My sister lives in Avon and recently tried this place and emailed me right away about it knowing that hubby is always looking for good Cajun/Creole food and that I am always looking for good food in general. She qualified it with the fact that she had never eaten a po boy in New Orleans so she couldn’t verify its authenticity, but she really liked it and had talked to the owners who are from New Orleans and fly in several ingredients direct from there. I have had a couple of readers recommend it too, so I knew it was time to get over there.
It is quite a drive for us, but we met them over there the other day for lunch. The place was pretty busy for a midweek lunch, so service started out a touch slow, but once we got the order in, things moved a long a little quicker. The lady who runs it with her son, was a maybe a little gruff in the start, and it is the kind of place where you may just want to wait to speak until spoken to—she has a regimented way of taking orders, and you are probably better off letting her lead you through the process (hubby and I commented that it reminded us a little of the Soup Nazi episode on Seinfeld). But by the end of the meal, after chatting with hubby about New Orleans, she warmed up to us (and her son is exceptionally friendly).
I ordered the sampler plate which included jambalaya, red beans and rice, and shrimp or crawfish étouffée or gumbo and some toasted French bread. You also get two sides. I had the crawfish étouffée and I loved it—it was rich, but had amazing depth of flavor. It tasted like it was made from very well-tended roux. There wasn’t a ton of crawfish in there, but enough to get a piece with most bites. The jambalaya was also nice—a very spicy rice dish with mainly pieces of sausage and maybe a couple bites with shrimp as well. The red beans and rice were nice—not all mushed together. You could separate the beans from the rice if you wanted to and had a very nicely seasoned flavor. Spicy, but not overwhelming at all (not nearly as spicy as the jambalaya). Hubby really liked them and ended up eating probably half of mine. One of my sides was potato salad and I loved it as well. It is almost like mashed potatoes seasoned with celery and egg and chilled. It was also a great counterbalance to all the hot and spicy dishes I was eating. I would certainly always get some of the potato salad as a nice variation in taste and texture to the other things. The macaroni and cheese was great too (my other side), and clearly homemade. Creamy, but not bright orange (which I like) and seasoned with pepper. It had maybe a tiny smoky flavor. Really good. Again, hubby kept going after it out of my bowl. I enjoyed everything I had, but I am pretty sure next time I go, unless there is some special that sounds good, I will be ordering a full order of the étouffée (maybe I will try the shrimp next time) with my side of potato salad and mac and cheese. Wow, I want it right now just talking about it.
Hubby had the shrimp po boy. He was very happy with it as well. I am pretty sure they told us that they actually fly the bread in from New Orleans and apparently, it is the right kind of bread (according to hubby). It is dressed with mayo and shredded lettuce, tomato and pickles. The shrimp were seasoned and fried and were really tasty. Hubby added hot sauce (Louisiana of course) and was amazed at how close his sandwich tasted to what he remembered from his college days at Tulane. The only thing he wished is that there was more shrimp because there was so much bread, it was a little out of proportion to the shrimp. He decided next time he would ask for a double order of shrimp and see if they would just do that and charge him accordingly. It was a tasty sandwich. You can get fries on the side for an upcharge. He had the Cajun fries which were pretty tasty heavily seasoned fries.
The restaurant does not have a liquor license (quite hard to come by in Hendricks county apparently), but they are allowed to pay for one on a day by day basis (which makes no sense to me, but that’s just my opinion) and they usually buy one on Fridays and Saturdays and offer beer and wine as well. They also regularly offer special things on the weekend and have fairly regular shrimp boils (the next one is this Saturday, October 23rd I believe).
This place is a great example of a restaurant where a family has great recipes to share and seems to care about what they are doing. This is also another place I wish was closer to my house. Hubby declared it to be the best New Orleans style food he has had outside of New Orleans. I can’t speak to that, but I know what I like, and I liked this place.
Nawlins Creole Café
1118 North State Road 267
Avon, IN 46123