Restaurant Review: Bubba’s Bistro, Astoria, New York – Downhome Cookin’ with a French Twist

By Jonathan Spira on 6 March 2017
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Sometimes a visit to a favorite restaurant simply doesn’t work out. That was the case recently when I went to what had become my favorite restaurant for downhome Southern cooking, Sugar Freak. My dining companion and I parked on the busy street, walked down the block, and were dismayed by the darkness of the entrance. It had closed the day before.

Still in the mood for Southern cuisine as it was the day after Mardi Gras, we both consulted our iPhones and settled on Bubba’s Bistro, which was a six-minute drive from where we were, and a kitchen under the command of a French-Greek chef.

As we arrived, we mentioned to the person seating us that we had come because Sugar Freak had closed, something we found puzzling. “Your waiter used to work there,” he told us. “He’ll fill you in.”
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Many Northerners fail to realize how nuanced southern cooking is: images of fried chicken and grits seem to overpower everything else. In particular, New Orleans cuisine, which is the mainstay of Bubba’s Bistro’s menu (as was the case at Sugar Freak), is heavily influenced by Creole and Cajun cooking as well as by soul food. If you enjoy Andouille, Bananas Foster, Étoufée, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Oysters Rockefeller, or Turtle Soup, thank New Orleans.

“They have fried pickles!” my dining companion exclaimed with delight at the crisp and delicious dish, which was accompanied by honey-mustard and spicy ranch dip. Equally exquisite were the New Orleans Crab Cakes, served with rémoulade sauce.

Portion and pickle sizes were generous. We expected two crab cakes: three extraordinarily flavorful ones were served.

Click here to continue to Page 2Difficult Decisions: Jambalaya or Filet of Sole?

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