Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Couple of East Side Local Spots

I’m typically a little suspicious of places that call themselves “Cajun”. All too often what it means up here in Ohio is that they burn the hell out of the customer’s mouth and call it Cajun. Well, the authentic stuff involves a little more than that. It’s a developed heat that doesn’t coat your palate but instead presents itself when you exhale. It’s nothing painful, just a pleasing twinge in the back of your throat. If done correctly my nose runs just a tad, not the full on faucet you get with most places.

One of the knocks I had heard about Battiste & Dupree was that the service was slow. That may well be, but I got my Shrimp Ettoufe to go. It took five minutes. I can see how it could be slow if the place was full (there’s seating for about 15), because there are only two people working there.

Let’s talk food. The Shrimp Ettoufe was the real thing, not “burn your mouth bullshit”. Full of peppers, onions, shrimp, rice, and about 5 good sized shrimp, it was very satisfying. Service? The gentleman working was very professional and looked like he had been in the military. Wearing a ball cap that was folded just so, an upright way about him, a firm handshake, he thanked me for coming in and made me want to come back. I really enjoy going to places that take a tremendous amount of pride in what they do. I will be back, and would suggest going if you enjoy authentic Cajun food. Since I don’t like to wait, it seems to be the perfect “to go” kind of place.

Update: November 2nd, 2010
This place still kicks ass. Some will grumble at the prices, but you have to understand that it's a business and not a hobby. The Shrimp Po Boy is the real deal. The roll is a crusty but soft and doesn't destroy the roof of your mouth. The shrimp are cooked with an ever-so-delicate batter that only adds to the sublime texture of the bread. This is as perfect a marriage as your going to find between bread, protein, and fixins - absolutely not to be missed. I've included a picture of the sandwich as well as a scan of the menu, now you have everything you need to order one of the best sandwiches in Cleveland.

Update: November 20th, 2011
 Old Junior still has it. I'm a sucker for this place. Smooth, steady, and not willing to take short cuts in order to get the food out of the kitchen to a dining room full of impatient white folks. I had called about an hour before and they told me it would be about 45 minutes. Whenever I call I show up late. I drove down to Whole Foods and bought some beer, farted around the store a little bit, and then made my way to B+D. Was the food ready? Of course it wasn't, but I knew that going into the deal.

Shrimp Po Boy
 The guy at the counter asked me what I had ordered and then got this worried look on his face like, "You're not gonna make me ask Junior how long your order's going to take, are you?" I told him, "Easy. He knows what's going on. When it's done, it's done. I know when I get it home he will have made for me the best Shrimp Po' Boy he possibly can. Just let him cook."

I guess my way of looking at it is this: If I don't like it, I can always go to Fat Fish Blue, right? Oh wait, they shut down didn't they?

I've included a copy of the updated menu:

New Menu Page 1
New Menu Page 2

Battiste + Dupree Cajun Grill
1992 Warrensville Center Rd
Cleveland, OH 44121
(216) 381-3341

Battiste & Dupree Cajun Grill on Urbanspoon

Make sure to check here for more Cleveland posts

On Friday I had to run a few errands, so I figured I’d hit an old favorite (J. Pistone) and a place I’d never been (Battiste & Dupree).

Located a few blocks from the Six Points intersection in Shaker Heights, J Pistone serves the local residents and businesses. The store consists of a deli section that offers soups, sandwiches, sides, and desserts. Apart from the food part of their business, they also have a small wine section.

I’ve had the soup, the lobster bisque to be specific, and I’m not really a fan. The bisque had shreds of lobster; not chunks. In my opinion, it wasn’t very good. The sandwiches are okay. There’s nothing that blows me away about the lunch items, but they’re no better or worse than, say, Panera.

The desserts are a different story. They are very good. They’re actually the most reasonably priced items here. My personal favorite is the giant S’More. Made with ample chocolate, this thing is worth the price of admission. I go here for one reason only, the S’More.

Update: November 2nd, 2010
S'More (pictured above) continues to be one of my favorites. The lemon curd cookies as well as the macarons (not maca-roons), when available, are quick sellers. Get there for lunch to catch the macarons, they're usually gone by dinner time.

J. Pistone Market and Gathering Place
3245 Warrensville Center Rd
Shaker Heights, OH 44122
(216) 283-3663

J. Pistone Market and Gathering Place on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. My wife and I recently moved away from Cleveland, but always return to see Junior when we're in town. Sure, you should be prepared to spend at least 2 1/2 hours when dining in. But, you'll be in good company with other cajun food-loving customers and an odd collection of pseudo-employees and regular bar patrons that just make you shake your head and laugh. Hell, last time we were there, Junior was so busy we walked behind the bar and helped ourselves to bottles of Abita from his refrigerator, at one point even serving his bar customers. Junior didn't care - he was too busy cooking the best gumbo I've ever tasted. At the end of the night, when we asked Junior for our bill, he handed us a blank piece of paper and a menu and asked us to tally it up. Did we drink 7 Turbo Dogs or 8? Battiste and Dupree is one of a kind. You won't find a better bowl of jambalaya or a more sincere restauranteur anywhere.