallpaper, new fixtures, and the addition of a window from the dining room to the back of the rotisserie. There aren't that many clichéd doohickeys on the wall yet. José's in-laws are helping with some ongoing tweaks to the interior, but otherwise it's up and running.

There's also a little blurb on their website regarding the passing of Peter Finkhauser, the owner of Louisiana Express.

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But how's the food? And do they serve breakfast?

Cheap and comforting, despite being way too middle-of-the-road to be authentic. I'd never take a yat here, lest I die of embarrassment. tongue.gif However, my customary catfish "beignets" and regular (née veggie) creole were as I remembered them.

Breakfast (07:30- M-Sa, 09:00- Su) is on the menu, with the usual poached egg options etc.

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I had a Muffaletta at lunchtime. The idea sounded great, thinking back to my last stop at Central Grocery a few years ago.

The bread is off - Not even close. The olive spread - yuck and not a kick but so spicy literally burned my mouth.

Here's to hoping some of the other ideas are executed better...Will try another time or two but not off to a good start. Anyones experience better?

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OK, this is now on my must-eat-at list.

About two decades ago, the New Orleans Emporium in Adams Morgan was the best Creole/Cajun place around, by far. The bar was upstairs, and my friends and I would dive into "Cajun popcorn" (fried crawfish tails) and "Oyster Shooters" (fresh shucked oyster with a dollop of hot sauce and a shot of peppar vodka in a tumbler). A basket of popcorn and 3-4 shooters would get us ready to move downstairs to the restaurant, where the blackened lamb chops were simply incredible. When that place closed, the only reasonable facsimile was Louisiana Express, and maybe RTs in Alexandria. If this place is in the same league, here I come!

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My experience was similar to ol_ironstomach's. A couple weeks ago, when I walked into L.K. to get The George Oakley Duo a gig. Carlos came up to me and said "George do you want your regular, red beans and rice with an Iced Café au Lait?". I hadn't been in Louisiana Express in three or four years. I hadn't intended to eat, but I couldn't resist. The food was great and I landed the gig. Louisiana Kitchen and Bayou Bar will be having live music on Monday nights through December the first. The name of the group is The George Oakley Duo. We will be starting at 6 and going till 9. This is an audition. If it goes well we may continue. If you want to hear some jazz in Bethesda, come on out.

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Ok, I have no idea why I never had the pain perdu at Lousiana Express, but I didn't. I got stuck on the breakfast po'boy, and that's just what I would have for brunch. And thus it went at Lousiana Kitchen, until I ended up going twice in one weekend, and just didn't want the po'boy again. OMG. The french toast is chunks of baguette, drowned in eggy goodness, and then *deep fried*. It's kind of like a beignet on steroids.

I'm afraid to go back. Thank god they don't serve it for dinner.

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Ok, I have no idea why I never had the pain perdu at Lousiana Express, but I didn't. I got stuck on the breakfast po'boy, and that's just what I would have for brunch. And thus it went at Lousiana Kitchen, until I ended up going twice in one weekend, and just didn't want the po'boy again. OMG. The french toast is chunks of baguette, drowned in eggy goodness, and then *deep fried*. It's kind of like a beignet on steroids.

I'm afraid to go back. Thank god they don't serve it for dinner.

Oh but they do - I've gotten breakfast items for dinner many a'times.

I'd also like to add that the beignets here are better than the ones that I had at Cafe Du Monde.

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Not only is it still open, but despite not working in bethesda anymore I still go at least once a month. I got my coworkers hooked on the spicy fries at lunch, but for me-- brunch is where it's at. eggs creole, or the po mans breakfast, or, if I'm feeling really decadent... the pain perdu. still awesome. Good folks, good food.

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Love the breakfast/brunch here.

The etouffe and creole that you can get with omlettes are both tame and tasty while the omlettes are well executed.  Not frech-style per-se, more american style.  So my kids like the omlettes and I can add some hot sauce.   If you're not sure of a sauce/base, ask for a taste.   The crabballs have a strong taste to them (not sure what it is - not tabsco, not crab... but very good) with a crispy outside and nicely done, almost creamy inside.

The french toast is certainly different, being dark-crisp on the outside and mushy on the inside.  It is better than it sounds.  The beignets are excellent with lots of sugar and a consistent texture throughout.  Note that one order of beignets will likely be enough for 4 as an appetizer.

We've been a couple of times, both at the old LE and this new location, and the service is always spot-on.  Thanks LK!

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14 minutes ago, mtureck said:

Closing, and being replaced by a new branch of Silver Spring's Cubano's.

https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/dine/louisiana-kitchen-closing-in-bethesda/

Sad to see them close, but Cubano's is a nice replacement. 

Though it says Cubanos will remain open in Silver Spring, I wonder what the future holds there. They must be getting hit hard by the hot new El Sapo. 

Sad to hear about Louisiana Kitchen. 

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