When you look up Fat Tuesday's on Urbanspoon.com you are lead to believe it is a place that serves up Soul & Southern food. I was SO excited that in a city that seems to have some of the WHITEST of white people there might ACTUALLY be some soul served up somewhere. Imagine my surprise when I got down to the heart of Byward Market, grabbed a table out on the patio and saw their menu was all CREOLE.... *sigh* I could go on for a page and a half of how "soul" and "creole" are different but I don't wanna.
I went through the menu at the speed of light when we sat down. Seeing the tag line on their banner that read "New Orleans Experience" I got worried...I was looking for more of a Savannah experience when I went there. BUT....I am not opposed to Creole. I LOVE Louisiana bayou cookin'. Thoroughly. So it wasn't a HUGE deal that I was a little misled by the internet...who isn't these days right? Right. I knew what I wanted as soon as I clamped eyes on it...jambalaya. I wanted to do my Creole experience some justice so we ordered up some Atchafalaya Alligator for an appetizer. It came with an interesting sounding piquant...Jack Daniels....nice. While my Mister was figuring out what he wanted I cruised the restaurant checkin' out their decor and offerings.
Patio Seating Indoor Seating
This place has a LOT going on...food, live music, dinner theater/murder mystery night in the Velvet Room....you could go there every night and most likely not do EVERYthing they have to do. But...I was there for the FOOD.
When I was in Florida years ago I had alligator for the first time and it was fabulous. Fabulous enough that I wanted to have it again and I was interested to see how the Sprout did with it. But, these pieces were either over cooked or undercooked; so they varied between hard/rubbery and barely being warmed through. The few pieces I figured to be "safe" I handed over to the Sprout to let him give it a whirl. He seemed to think they tasted okay.
At some point our waitress brought out some complimentary rosemary sourdough type of bread that was grilled. It barely tasted like what she told us it was. She told me it would taste great soaking up the "sauce" of the jambalaya....
My ears perked at that comment. "Sauce" of the jambalaya eh? Crap.... (If you've had jambalaya you know that it NORMALLY isn't "saucy".) I began to wonder just what the heck I had roped myself into... Then I found out... Here's how my entree came out.
The kindest way I can describe this is a "deconstructed" jambalaya. The plate had EVERY single ingredient you are "supposed" to have in a jambalaya on it...just NOT the way it is supposed to be made. The spice was perfect, the meat was all cooked correctly and the rice was perfect. But what I got was "dirty rice" and what turned out to be more like a SUPER thick gumbo. Jambalaya is a RICE dish. Not a bunch of meat and veggies slopped on a plate NEXT to rice. Google it...Wikipedia it...I don't care, but either way you slice it Fat Tuesday's needs to send their chef back to the bayou. I realize I could simply mix this dirty rice with the saucy part and I would have were it not for the ground beef in the rice. When I read what this was on the menu I WAS puzzled as to WHY a jambalaya would come with MORE rice on the side... *cough* The flavor was there but the technique turned it into a solid dud. Then the bill arrived and I was MORE than sure I wouldn't be wasting another 75 bucks on a place that can't get their Louisiana cooking straight.
I won't lie...sometimes I wish I was "food stupid" and just ate things that tasted good no matter what. But there are reasons that things ARE good to me and most of the time that includes making it RIGHT...however simple OR complex the right turns out to be. I keep hoping with the rash of less than stellar experiences I have been having in Ottawa that there is something MUCH better JUST over the horizon. Unfortunately, Fat Tuesday's was NOT it. Onwards and upwards. If you aren't too stuck on traditional dishes from Louisiana and just want to sample the flavor of it, check them out...but bring plenty of money for your belly flop on the bayou!