I wasn’t all that surprised to see Hello Pasta had closed, but when Lunch’er Kevin e-mailed me a sad picture of a for rent sign in the window at Cajun Maggie’s, a “WTF?” may have escaped my mouth. Tokyo Kitchen closed a while ago and as I noted when I ate at Maggie’s a couple of weeks ago, this was one of the last slightly dodgy place to eat on that block of John St. between Broadway and Nassau. Now that distinction is left to Blimpie.
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Ever since Tokyo Kitchen closed Cajun Maggie’s has become the last remaining dodgy place to eat on the block of John St. between Nassau & Broadway. They are even classy enough to have someone handing out samples outside the store, just like at the mall. I knew Kevin went there to try out the oh so Cajun specialty of bourbon chicken, but I was interested in their take on some other actual Cajun items on the menu like shrimp etouffee and blackened fish. I wasn’t going in with high expectations of having the food transport me back to New Orleans but would it even be vaguely passable?
What is bourbon chicken anyway? Not any kind of authentic Cajun food, that seems to be certain. It’s much more like American Chinese food, pretty similar in a lot of ways to teriyaki, which I realize is Japanese rather than Chinese, but that’s beside the point as the predominating influence here is clearly American. If you’ve got a craving for bourbon chicken and want to make it at home you can go to my new favorite website bourbonchickenspices.com whose secret sauces and techniques will allow you to make bourbon chicken “the same or even better than the malls.”
That has got to be the most questionable endorsement of a food product I’ve ever seen, but I’ve had bourbon chicken at malls, airports, and a few other places, and given the context, it’s pretty damn good. Nothing to chase to the ends of the earth, but a safe bet when you’re trapped in a culinary wasteland like an airport or the financial district.
And the bourbon chicken at Cajun Maggies on John St. between Broadway and Nassau is no exception and may be — dare I say? — “even better than the malls.”