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Gumbo Bros.’ roast beef with debris gravy po’boy
Gumbo Bros.’ roast beef with debris gravy po’boy
Photo by Nick Solares

Where to Find NYC's Top Cajun-Creole Restaurants

Gumbo, jambalaya, and po’ boy sandwiches await

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Gumbo Bros.’ roast beef with debris gravy po’boy
| Photo by Nick Solares

Cajun-Creole cuisine has never been as well known in New York City as it should be. The rich dishes were all the rage in Harlem during the first half of the 20th century, but not so much afterwards. Famously, Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme opened a K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen here in the 1980s, which closed by the ’90s.

But over the last decade, Cajun-Creole has re-established its presence here, mainly via small, inexpensive places turning out rich gumbos, saucy etouffees, smoky jambalayas, and crunchy po’ boy sandwiches. Here are eight of NYC’s top restaurants serving the rich fare.

Note: This map is arranged geographically, south through Manhattan and north through Brooklyn and Queens.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Infirmary NYC

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1720 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10128
(917) 388-2512
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Named after the classic New Orleans song “St. James Infirmary,” this Upper East Side spot is the city’s most ambitious and elegant restaurants evoking the food of Louisiana. Roasted oysters and praline beignets are in a Creole vein, Cane River gumbo and boudin balls are more Cajun, while lamb meatball po’ boys and Cajun hummus are pure invention. Classic cocktails like the Sazerac and the hurricane are available, along with a roster of Abita beers.

Roast beef po’ boy with debris gravy at Infirmary NYC
Roast beef po’ boy with debris gravy
Robert Sietsema

2. Great Jones Cafe

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54 Great Jones St A
New York, NY 10012
(212) 674-9304
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This East Village sentimental favorite, founded in 1983, mounts a menu half Cajun-Creole, the other half a mixture of Southern cooking, barbecue, and other comfort food, sometimes creatively tweaked. That said, there are some unique Cajun dishes found almost nowhere else: tchoupitoulas chicken, fried oysters, inventive po’ boys, and Creole wings, for example. An Elvis lamp burns forever in the window.

The fried oysters with remoulade at Great Jones Cafe
Fried oysters with remoulade
Robert Sietsema

3. Cheeky Sandwiches

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35 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002
(646) 504-8132
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This is one of the few Manhattan places to score an oyster or shrimp po’ boy, and there’s a vegetarian muffuletta that ain’t half bad. Though these are the limits of the Cajun-Creole menu at this small sandwich shop tucked away on the Lower East Side, other choices strike Louisiana notes, including fried chicken and short rib sandwiches that come slathered with horseradish.

The oyster po’ boy at Cheeky Sandwich
Oyster po’ boy
Robert Sietsema

4. Gumbo Bros.

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224 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(917) 909-1471
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Opened by a pair of LSU alums in 2016, Gumbo Bros. specializes in po’ boy sandwiches washed down with mugs of Louisiana beer in a narrow space decorated like the French Quarter. The roast beef po’ boy smothered in “debris gravy” is superb, and three gumbos vie for attention; the best features chicken and andouille sausage.

Catfish po’ boy at Gumbo Bros.
Catfish po’ boy
Robert Sietsema

5. Cafe Booqoo

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478 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 858-2358
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Started by New Orleans native Matt Pace, Café Booqoo concentrates on po’ boys, meal-size salads, beignets, and other breakfasts, relegating gumbo and jambalaya to sides. Those sides are very good, though, with a jambalaya that’s thick and tomatoey. A chalkboard translates Cajun French expressions, including “beaucoup” (pronounced “booqoo”), which means lots of anything.

Cafe Booqoo’s jambalaya
Jambalaya
Robert Sietsema

6. Catfish

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1433 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11216
(347) 305-3233
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Unfurling a fleur-de-lis flag in the front window, Catfish displays the sass of a real New Orleans bistro in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights. Brunches shine in particular, washed down with beer and mixed drinks, including an exemplary chicken fried steak with white gravy and fried eggs, a blackened catfish po’ boy, and eggs scrambled with andouille and bacon.

Catfish’s chicken fried steak with cream gravy
Chicken fried steak with cream gravy
Robert Sietsema

7. Tchoup Shop

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50 Wyckoff Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(347) 223-2710
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A semi-permanent Cajun pop-up is found in Bushwick at Heavy Woods, which really does resemble a dive bar in Louisiana. Go right to the fried boudin balls for a taste of the funkier Cajun stuff, or maybe grab some pork cracklin’, which are considered breakfast back home. Via chef Simon Glenn, the duck and okra gumbo is spectacular, and so is the crawfish mac and cheese.

Boudin balls from Tchoup Shop at Heavy Woods
Boudin balls
Robert Sietsema

8. Sugar Freak

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37-11 30th Ave
Queens, NY 11103
(718) 606-1900
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Located along Astoria’s 30th Avenue brunch strip, Sugar Freak boasts a premises that provides plenty of outdoor seating, and a cozy indoors when cold weather arrives. The sprawling Cajun and Creole menu is well done, including seafood boils, crawfish etouffee, Creole soups, and the legendary muffuletta, a round sandwich made famous by NO’s Central Grocery. Cocktails are plenty stiff.

The chicken and sausage gumbo at Sugar Freak
Chicken and sausage gumbo
Robert Sietsema

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1. Infirmary NYC

1720 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128
Roast beef po’ boy with debris gravy at Infirmary NYC
Roast beef po’ boy with debris gravy
Robert Sietsema

Named after the classic New Orleans song “St. James Infirmary,” this Upper East Side spot is the city’s most ambitious and elegant restaurants evoking the food of Louisiana. Roasted oysters and praline beignets are in a Creole vein, Cane River gumbo and boudin balls are more Cajun, while lamb meatball po’ boys and Cajun hummus are pure invention. Classic cocktails like the Sazerac and the hurricane are available, along with a roster of Abita beers.

1720 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10128

2. Great Jones Cafe

54 Great Jones St A, New York, NY 10012
The fried oysters with remoulade at Great Jones Cafe
Fried oysters with remoulade
Robert Sietsema

This East Village sentimental favorite, founded in 1983, mounts a menu half Cajun-Creole, the other half a mixture of Southern cooking, barbecue, and other comfort food, sometimes creatively tweaked. That said, there are some unique Cajun dishes found almost nowhere else: tchoupitoulas chicken, fried oysters, inventive po’ boys, and Creole wings, for example. An Elvis lamp burns forever in the window.

54 Great Jones St A
New York, NY 10012

3. Cheeky Sandwiches

35 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
The oyster po’ boy at Cheeky Sandwich
Oyster po’ boy
Robert Sietsema

This is one of the few Manhattan places to score an oyster or shrimp po’ boy, and there’s a vegetarian muffuletta that ain’t half bad. Though these are the limits of the Cajun-Creole menu at this small sandwich shop tucked away on the Lower East Side, other choices strike Louisiana notes, including fried chicken and short rib sandwiches that come slathered with horseradish.

35 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002

4. Gumbo Bros.

224 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Catfish po’ boy at Gumbo Bros.
Catfish po’ boy
Robert Sietsema

Opened by a pair of LSU alums in 2016, Gumbo Bros. specializes in po’ boy sandwiches washed down with mugs of Louisiana beer in a narrow space decorated like the French Quarter. The roast beef po’ boy smothered in “debris gravy” is superb, and three gumbos vie for attention; the best features chicken and andouille sausage.

224 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11201

5. Cafe Booqoo

478 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Cafe Booqoo’s jambalaya
Jambalaya
Robert Sietsema

Started by New Orleans native Matt Pace, Café Booqoo concentrates on po’ boys, meal-size salads, beignets, and other breakfasts, relegating gumbo and jambalaya to sides. Those sides are very good, though, with a jambalaya that’s thick and tomatoey. A chalkboard translates Cajun French expressions, including “beaucoup” (pronounced “booqoo”), which means lots of anything.

478 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11231

6. Catfish

1433 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216
Catfish’s chicken fried steak with cream gravy
Chicken fried steak with cream gravy
Robert Sietsema

Unfurling a fleur-de-lis flag in the front window, Catfish displays the sass of a real New Orleans bistro in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights. Brunches shine in particular, washed down with beer and mixed drinks, including an exemplary chicken fried steak with white gravy and fried eggs, a blackened catfish po’ boy, and eggs scrambled with andouille and bacon.

1433 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11216

7. Tchoup Shop

50 Wyckoff Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
Boudin balls from Tchoup Shop at Heavy Woods
Boudin balls
Robert Sietsema

A semi-permanent Cajun pop-up is found in Bushwick at Heavy Woods, which really does resemble a dive bar in Louisiana. Go right to the fried boudin balls for a taste of the funkier Cajun stuff, or maybe grab some pork cracklin’, which are considered breakfast back home. Via chef Simon Glenn, the duck and okra gumbo is spectacular, and so is the crawfish mac and cheese.

50 Wyckoff Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237

8. Sugar Freak

37-11 30th Ave, Queens, NY 11103
The chicken and sausage gumbo at Sugar Freak
Chicken and sausage gumbo
Robert Sietsema

Located along Astoria’s 30th Avenue brunch strip, Sugar Freak boasts a premises that provides plenty of outdoor seating, and a cozy indoors when cold weather arrives. The sprawling Cajun and Creole menu is well done, including seafood boils, crawfish etouffee, Creole soups, and the legendary muffuletta, a round sandwich made famous by NO’s Central Grocery. Cocktails are plenty stiff.

37-11 30th Ave
Queens, NY 11103

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