Restaurant Review: Sugar Freak, Astoria, N.Y. – New Orleans Comfort Food is the Plat du Jour
While many Yankees continue to think of southern cooking as fried chicken, grits, collard greens, biscuits, and sweet tea, and presume this is all the same anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, the south’s cuisine is rather nuanced and varies greatly by location.
One standout is New Orleans’ cuisine. While Louisiana and, more specifically, New Orleans, are geographically and politically part of the south, its cuisine reflects its Cajun, Creole, and French roots: seafood, chicken, gumbo, okra, the list goes on and on.
Walking into Sugar Freak transports the diner into another world, one that is very eclectic to say the least. The very prominent bar dominates the front half of the establishment, and tables across from it are actually Lucite frames filled with pictures. There are booths in the back with wall coverings that are clearly an attempt to recall someone’s grandmother’s apartment. The shell of a 1950s television set is used to hold supplies (the picture only changes as the supplies go in and out).
We literally stumbled upon Sugar Freak after finding that another southern-style restaurant in Astoria was closed for a private party. We were so taken by its charm and menu that we’ve been back several times since.
Several times we’ve started with chicken and dumplings, which is a thick soup (one can eat it with a fork and knife), with dumplings cooked in the chicken broth. While this dish isn’t representative of New Orleans, it’s about as southern as you can get. More recently, we had the gumbo, a stew with chicken, Andouille sausage, which is served in a dark roux with rice. The portion is large enough for two and very, very satisfying.
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