On the far side of Tulane University, just off the St. Charles Streetcar line, sits a colorful pickup truck in front of a multi-pastel-colored wooden house. It’s Jacques-Imos, the outrageous, unapologetically fun and funky Cajun gem recommended by our contact in New Orleans.
There is surprisingly little online about the restaurant, which seems to be the goal. The website advertises “warm beer, lousy food, poor service” and proudly boasts “Real Nawlins Food Not famous since 1996.” And yet, the place was packed when we pulled up around 9 pm.
We waited for a table in the bar and enjoyed some wine and Purple Haze. The ceiling is covered in paintings, and the room is full of happy customers and all-around good vibes. When our table was ready, the hostess led us through the kitchen to our table in the split-level dining room; the glimpse of the cooks stirring luxurious sauces made me even more excited to eat.
Instead of bread, Jacques-Imos serves cornbread muffins doused in whatever green, garlicky stuff is normally on escargot. They were so spectacular that we ordered a second round (which we definitely didn’t need).
The menu is jam-packed with incredible options. We started with fried grits and the famous alligator cheesecake, which was good but heavy-- especially after four cornbread muffins. My entree was the crawfish etouffee; is was tasty, but I preferred the gumbo at Felix’s. Far and away the most delicious thing we had was the catfish with crawfish dressing, smothered in Hollandaise sauce. I would go back to New Orleans just for that catfish; it was one of the best dishes we had on our entire trip.
There are two dessert options: creme brulee and bread pudding. Both are solidly good, but honestly, I was barely lucid by that point. Being onion-, garlic-, gluten-, legume-, lactose-intolerant in New Orleans is not easy, and by our third day my distended belly and puffy, bloated face made me look about seven months pregnant and feel just as uncomfortable. This meal was a battle-- a battle we lost. We spent the entire night up, sick from overindulgence. But, hey-- it’s not a honeymoon if you aren’t both violently ill in a shared hotel bathroom at some point.
Menu sampling: Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake; Deep Fried Roast Beef Po-Boy with gravy; Fried Green Tomatoes with shrimp remoulade; Paneed Rabbit with shrimp and tasso pasta; Stuffed Catfish with crabmeat dressing and hollandaise; Pan Fried Drum with pecan meuniere
8324 Oak Street, New Orleans, LA
Monday to Thursday 5 pm to 10 pm
Friday and Saturday 5 pm to 10:30 pm