Today, Christians start observing the 40 days of Lent. But last night Christians and non-Christians alike celebrated Fat Tuesday with parties, good food, and lots of drinking.
I got into the fun by checking out the Boxing Room’s mini Mardi Gras festivities, and joining me was my food blogging friend Sandy of Foodhoe’s Foraging. The Boxing Room, with its Louisiana focus under the eyes of Executive Chef Justin Simoneaux, had a special crawfish boil ($18) and live jazz to mark the occasion.
Platter of Fun
The crawfish boil included a pound of crawfish boiled in spicy seasoning along with some corn on the cob, potatoes, mushrooms, and served with a cut of Andouille sausage. Everything came hot to the table on round silver platters, and Sandy and I dug in, breaking off the crawfish head and digging into the precious (and often tiny) tail meat.
The seasoning added a nice kick to the hot red crawfish (aka “mudbugs”), and my favorite part was the tender potatoes. It’s the kind of meal where little talking is done and lots of eating with fingers takes place. Thankfully I had a special Mardi Gras Bock beer to wash down the crawfish and a hand-towel with lemon to keep things tidy.
Elegant Cajun Cooking
Chef Simoneaux’s menu is just as satisfying as my first visit a year ago, and the kitchen is just as fast bringing out the dishes to the table soon after ordering. The friendly service also adds to the general happy times.
To supplement our crawfish, we also got a roasted beet salad ($14) that was beautifully plated with the quarters of little gems, avocado, citrus segments, and hazelnuts. The color of all the seasonal ingredients is a celebration of California.
The charbroiled oysters (three for $10) looked deliciously cooked with the topping of garlic-herb-butter, lemon, and breadcrumbs but the oyster flavor did seem a bit lost in everything.
Because it was Fat Tuesday, I had to order the King cake ($7) for dessert. This version was just a slice and lacked the multi-colored icing that I expected, but it had a cream cheese filling and a delicate cinnamon sugar coating. Unfortunately, no plastic baby in my slice.
Sandy went with the apple cobbler ($7), mostly because she was tempted by the burnt cinnamon ice cream, which had a great texture and a prominent cinnamon flavor. That scoop was probably the highlight of the generous serving of cobbler.
The Last Bite
The Boxing Room’s handsome décor, fantastic Louisiana-influenced beer selection, and elegant yet flavorful dishes all add up to a fun dining experience on Fat Tuesday and any other day of the week. It definitely lives up to the motto, “Laissez les bons temps rouler.”
Boxing Room, 399 Grove St. (at Gough), San Francisco. PH: 415.430.6590. Open lunch, weekdays, 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.; weekend brunch, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.; dinner, daily from 5–11 p.m. (till midnight on Friday, Saturday). Reservations, major credit cards accepted. SF healthy tax added to bill. boxingroomsf.com
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