Cajun hot spot is wickedly spicy and completely delightful
Sherbrooke in N.D.G. sometimes makes Montreal winter look like the grimiest, grayest time imaginable. But step through the door of La Louisiane and you’ll be magically teleported to a better and warmer place.
You’ll feel you’ve been swept along the Mississippi River to New Orleans as you wander into the dimly lit, cozy jazz bar.
What struck my aunt and I as we entered was the romantic feel. And its empty state—the restaurant only opens at 5:30 pm and we were there too early. The kind staff let us sit at a table while glasses were set out and candles lit.
The restaurant is one rather small room with a long wooden bar and an open kitchen, from which we could see tall columns of fire bursting from gas burners.
The back wall is painted with a huge abstract mural of a jazz band and dramatic-looking masks. The other walls are covered in framed paintings of New Orleans, the vibrant colours bringing the unique charm of a distant city to life.
The high ceiling keeps the restaurant from seeming crammed or claustrophobic. The tables are small and square, neatly covered in crisp, white tablecloths.
The space is open but intimate, perhaps because the jazz/soul music drowns out other diners, wrapping you and your table in a blanket of musical privacy.
We ordered a big basket of sweet potato fries ($5) from the handsome waiter (my aunt suggestively raised her eyebrows at me whenever he walked by).
He recommended the alligator bites ($9.50), but we were reluctant to take a bite of fried reptile.
We also ordered the shrimp magnolia penne plate ($13) and the dinosaur ribs ($23) for my carnivorous, meat-loving companion. The food was out of this world.
The shrimp magnolia consisted of grilled tiger shrimp in a creamy white-wine creole sauce with shallots, served on a bed of penne. It was wickedly spicy and completely delightful. The dinosaur ribs were a steaming pile of scorched, juicy-looking meat that fell off the bones, marinated in a mango sauce and served with a little bowl of hot barbecue sauce and a side of fries.
The inimitable creole food, paired with the unique atmosphere truly sets this restaurant on a prominent pedestal.
Full and happy, we did not order dessert, however we did scan the dessert menu.
We discovered reason enough to come again soon: The Mississippi fudge and pecan torte ($7.50), or the sweetened bananas cooked in buttery liqueur ($7.50).
And the jazz coffees! They sound like the non-fatal equivalent of dying and going to heaven.
Each one named after a jazz artist, these tall-glassed concoctions (ranging between $8 and $8.75) are outrageous but oh-so-tempting blends of coffee and liqueurs.
My aunt and I considered returning the next evening just for dessert and a pair of Ella Fitzgeralds as we tipped the handsome waiter and slipped into our coats.
Even when the cold Montreal air hit us and snow crunched under our boots, the spiced flavour of our evening lingered, along with the fading notes of a soulful tune.
La Louisiane, 5850 Sherbrooke W. 514-369-3073, lalouisiane.ca