NOLA in Palo Alto, California = C Rated Boudin
Cajun Boudin Bites
It is a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. So, when we heard that a New Orleans/Louisiana themed restaurant in California’s Silicon Valley served alligator boudin . . . . . . Well, we just had to hop on the next plane to Palo Alto, CA. And, here’s what we can tell you: Stay in Louisiana for your boudin (alligator, deer, pork, crawfish, shrimp, chicken or whatever)!
The menu lists the boudin as “Cajun Boudin Bites – housemade alligator boudin sausage, served with creole mustard, arugula and butternut squash salad.” And, so, for $10 you get precisely 8 small discs of boudin and some salad that you probably don’t really want.
The boudin is just not very good. The little discs are pan fried to give them a crisped exterior and that’s nice. However, the flavor is “off.” To be honest, they tasted a little freezer burned/not fresh. Alligator doesn’t have much of any flavor to it and not much fat, so usually chefs add pork to the alligator. Hard to tell if they did that here at NOLA because the other spices are fairly overpowering and some of them are foreign to what we’d typically expect to taste in boudin. Now, to be fair, they openly say that their recipes are “not always authentic” and that’s fine. Something doesn’t have to be “authentic” to be good. But, it if misses on both attempts . . . . well, that’s a problem.
Ambiance: We have to give it to them: NOLA is a great looking restaraunt with a fun Louisiana vibe. In fact, we were seated in a room filled with original art work by Lafayette’s own Robert Harris (King Rob) - King Rob is usually the M.C. at the annual Boudin Cook-Off. Fun!!
(Update – a look at NOLA’s menu in January 2015 indicates that this item is no longer available.)