Top Hat French Quarter Kitchen’s Taste of Cajun on Bedford Avenue

DOUGLAS FINLAY

Goodbye The Bayou and hello Top Hat French Quarter Kitchen.

Once the premiere kitchen in the Bellmores for Cajun and smothered foods, packing in Cajun cuisine junkies from around the South Shore to revel in inventive mouth-warming dishes, The Bayou’s closing is already being surpassed by news of the opening of Top Hat French Quarter Kitchen on Bedford Avenue, in the former Crown Restaurant, which will offer up tantalizing Cajun-creole dishes at reasonable prices.

The Crown closed fewer than two years after opening, where it struggled with the nouveau idea of matching international whiskeys and bourbons with prime-cut steaks. “It was too expensive,” one familiar with the presentation told Your NewsMag.

It didn’t take long for Anchor Down and Cardoon Mediterranean chef and owner Stephen Rosenbluth to size up the Crown’s inner décor and ambiance to conclude it a spot prime for a Louisiana-style restaurant ala K-Paul’s .. all the way down to its wrought iron front gate.

Chef Rosenbluth told Your NewsMag he recently spent two weeks down in New Orleans working at Gabriella’s, learning to prepare, among many things, roux for the gumbos particular to the Cajun area in  Louisiana. He said he worked with star chef Steve Van Gelder, who had worked with Paul Prudhomme, creator of K-Paul’s restaurants, and once owned the restaurant Cooking with Jazz in Queens.  Van Gelder is consulting with Chef Rosenbluth on the new restaurant to enable shipments of specific foods from the Louisiana region.

While “kicking up” the menu to include such Cajun-creole staples as blackened redfish, crawfish, jambalaya, gumbos, po’boys and grilled oysters, Rosenbluth emphasized that he would keep the wall of over 200 bottles of bourbons and whiskeys that had become synonymous with the Crown. “I want to keep those bourbons and whiskeys,” he said. He won’t forget the Sazaracs, of course.

                     Read the complete review in the December 20 magazine issue in your mailbox

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