It’s been a busy time for the fiery Cajun who was named “One of America’s 25 hot, new chefs” by Food & Wine Magazine and was called “a tyrant, genius chef” by Esquire. In the same year he opened on the North Shore and coped with the fire, he moved Alex Patout’s Louisiana Restaurant from its longtime Royal Street location in the French Quarter to 720 St. Louis Street.
The bayou- born Patout was schooled in classic Cajun cookery in his hometown of New Iberia. His ancestors left the sugar cane business to open their first family restaurant in 1918. But Patout knew there was more to life than the Cajun mainstays like “jambalaya, crawfish pie and file’ gumbo.”
After moving to New Orleans, he became enamored with the Creole cooking legacy that ruled the city for centuries. And he was surprised by the compatibility of the two distinctive but neighboring cuisines. “Both Cajun and Creole cooking incorporate a lot of slow-cooked ‘pot’ food.” And he pointed out that both, even to the point of overlapping, make use of the abundance of fresh seafood harvested daily from all the lakes, bayous, swamps and nearby Gulf of Mexico.
When the chef first opened Alex Patout’s Louisiana Restaurant at 221 Royal Street more than 15 years ago, the menu was weighted heavily with Cajun classics like Rabbit Sauce Piquant and Smothered Roast Duck. Over time, the Creole influences have become increasingly visible, with New Orleans classics like Crabmeat Imperial and Shrimp Remoulade. Perhaps that marriage (and dichotomy of menu) was consummated in the year 2000 when New Orleans Magazine named his restaurant “Best Creole Restaurant” and Where Magazine named it “Best Cajun Restaurant.” But the accolades for Patout’s cooking have come continuously since his first plate of Crawfish Etouffee. Esquire Magaine said he was one of the “men under 40 who are changing America” and The James Beard Foundations said he was a “Who’s Who of Cooking in America” as far back as 1987.
You too can cook like a pro and enjoy a taste of Cajun cuisine with Patout’s wonderful cookbook, Cajun Home Cooking
When Alex Patout opened the original Patout’s restaurant in New Iberia, Louisiana, in 1979, he set out to show food lovers that there was more to Cajun than blackened redfish. Now the family operates busy restaurants in New Orleans and Los Angeles as well, and in Patout’s Cajun Home Cooking, the first authentic guide to the most popular regional cuisine in the country, Patout takes his culinary mission another giant step further, divulging the dark, spicy secrets of Cajun food as it is prepared by the Cajuns themselves.
Beginning with the basics — roux from light to dark, techniques from smoking to smothering — Patout initiates the home cook into a culinary style that has developed over the decades in bayou country kitchens. Dozens of exciting recipes introduce a savory repertoire of Cajun delicacies: appetizers both rustic and refined (Cheese Biscuits, Daube Glace, Cajun Pate); slow-simmered gumbos (Shrimp and Okra, Duck and Sausage, and more), soups, and stews (Red fish Courtbouillon, Shrimp and Crab Stew); hearty main dishes (from classic Jambalayas and Etouffees to such Patout specialties as Lady Fish, Shrimp Ms. Ann, Veal on the Teche, and Maw Maw’s Cajun Chicken Stew); luscious side dishes (Maque Choux, Smothered Snap Beans, Cajun Hash Browns); homey and festive sweets (Old Dominion Pound Cake, Calas, Pralines, Gateau au Sirop); and preserves and pickles (Chow Chow, Hot Pepper Jelly) for the cook with canning fever. And Patout shows how to pull it all together, with menus for all occasions and a list of mail-order sources for fresh seafood and special ingredients.
Adaptable, easy on the budget, and above all exciting, Patout’s Cajun Home Cooking brings Cajun back to where it originated — the home kitchen.
Maybe you are planning a trip to New Orleans? Try Patout’s restaurant located in an historic building in the heart of the French Quarter, Alex Patout’s features two classically styled dining rooms and an outside terrace on the second floor. The first floor is an intimate New Orleans-style bistro with dark wood, mirrors covering all walls and ceiling fans. The second floor is decorated in the grand old New Orleans tradition with 16 foot ceilings, elegant chandeliers, gold leaf plaster moldings and original artwork by New Orleans’ own artist, Martin LaBorde. Floor to ceiling windows open onto a balcony overlooking St. Louis Street.
Located at 720 St. Louis Street, Alex Patout’s is within walking distance of all major hotels. Private dining is available. Private luncheons can also be accommodated.