Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Crabby Jack's and Jacques Imo's, New Orleans

After eating at Crabby Jack's several times and unsuccessfully trying to get into Jacque Imo's doors for lunch several times, I unintentionally ate at both in the past few days and just realized that they're both opened by Jacques Leonardi. It all makes sense now. Crabby Jack's is only opened for lunch, and Jacque Imo's is only opened for dinner. So if you want to do it right, you have to do it in that order.

Y'all already know that I am infatuated with po-boys. When I was eating lunch at Napoleon House recently, a lady sitting next me caught me photographing my muffaletta sandwich and tweeting about it, which prompted her to ask me if I was a food blogger. Thank goodness I am, and then she asked me where my favorite places in the city for po-boys are. I had to think about that one simply because I'v eaten oh so many and really they're all good except for the occasional really bad one. But like pizza, there are those that reign supreme and I told her that my favorite is Crabby Jack's. And really I have eaten at Crabby Jack's pretty often considering how it's a bit out of the way, so it really is that good. 

Today for lunch I got the usual half & half: half shrimp and half oyster. But I really am working on cutting down on my fried food (I am, after all, a nutritionist and registered dietitian), so I requested that the shrimp be grilled. Half shrimp, half oyster, half grilled, half fried. Talk about compromise and moderation. Turns out this is yet another one of my unintentional genius food moves, for the mixture of cooking preparations added another wonderful succulent texture and who knew how wonderfully seasoned their grilled seafood was? Seriously, grilled seafood in New Orleans is underrated. As for the fried oysters, they were crispy and not over floured, so they most certainly pass. And finally, what makes the po-boy of course is always the bread, and here it had a crunch and a chew to it, which is really all I ask for. Fresh bread for the win. 

And if you're in the area for lunch but aren't in the mood for a sandwich, I've also had the blackened gulf fish before with a side of dirty rice, which was a bit salty (what else do you expect with blackened?), but still very good. Perfect place for a hot lunch or a great stuffed po-boy. 

Crabby Jack's 
428 Jefferson Highway
New Orleans

And now, the elusive Jacques Imo's. 

My first impression of Jacques Imo's was from the annual Oak Street Po-Boy Festival last November. Jacques Imo was serving their famous shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake, which was a bit confusing given its name. It's reminiscent of a quiche; savory and soft to the bite. It was alright, but I'm glad I got to try again in house because having it fresh from the kitchen made a huge difference. It was warm and fragrant. 

The highlights of my meal at Jacques Imo's was actually the accompaniments of my meal: their buttery cornbread muffin and appetizer salad topped with a lone fried oyster. Like I said earlier, I'm working on reducing my fried food intake while I'm down south, so I opted for the Cajun bouillabaisse. It was flavorful and filled with mussels, shrimp, and chunks of fish, but it simply wasn't memorable. I guess that's what you get for not ordering fried food. Everyone else I was dining with ordered red fish, which was tasty, but again not outstanding and honestly quite pricey. I really wish I opted for the Godzilla, a fried soft shell crab over fried green tomatoes, or their fried mirliton with oyster stuffing.  Maybe next time when friends are in town again!

Pro-tip: get there early. The lines are real! 

Jacques Imo's
8324 Oak Street
New Orleans

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