Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lunch at K-Paul's

Back in February 2009, K-Paul's began "deli-style" lunch service on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The premise is simple: the same classic cajun cooking served by K-Paul's at dinner, but in a more casual setting with faster service and at lower prices. Sounds like a winner, right?

Well, not only is lunch service at K-Paul's a winner, it might be the best lunch secret in the Quarter. On a recent visit, I was surprised how few tables were occupied. Our group walked right up to the bar to place our order and were served our food in less than 15 minutes.

The lunch service at K-Paul's works like this:
  1. Order at the bar, where you also pay and grab your drink.
  2. Take a seat anywhere you like in the dining room.
  3. Napkins, condiments, and plastic silverware are on a centrally located table.
  4. Food runners will call your name and then walk the food over to your table.

Each week K-Paul's posts a different lunch menu, on which no dish crosses the $14 threshold. The list usually includes gumbo, a soup special, a few salads, three or four po-boys and the same number of plate lunches. Seafood is prominently featured in many dishes, from the fried shrimp and oyster po-boys to the shrimp corn maque choux and seafood stuffed mirliton. But there is usually one or two down home classics to choose from, such as jambalaya, butter beans, or chicken and waffles.

I particularly enjoyed the fried flounder (above) - an enormous, khaki-crusted fillet fried to perfection. The accompanying cornbread dressing was moist and flavorful, but I missed the alleged shrimp and crabmeat component. But that was no flaw that the rich, roux-thickened gouda and bacon sauce could not ameliorate. And (as if I needed it) each sandwich and plate lunch comes with your one choice of several sides, which includes thinly shaved onion strings fried in a light batter that tasted like funnel cake.

Needless to say, it's tough to go back to the grind after a lunch like this. But thankfully you will finish with enough time to take a slow stroll through the French Quarter... and maybe just one round at the Napoleon House.


Pontchartrain Pete said...

It was the summer before last that some of the staff at the Historic New Orleans Collection a couple of doors down from who clued me in on the deli lunch that had just started up at K-Paul's. I've eaten there 3 or 4 times and it's been my favorite "secret" to send people to, especially when they call ask for a suggestion when the line's too long at place X, Y, or Z. I've never had to wait for a seat there, though I did end up sharing a table with another solo diner one afternoon, who didn't mind a bit when I asked if anyone else was seated at the otherwise empty 4-top.

I've only one complaint, and it's really more nit-picking than anything else: the gumbo, while better than 2/3 of the lunch gumbos I've had in other restaurants, still seems to be missing something.

Anonymous said...

Best uptown lunch: Dat Dog on Freret. A pleasant surprise, though once it gets really hot out, it's not going to be as much fun.

Anonymous said...

Hit this last Friday but was rather unimpressed. Had the fried popcorn crawfish salad po-boy, which while I appreciated the novelty and the creaminess of the added salad, suffered because there was a lack of, well, fried popcorn crawfish. This is a smaller and more expensive po-boy to begin with, and the crawfish didn;t even fill up the bread. The cherry tomatoes and slaw were a nice touch but they dominated the po-boy. When the amount of the dressing greatly exceeds that of the namesake po-boy, you get a thumbs down from me. If you spend $12 on a po-boy you better leave full or it should have foie gras or more exquisite ingredients than tomato and crawfish. My companions said the same about their fired shrimp and oyster po-boys. Try something else.