I love New Orleans. Did you know that? I have been three times, and can’t wait to go back again. I have even toyed with the notion of moving down there a few times, but I don’t think I could leave all my friends and family in Indiana. Matt and I went to NOLA in April with my mom and a couple of her sisters. We have described this last trip as a true culinary vacation. We ate like royalty! We tried so many new foods and restaurants. It was amazing. We came back to Indiana, and it took a while to get used to eating our normal food again. We just kept looking at each other, shrugging, and saying, “New Orleans food was so much better!” They really do it right down there.
That’s why we have been itching to get over to Indy’s east side to try Papa Roux. We were going to be kind of close to the area a few days ago, so we jumped at the chance to lunch there. Here is a little description from the Papa Roux website:
“Y’all come on in, order up some delicious red beans or perhaps a bowl of gumbo, and sit for a chat with Papa for a spell. The air is rich with the smell of cajun roux and the sound of cajun fiddles. Take a break from the world outside, and relax with a good cup of bread pudding alongside your café au lait. No, cher, y’all didn’t come to New Orleans. Papa Roux brought New Orleans to Indy. Come pass a good time and experience Papa’s authentic cajun cooking, with recipes handed down from Papa’s parents, and Papa’s parents’ parents. Plus a few new recipes Papa made, making new dishes in all the authentic old styles. Papa Roux is excited to share this special cuisine and culture with you. Something good’s always cookin’ up back in the kitchen, and Papa’s been expecting you. Y’all come!”
This place is TINY! Seriously – so small. I don’t know if they chose to be in a tiny space because they were just starting out and couldn’t afford bigger, or if they prefer the tiny space. We found one table available – outside. Thankfully it was a warm fall day, but I would have probably sat out there in the cold just to try this place!
I have looked at the menu quite a few times before coming here, so I knew exactly what I wanted when I went up to the counter to order. “I’ll have the gulf shrimp po boy please.” The lady taking my order replied, “Oh no! I’m sorry – we’re out of shrimp right now. What else would you like?” What? WHAT? No shrimp? I didn’t know what to do. I would have ordered catfish for my po boy, but that wasn’t an option (it should be! Papa – get fried catfish for your po boys!). I chose chicken instead, and Matt got a roasted pork po boy.
The roast pork po boy is first (above) and the chicken is below it. They were exactly the same, other than the meat. The bread was a nice, moist french bread, although it was not the typical french bread we found all over New Orleans. I have heard there is a place near Indy that has the special bread flown in, so I’ll have to try it. Until then, this bread was a good substitute. The plentiful meat on both was very moist, shredded, and really flavorful. Each also had a yummy slaw and a spicy sauce they call “Vouxdoux Sauce.” Great sandwich, although a bit messy!
One of the cool things about Papa Roux is that sides are free and unlimited when you order an entree. Isn’t that awesome? We were more than satisfied with our po boys, but we really wanted to try a few sides while we were there. We asked for etouffee, cornbread and red beans and rice. (all pictured below)
The etouffee was not my favorite. The etouffee I’ve had in New Orleans is richer, thicker and more flavorful than this. I think if I didn’t know what it tasted like down there, I would have enjoyed it more. The rice was well-cooked though. Light and moist without being too gooey.
The cornbread was really good, and I wished I had more! You can see that it wasn’t very thick, but it was really dense and tasty. There were bits of corn kernels in it too, and that gave the bread some nice textural and flavorful surprises.
My favorite was the red beans and rice. These were great! Some of the beans were mashed a bit, some were whole, and they were all stewed to form a thick bean soup that was spiced perfectly and so tasty. The rice, again, was very good here.
All in all, I am giving Papa Roux a fantastic review! Great menu choices that are really close to being authentic New Orleans. It made me want to go back so much more! I will definitely go there again.
Katie’s Rating: 4 out of 5