new Things I Ate in Cambodia: The Chill Out Cafe, Round Two

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Chill Out Cafe, Round Two

Chill Out Cafe
729 Burdette St
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 872-9628

The Chill Out Cafe is an oddity. The pleasant little joint's menu features American breakfast specialities co-existing with a selection of Thai and Chinese dishes, allowing guests to (theoretically) enjoy an omelet and a cup of gumbo with their Pad Thai. Even more remarkably, the Thai side of the menu - the only stuff I've tried here - is surprisingly good, which is a real wonderful thing in this Asian food challenged city. It's a family place with cheap prices and a laid-back vibe. Don't come here expecting either your food or yourself to get hustled out. Hanging out here on a lovely spring evening watching foot traffic go by? Ideal.

Yes, these are Iphone photos. Yes, I am going to hell.

My friend had the red seafood curry, which was very nice: fresh tasting variety seafood without that Look at Me I Was Once Frozen flavor, and a really rich, thick coconut milk sauce. Some places really half-ass red curry since people are foolish and don't know any better, but the Chill Out Cafe nailed this one.

I had the hot basil seafood, which featured the same fresh n' tasty seafood combination in a spicy chili sauce with basil stir-fried into it. This was pretty good, if not the best version of this dish I've ever had. There's this specific smoky flavor that comes from roasted chili paste that wasn't quite smacking me in the mouth here. Still, very tasty and the price was right at 12 bucks.

We also tried the garlic shrimp with broccoli. It's a pretty simple Chinese dish but was done well, with perfectly cooked shrimp in a mildly spicy (and a little cornstarchy) garlic sauce, as well as some steamed broccoli.

Portion sizes at the Chill Out Cafe are on the small side. It's probably a price slashing effort, but be aware if you happen to be dining with some strapping young college guys: order more then you might otherwise expect to. Try the seafood salad with fresh lime if it's a hot day - you won't regret it.

The Chill Out Cafe offers authentic, cheap, and rather under-appreciated Asian food on Maple Street, providing a pleasant alternative to the horrors of pizza at the Doors Pub or some sort of deep fried thing at one of the blocks many high quality and incredibly classy bars. Tulane kids, take note.