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Creole Country

Cajun, New Orleans Creole and African-French Creole are three distinct cuisines.

On my second visit to the Creole Shack, I taste the difference. Roland Curry's style of Creole is part African, part Choctaw Indian, part French and part Spanish, he tells me. "It's a little different from Cajun food, with more tomato sauces and different spices," Curry says.

The Creole Shack's shrimp étouffée drowns juicy shrimp in a spicy sauce, which is made with a little roux and a lot of tomatoes, green peppers and onions. It's different from Cajun shrimp étouffées, which are brown sauces thickened with dark roux. It's closer to a New Orleans shrimp Creole, only spicier.

My buddy gets okra Creole, which is perhaps the most unique illustration of black country Creole on the menu. It's a spicy hash of okra (African); corn and peppers (Native American); onion, celery and andouille sausage (French); and shrimp in a thick tomato sauce (Spanish), served on a plate with French bread. It's like nothing I've ever seen in a Cajun restaurant. Or in a New Orleans Creole restaurant, either.

The Creole Shack: Strutting along that fine line between Cajun and African-French Creole.
Troy Fields
The Creole Shack: Strutting along that fine line between Cajun and African-French Creole.

Location Info

Map

Brennan's of Houston

3300 Smith
Houston, TX 77006

Category: Restaurant > Creole

Region: Montrose

Details

Brennan's of Houston, 3300 Smith, (713)522-9711. Lunch is served Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner is served daily from 5:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Turtle soup: $7
Pecan-crusted fish: $25
Truffled shrimp maque choux:$11
Seafood stew Pontchartrain: $30

Creole Shack, 5519 Caplin, (713)633-3829. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Gumbo, cup: $3; bowl: $5.75
Catfish poor boy: $5.75
Okra Creole: $7.95
Shrimp étouffée: $9.95

The Creole Shack and Brennan's occupy opposite ends of the spectrum. Brennan's is one of Houston's most elegant restaurants, a place to experience historic New Orleans cuisine and some innovations unique to the Bayou City. The Creole Shack is a fun and inexpensive joint whose spicy stews and well-dressed poor boys offer an interesting, if subtle, alternative to Cajun food. Go to Brennan's for a stellar fine-dining experience. Go to the Creole Shack for a poor boy, a cup of gumbo and a jazz show on Friday or Saturday night. Either way, you will be experiencing authentic Creole culture.

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