We heard it sizzle before we saw it. Our server at Cecelia Creole Bistro convinced us that we had to order the cornbread appetizer, so we decided to split it between the two of us.
She did not, however, tell us about its size. She carried out a skillet of cornbread, still bubbling around the edges, with a mitt over the skillet handle. It was a dense, pancake-sized portion that smelled like a pancake, too, with a maple-bourbon glaze and whipped cinnamon butter on the side.
We couldn’t help but laugh—cornbread that could feed five and pass for dessert was not what we expected, but that’s half the fun of it. (The other half: eating it, of course.)
In the same way, Cecelia defied our expectations of what Creole food should be.
Reading the menu, we noticed the turtle soup includes a crawfish-boiled egg. The fried oysters are dressed with pepper jelly and cream made from Boursin cheese. Sure, Cecelia has classic Louisiana dishes like po-boys, crawfish etouffee and crab cakes. But it’s got an edge, too. It’s Creole, updated.
After a couple of servings of cornbread, the poached seafood salad I ordered—even with its mayo-based dressing—seemed like a good, sensible call. The salad consisted of shrimp and crabmeat, beefsteak tomatoes and mixed greens, drizzled with avocado crema. It was creamy, fresh and filling, just right for a lunch entree.
The grilled redfish sandwich was stacked tall with lettuce, tomato and pickles on a wheat bun. Red remoulade packed a punch of flavor. On the side were enough potato chips for me to snag a few without making a dent. The house chips were sliced to a generous size and seasoned to perfection.
We left Cecelia, boxed-up cornbread leftovers in hand, agreeing that we’d be back.