Tel: 01-5328845; www.krewe.ie
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing they say, but the opposite can also be true. Krewe is a new ‘New Orleans-inspired’ restaurant on Capel St and I am equally the very best and the very worst person to review it.
Some cards on the table: I’ve been to Louisiana, New Orleans, and Cajun country, and I’ve been immersing myself in the food and music since I read my first Dave Robicheaux novel in 1995. I’ve watched the TV series Treme about five times (from The Wire creator David Simon and set in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina), I’ve eaten in Donald Link’s Herbsaint and Susan Spicer’s Bayona, I’ve had Bananas Foster in Brennans, Beignets in the Café du Monde, I’ve seen Walter Wolfman Washington live on Frenchman St and I’ve had a stripper throw me beads from a balcony on Bourbon St.
Krewe is named for the social grouping that gets together in NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) to make a parade float or an event for Carnival season. New Orleans invented Jazz but its music these days is quite diverse, just don’t expect any in Krewe, yes there was trad Jazz in the toilets but the sound system in the restaurant belted out Disco, Motown, Stax, and R&B — upbeat music but with zero connection to New Orleans.
I first visited Krewe for lunch to try their Po’ Boys, surely the world’s greatest sandwich if done well (ideally with fried oysters). Sadly Krewe’s Po’ Boys have kept the name but nothing else as they are presented as an open sandwich to eat with a knife and fork. My BBQ Shrimp Po’ Boy was tasty enough (if completely untraditional) but also rather bland with the chilli salsa and chipotle mayo making little impression.
I visited later the same day for dinner with an old friend and the room was noisy and jammed,impressive given it was the second Thursday in January. We had booked but we were happy enough at the bar while we waited. A fine idea as it happened as the cocktail list is creative and includes some NOLA classics — my guest’sLouisiana Bowler was delicious and my Sazerac was pitch-perfect, one of the best I’ve tasted. Thirty minutes later our table was finally ready and as an apology we were not charged for our cocktails.
As creative as the cocktail list is, the wine list is the opposite, the most boring and conventional list I’ve seen in the last three years, but having said that, ourinexpensive Farnio Rosso Piceno (€27) was fruity and bright and suited the food.
The menu’s ratio of NOLA vs Dublin 2020 is about one to five, but items like the Crayfish Roll (€9) sounded promising. Strangely it was crayfish on brioche toast rather than a roll and needed more seasoning, but my Buttermilk Chicken Tenders by contrast were rather wondrous with a perfect crisp shell encasing tender tasty chicken with a properly tangy Aioli dip.
Our mains arrived an hour after our starters but we were not that bothered as the conversation and the wine were flowing. It did bother us that tables nearby were being cleaned with a particularly strong disinfectant that lingered in the air for an unpleasant 10 minutes.
Blackened Cod (€19) had a good flavour on its crust but the flesh tasted of damp paper as it had been badly overcooked. MyJambalaya (€16) however wasexcellent with good-qualitysausage and shrimp and a nicemelange of flavours and spices.
Of the two desserts the Beignet Bowl (€5.50) was easily the best with four correctly-made fluffy doughnuts dusted with icing sugar and two good dipping sauces — dark chocolate and caramel; my Pecan Pie (€7) was tasty enough but rather mushy with little pecan definition.
So, in conclusion, this was a meal of contrasts and almost impossible for the marks below to reflect this: the Jambalaya was an 8/10 but the blackened cod was a 4/10; theBeignets a 9/10; the Pecan Pie a6/10; the wine list a 3/10, but the cocktails a 9/10.
You are probably way less fussy than me so I do encourage you to try Krewe as there were some good dishes, staff were excellent, and we had a fun night despite my nitpicking.
Dinner for two with two bottles of wine, two starters, two mains and two desserts cost €122.30
Monday to Friday: 12pm to midnight
Saturday: 11am to 1am
Sunday: 11am to 11pm
In a sentence: A sort of New Orleans-inspired restaurant with great cocktails but just one or two actual Cajun-Creole dishes mixed in with cauliflower wings, burgers and steaks.