Bourbon Street Hideaway

135 W. Columbia Street
Fort Wayne, IN

A charming subterranean restaurant that literally transports patrons straight to the Crescent City!  If you are looking for something different - this is the place for you.  Descending the stone stairs into the low ceiling, low lighted, stone walled cavern enters you into Cajun land for sure.  Between the wall decor, the New Orleans jazz music piped throughout the restaurant (a little too loudly), the beads on the table, and Cajun smells drifting from the kitchen- diners are definitely enveloped by a full sensory experience. 

The restaurant is so dark, we didn't know the baby was in the mouth of the gator until we looked at this photo.

Water fountain in the corner - interesting!

The inside of the menu - doesn't it scream NOLA with it's colorful design.

The restaurant's door clearly says the restaurant opens at 5:00 (fyi, that doesn't mean 4:55), I waited on the street being passed by many pedestrians that made me feel somewhat unsafe.  Really don't know why my 5:00 reservation couldn't allow the door to be opened at 4:55, but it wasn't.  When the bartender ascended the stairs to unlock the door, she made no eye contact, no smile, no verbal greeting - boy, did I feel like she was happy I/we were there!  When we descended the stairs a minute later, we were greeted equally indifferently even somewhat rudely.  I seriously cannot understand how that can be acceptable behavior in this day in age especially in a city where there is a LOT of competition for patron's money.  Really everyone? Come on - let's start valuing and welcoming patrons from the very first second they arrive.  It's not hard to do - smile and say "Hi" that's all that's required!

There are some delicious options at BSH - Adams L started off with the evening's special, Strawberry Lemondrop.  YUM!  This tasted exactly like pink lemondade - wow, it was remarkable.  It is served in a frosted glass complimented with a lemon wedge and a sugar rim.  To quote Adams L, "OH MY GOSH, YUM!"

 I started with a Blue Ocean - skip this one.  It was NOT good.  I really did not enjoy it.  I drank it quickly so I could move on to something better.  It would not be classified as a "stiff" drink - it was more for show with it's beautiful blue color which was off set with a beautiful orange slice.  Really a disappointment, sigh!

 Allen L broke with tradition and ordered something other than a martini - GASP!  She selected a Bourbon Street Hurricane - just look at it - doesn't it SCREAM summer goodness!!!!!  Oh my goodness - run, don't walk to the BSH to get this drink!!!  It's adult fruit punch with an attitude.  The fruity combination topped with a beautiful orange and cherry garnish was absolute bliss!  Yes, this IS THE DRINK TO ORDER!  WOOOOOO, party at our table!

Adams L is known for taking risks when it comes to appetizers.  She sometimes jumps in with both feet and we never really know how it will pan out. . . . score one for her on this selection.  We shared the Royal Street Cajun Flatbread appetizer.  Seriously, all you need to know is that this is AWESOME!  You absolutely must try this one.  The crispy outside and softer inside is topped with cheese, shredded chicken, and a creamy sauce that is what taste buds dream about. 

As you can see, it was so good a slice was eaten even before I could snap a pix.

Although the bread tastes homemade and features a crusty exterior protective shell surrounding the soft inside goodness.  The bread is perfect and delicious - too bad it's one of the few things not made on-site.

Each of us selected the House Salad.  It features pickeled red onions, golden raisins, spiced pecans, and is tossed together with a sherry herb vinigrette dressing which is oily and not very tasty.  This salad was not what we were expecting.  It has been about 2 years since we were last at BSH and we remember the salad being over the top delicious.  This was "just a salad".  If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you'll see it's mostly lettuce with 2 thin red onion rings, 4 golden raisins, and enough pecan pieces to make half of a pecan.  We were truly disappointed in the "cheapness" of the salad during this visit. 

Adams L got a cup of Gumbo with her meal.  It was thick and almost could be eaten with a fork.  The flavors played together perfectly like children at recess.  The gumbo was delicious.  She said that the large shrimp pieces, chunky cheese, and peppers were all well prepared together.  To her surprise, the bottom of the cup was lined with rice - kind of like finding buried treasure.

Allen L had long been excited to return to BSH so she could enjoy the Cognac Shrimp Bisque.  To her disappointment the soup did not live up to her expectations.  It had "lots and lots" of shells that she was constantly picking out of her mouth - truly bothersome.  The little pieces of shrimp paired with the base to create a different tasting type of soup.  She recommends that you not head straight over to BSH just to get this soup. 

 All 3 of us ordered from the 3 course meal menu for $21.95.  Despite our server's honest comments about the dish, Allen L and I opted for the crab stuffed shrimp anyway.  There was a LOT of crab meat - way more crab than shrimp.  The mushy and bland crab stuffing was plentiful, but boring.  The shrimp were served atop canned corn - lots of it.  The corn was drowning in a spicy sauce that kept it interesting.  Allen L said if you are looking for something different, then this is the dish for you. 

Adams L selected the Scallops with Spinach Au Gratin for her entree.  She said it was served in a light creamy sauce.  She was very disappointed in the trace amount of spinach that came with the dish especially since "spinach" was in the title of the entree. The meal was paired with a side of Cajun rice.  It was a large portion and a good blend of white and wild rice. 

Because we have longed for the absolutely delicious Jambalaya.  We have talked about how amazing it was during our previous visit and definitely wanted to have it on this visit.  It too has changed from our previous visit.  Although it wasn't disappointing, it was not quite as we expected it.  The shredded chicken was tough and extremely chewy.  The Andouille sausage was there, but didn't pack a powerful punch as one would expect.  The dish was topped with 4 large shrimp which were good, but also, not loaded with the flavor you would expect for such a dish. 

Because we ordered from the 3 course meal, desserts were included.  Adams L chose the Sweet Potato Pecan Pie with vanilla ice cream and caramel drizzle.  As expected, the sweet potatoes were grainy and of course, not as sweet as regular pecan pie.  Adams L said it was easy to eat at the end of the meal.  She said the caramel was a deluxe addition and really sweetened it up. 

I selected the Chocolate Mint Pie.  It was beautifully presented with the puff of whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, and bits of crushed Andes mints thrown about.  It is much richer and much thicker than one would expect.  It was more like a cheesecake than a mouse.  It did contain deep embedded flavors that made every bit indulgent. 

Shocker, Allen L chose the Creme Brule, naturally!   This was unique in that it was a Praline version.  Ohhhh and was it delicious!  It almost had a hint of chocolate flavor.  The homemade Praline was sinfully delicious as the sugar melted in your mouth.  Allen L said that as she enjoyed each bite, the heavy cream flavor coated her lips and tongue.  She said it was heavenly.  This photo also shows the unique and charming table decorations of beads and mini lanterns. 

Although the bartender, Bristol, was a talented mixologist, she was the unfriendly greeter.  I was pleased that our contact with her negativity was limited.  Our server, Stacey, was very good.  She was cheerful and knowledgeable.  She was attentive and made our evening enjoyable. 

I only have a couple of comments about the restroom.  The restaurant went to great stakes to create an ambiance and vibe that oozed NOLA; however, in the ladies' room, you will find taped up calendar pictures that have taped on captions.  Really?  You charge $18 for Jambalya and you're going to tape on captions to the calendar photos  . . . glue stick?  cheap frames?  Really?  Come on!!!!!  SCREAMS CHEAP!!!!!!!! What corners are you cutting in the kitchen????? 

All in all, we feel this restaurant is a good choice for a fun evening away.  There is no doubt, you'll forget about the weather and the life's stresses happening in the city above.  This is an escape and that is the value this eatery brings to the dining scene. 

Until the next bite - 

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