397 Shawneehaw Avenue
Banner Elk(828) 898-5656
Tue -> Sat 5:30 PM Until
Sun -> Mon Closed
Tue -> Sat 5:30 PM Until
Sun -> Mon Closed
We first ate supper at Louisiana Purchase one weekday February night.
Ray: To start, I had a cup of the Mumbo Gumbo (rice, okra, chicken, Andouille sausage, and veggies all in a good, spicy broth, $4.50). When the “cup” arrived, I first thought that the waitress had mistakenly brought me a bowl instead. This is one huge cup of gumbo! Not only was there a lot of it, the gumbo was very, very good. All the ingredients were tasty, and the sum total of them delights the palate. Throughout the meal, we had sourdough jalapeno rolls, which were likewise very good. However, the butter we were served was unfortunately frozen solid and very difficult to spread.
For main course, I had the Crawfish Etouffee (crawfish with
onions, bell peppers and celery in a spicy etouffee sauce, $15.95). This dish has to be experienced to be appreciated. I added a little Tabasco to spice it up, but it’s probably spicy enough for most as is. The portion, like the gumbo portion, was much larger than I expected, and the ingredients were a perfect blend, with plenty of crawdad (or as I like to call them, “mudbugs”). This is an excellent dish, not to be missed. I washed the main course down with a bourbon and ginger ale, which was well made and actually contained some alcohol, unlike the drinks in many restaurants and bars in the area.
Tom: I had the jambalaya and it was, in a word, perfect. There was plenty of it, too, way too much to leave room for any dessert. It was spicy but not too spicy–a nice mixture of mild-hot-sweet. It could not have been better.
Ray: Ever the porker, I had to try one of the tempting desserts. I chose the Chocolate/Pecan Pie, which comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a daub of whipped cream, and a few chunks of pineapple. Not surprisingly, this was also a large portion. I’m usually not a fan of Choc/Pecan pie, but this example was, like all the other food I tried here, very very good.
Tom: I wish I could have shared some of that (as if you would let me…), but my entree left me too full.
Ray: Finally,for an after dinner drink, I ordered a Cuba Libre. Now, a Cuba Libre is a lot like a rum & coke, with one important exception. A Cuba Libre should have the juice of at least 1/2 a lime, with several lime slices on the rim. What I got was a rum & coke, with very little lime and only one slice. To be fair, most bartenders fail this test.
Tom: Well, you can buy that combo in a can and add the rum (”Put a lime in the Coke, you nut…” as the ad says…). I’m not gonna let you pull down their rating on something that obscure.
Besides, if we were not boors we would have ordered wine from their incredible list. After all, they have awards hanging on the wall from Wine Spectator. They probably don’t give a flip about obscure mixed drinks and they shouldn’t!
Ray: The atmosphere here was nice… formal without being stodgy. There was the usual overpriced art on the walls and some eclectic decor and murals designed to mimic the French Quarter. These, the Cajun and New Orleans Jazz that was playing, and the copious amounts of good, spicy food go a long way toward creating the illusion that one is elsewhere.
Ray: Well, your idea of art is paintings of wide-eyed dogs playing poker, on velvet!
The presentation here is what one would expect from a fine restaurant. Carefully thought out food arrangements, nice china, and for once, nice flatwear.
The service here was fast and efficient, but our server didn’t seem quite relaxed. We ate on a night when the restaurant started out as empty except for us. When another group came in, they were seated at the table directly behind us. In an empty restaurant of this quality, one would expect groups to be seated separated by at least one empty table.
Louisiana Purchase is the best Cajun food in the area, period. The Bourbon Street Grill in Boone can’t hold a candle to it (and won’t be able to in any event, since ASU is apparently in the process of buying the Quality Inn where The Bourbon Street Grill is located…). The food was very good in all cases, and the portions were larger than one usually expects in such a restaurant. All the food I sampled was well worth the price, something that is not always true in a restaurant of this type. The service was fast and generally cheerful, but our butter was frozen and others were seated too close to us in the empty restaurant.
And then there was my Cuba Libre… Nitpicky points all, I agree, but still enough to keep Louisiana Purchase from garnering a perfect 4.0 from this reviewer. How did you find the Louisiana Purchase, Tom?
Tom: Well, if I were coming from the east coast of Florida I would just look at their web site for driving directions to find it! No kidding–what is that all about? And, no instructions from Boone! Guess they don’t want our type to visit and I can’t blame them.
But, I won’t let your rants about picky points kill their four-plate rating. I will award a 4.25 to average yours to 4. There! Ah, the power of the webmaster…
Ray: Well, I would still recommend Louisiana Purchase without reservation to anyone looking for excellent Cajun food in a relaxing atmosphere.
Tom: Actually, yo don’t need reservations anyway, so that is an easy recommendation! I ate here many years ago and it was already a fine place–it still is. Certainly worth the drive. Even from Ft. Lauderdale!
Lat: 36° 09.650′
Lon: 81° 52.220
On the Web louisianapurchasenc.com