Y'all should tell me if I am going overboard on posting.
I had a lunch date with the gentlemanly and witty Nick Certa. We had both been after people to go to the new cajun restaurant, so around noon we met up in Eastown for Chez Bayou. I must say, I was a little stunned walking inside. Some extreme renovations have turned the dirtiest club in GR into a faux Louisiana village, festooned with the colors of Mardi Gras and some reallyscary purple and green sequinned dolls.
Nick and I decided to sit in the fake sidewalk cafe section of the restaurant, in some rather nice intermittent skylight sunlight. I must say I felt silly sitting there, kind of like I had been caught in Epcot or something, and the air conditioning cut back on the "outside New Orleans" experience. The place is wholy contrived and middlingly absurd.
Middling as well was the food. An appetizer of breaded, deep-fried alligator morsels was among the best dishes. They were minimally greasy, with a crunchy outside and tender/chewy inside. A remoulade and a ranch sauce accompanied, both tasty, and both, as our server assured us "totally homemade." A shrimp po'boy wasnt as good, shrimp billed as breaded and fried seemed neither, and they lacked any apparent flavor, leaving me wondering exactly why I was eating the sanwich. I moved on to the jambalaya, but couldn't see much point in that either. The ham and andouille bits were good enough, but the rice seemed to be seasoned exclusively with salt and chilli powder, and it tasted like filler.
Chez Bayou does have a full bar, and I was pleased to find beer local to Grand Rapids and New Orleans. Nick and I decided to be scandalous and we each got a Blackened Voodoo Lager from Dixie. I had this beer at my cousins house just the night before, and loved it, and it was just as good in the afternoon. It was dark and malty, and totally exciting for a lager. It has a sweetness to it that reminds me of maple syrup, and I would definetyly recommend it for days too hot to drink hops.
I was slightly dissapointed in Chez Bayou this time. I will be giving it a second chance, if only for the alligator, and because I need to try the crawfish ettouffee, but next time, I will sit at the bar and pretend I am not in a Grand Rapids joint trying really hard to be something its not.