I have a confession to make. Even though I grew up in South Louisiana, and was raised by parents for whom red beans and rice was a Monday night ritual, I don’t really care for “Louisiana” food. Shrimp Creole? Étouffée? No, thank you. My tolerance for spice is lower than that of a Midwestern baby. (My mother despairs of me, I swear.) So when I was given the opportunity to check out the new Jazzed Up Flavors of Bourbon Street menu at Applebee’s, I was a little skeptical.
A little background: Applebee’s Executive Chef Patrick Humphrey did his research. He came to New Orleans and met with Chef Kevin Vizard and shrimp boat captain Spencer Gonzalez to get some ideas and inspiration for the new menu. “By putting our twist on some of the best flavors of New Orleans, our new menu brings the taste of Bourbon Street to every neighborhood for everyone to enjoy,” said Chef Patrick.
So I was pretty confident that when we headed to Applebee’s, I would find something I liked on the new menu. Sure enough, my eye was caught by the Creamy Cajun Steak & Shrimp. Steak? Shrimp? Two of my favorite foods. Easy decision.
And yes, the whole family went. I was extremely pleased when the waitress mentioned that we’d get two kid’s entrees free with our two adult meals! Score! (That was a Tuesday night, but check with your local Applebee’s to see if and when they have this same deal. We were eating at the Applebee’s on General deGaulle Blvd.)
When the food came out, I was immediately impressed with what I saw. Were those real, fresh mushrooms? And that spinach didn’t look like it had ever seen a freezer. The steak was cooked perfectly for me (rare, thank you) and the roasted potatoes looked delicious.
It was a fantastic meal. There was a bit of a kick to the shrimp and steak, just enough to remind me that this was a New Orleans-themed dish, after all. But not too much to scare me away. There were peppers and onions mixed in there too, and everything seemed fresh and flavorful.
I already know what I want to try next time we go back to Applebee’s: the Shrimp Combo Platter, which is described as Blackened shrimp served over almond rice pilaf in an Herb & Ale scampi sauce and paired with crispy friend shrimp. Served with fresh, sautéed spinach and Roma red pepper relish on the side. Sounds good to me!