By Leanndra W. Padgett
When I first heard the name Bourbon n’ Toulouse, I didn’t comprehend. And Creole food in Lexington… wasn’t that a little random? Nonetheless, I was intrigued and excited when a group of friends set out for dinner there.
We parked in a shopping center lot off of Euclid Avenue near downtown Lexington and I was pointed toward the door, which is hidden between two other buildings. After a minute of searching, I found the back entrance and sheepishly entered, feeling nervous for coming in the wrong way. At that point I didn’t recognize the laid back and casual atmosphere of the place.
Upon setting foot in the restaurant, everything clicked. This was a taste of New Orleans; it was a place to relax. The décor and smells reminded me of the Louisiana city. Colorful, bold art and photographs of the French Quarter graced the wall. Then I saw an image of two street signs – Bourbon Street and Toulouse Street and realized the exact meaning of this place.
My excitement grew as I read the menu – jambalaya, rice, red beans, gumbo and (by far my favorite) etouffée. This wasn’t just any etouffée either; in addition to a chicken option, they served honest to goodness southwestern etouffée with crawfish. I ordered a half portion and was still pleased with the size of my dish. Though served on a Styrofoam plate, which ruffled the environmentalist in me, the meal was nothing to complain about. And to be fair, they did have a reusable, plastic to-go container available for purchase.
Suppressing my disappointment in the dinnerware, I doused my dish with various hot sauces, but I needn’t have worried about flavor. The warm spices burned my tongue in the best way possible. There are also milder dishes available including barbeque pork, chicken and artichoke, and parmesan cheese with mushrooms for those who prefer.
Bourbon n’ Toulouse has my approval. I’ve been there twice this semester already and am looking forward to more. I’ve sampled multiple dishes when eating there with friends and memories of the taste have me ready for more. It is the perfect blend of delicious food, affordable prices and unique atmosphere. As oxymoronic as it may sound, it’s a hipster version of Creole and a bit of New Orleans in Central Kentucky.