“New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.”

Mark Twain

I’m so excited to be writing this blog entry. I’ve been wanting to try Cafe Nola on 617 Union St, Schenectady since it opened. I have such a fascination with New Orleans and the feel of it down there (I’ve always wanted to visit) but since I can’t go there any time soon I figured at least I’d get to try some of their food and get a good feel for it in Upstate New York. My boyfriend and I went on a Sunday night and there wasn’t a big crowd there at all so we had no problem parking in back.

We looked at the menu before we went to try and figure out what to order but when we got to the menu at the restaurant the prices were slightly higher. My boyfriend ordered the Grilled Portabella Mushroom Sandwich and it was very good. It took a little long to cook but a reasonable waiting time. I think I’ve said this before but I love when sandwiches are mushy and drippy and messy – I think they taste better, this sandwich only proved that point further. I ordered a cup of the Crawfish Gumbo and the crispy chicken tenders for dinner. The gumbo was great, big pieces of andouille sausage and vegetables. The flavor was spicy but not too spicy and I really enjoyed it. The chicken fingers on the other hand were not my favorite.

I think these fingers were battered so when I tried to trim off some of the excess crispy parts attached to no chicken, all the crispy fell off and I ended up with just strips of chicken. Neither the crispy bits or the chicken was seasoned all that well so I ended up having to cover the chicken pieces in BBQ sauce. The chicken was cooked well and it looked like good quality chicken but they weren’t the chicken tenders I expected.

Dessert blew me out of the water. We found a coupon for FREE beignets with the purchase of a dinner entree. They were fantastic! Beignets are deep fried dough sprinkled with confectionery sugar paired with homemade sauces: caramel, raspberry and chocolate. Each sauce was a different fantastic flavor for my taste buds. Though the chocolate was wonderful, I think my favorite sauce was the caramel. It was the right amount of sweet with the consistency of the dough.

Overall the food was pretty good, I could definitely see myself stopping by to have a beer and some beignets (& I really want to try their jambalaya!). The one thing that bothered me was the decor. I know that they just opened relatively recently but I felt like I was at a cafe that was having a Mardi Gras night. The pale yellow and beige walls was not what I expected. Also, the music wasn’t that zydeco cajun flair I was expecting- no big band, no jazz it was just flat. It’s in a great area and they have some really great food options but if you’re looking to be completely transported to New Orleans, you will be disappointed. Hopefully after being open for awhile will allow them to update their decor so I can eat alligator like I was in Louisiana for real!