The only thing lacking from Fort Worth’s own CafÂ New Orleans is a couple of waiters and a man playing a soulful jazz trombone. Other than that, it’s not too bad.Dwarfed in the mega-shadow of Central Market and often passed by in favor of Cold Stone Creamery, it is as though this intimate setting is yearning to be overlooked and forgotten, left only for friends and lovers looking to hide or possibly students searching for a quiet place to study.
Either way, this slice of Cajun pie captures well the intimate, grungy, sweet southern comfort atmosphere that is New Orleans. Ceramic masks hung on corrugated tin juxtaposed against burnished wood and classic black and white photography call forth the difference between the raw, unbridled passion of Mardi Gras and the “grand-old-south” establishment that is the Big Easy itself.
The food, meanwhile, maintains such down-home-cookin’ traditions as red beans and rice, muffuletta sandwiches and jambalaya. However, the power of the bayou lies in the soul of its food, and sadly to say, this food lacked soul. House Specialties such as “Mardi Gras” and “Andouille” pastas, although maintaining signature meats such as crawfish and andouille sausage, find themselves in bland sauces and lack any semblance of “kick.” Sandwiches meant to be hot are served cold and in poor time.
Perhaps I might be more positive to the menu, but my disillusionment was only furthered by a 30-minute wait for a table of eight in a restaurant only half-full.
Service continued to be poor, but perhaps this was due to a lack of waiters. In our stay, my party only witnessed two active waiters for a restaurant easily full of 25 to 35 diners.
But I may be acting unfair to a place booked as a “cafÂ,” not having truly given due to its primary dishes of beignets and cafÂ au lait. For those two things, I applaud CafÂ New Orleans and say “Merci.” But what is made up for in pastry is lost in food that lacks the excitement of Bourbon Street, and for this reason, I must give a disinterested “Meh,” for an overall job done “so-so.”