By Jano Tantongco
With its new Louisiana-born and bred executive chef Bobby Bouyer, Storyville American Table continues on its foundation of Creole and Cajun cuisine, with its new lead seeking to further refine and develop a “roller coaster of flavor.”
Bouyer first moved to West Hempstead nine years ago, and took on head chef duties at Delta Grill in Hell’s Kitchen, one block away from Restaurant Row.
“It was like a fish out of water coming from the country, to basically right in the heat of the opposite. It’s so magnified. It’s a different pace,” Bouyer said.
Six years later, he opened up Biscuits & Barbeque in Mineola. And, just months ago, he was appointed as head of Storyville in the “hidden gem” that is Huntington.
He looked back at Louisiana’s 100-year cuisinal history under its belt, melding the tastes of Africans, Native American, Spanish and French.
“Not only did we coexist, but we blended. So, we took a little bit from each culture and then made dishes,” Bouyer said.
He splits his Pelican State roots with the predominantly Creole-tinged northwest city of Alexandria — where he grew up — with his father’s side in the southeast Houma, known for their Cajun flavor.
Wielding 20 years of culinary expertise, he blends the two, but errs on the Creole side. With this in mind, Storyville’s dishes do bring some heat to the table, but it’s mild enough for all kinds of diners.
Strolling through Storyville’s “Garden District,” the Drunken Shrimp and Black Voodoo Rice Salad ($16.95) features large Gulf shrimp soaked in cucumber vodka and cooked on a flat top grill, served alongside black voodoo rice in a Thai sesame dressing with mixed greens. The grilled shrimp brings a bit of spiced heat that perfectly pairs with the fantastically textured and almost creamy rice drizzled with the sesame dressing.
The Southern standard dish of Gumbo ($5.95) pairs excellently with any meal. A hearty seasoned stew, it’s a medley of sultry flavors will tantalize your taste buds with an almost silky smooth texture accented by the chunky bits of sausage and chicken.
For a little “Sumpin Sumpin,” the Chicken Fried Shrimp ($11.95) appetizer plates up fried jumbo Gulf shrimp pounded thin and coated with seasoned flour, spices and buttermilk with smoked sausage country gravy. With a thick crunch, the shrimp is steeped in a rustic flavor that’s compounded by the chunky and meaty gravy that’s almost a dish on its own.
The Fire and Rice Jambalaya ($21.95 with chicken, $23.95 with shrimp or with crawfish, $25.95 with duck) is packed with the Cajun “holy trinity” of onion, green peppers and celery, and seasoned with “heat and love,” all mixed up with tomato, ham, smoked andouille sausage and rice. Infused with a tempered spiciness, it’s a storm of spiced veggies and meats that tickles the palate with joy.
The Hurricane ($12 for a 16 oz. “Category 2,” $16 for a 24 oz. “Category 4”) features dark rum and Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Cocktail Mix, straight from the French Quarter. The Louisiana mainstay is a sweet, cooling burst of fruity flavor that complements the warmer tones of your meal.
The Beignets ($8), brought to Louisiana by the Acadians, are square pieces of dough that are fried and layered thick with powdered sugar. The slightly chewy, slightly flakey beignets are a treat to eat, with each chewy bite destined to be dipped with the paired caramel sauce and topped with a bit of whipped cream.
Storyville American Table
43 Green St.,
Cuisine: Creole and Cajun
Atmosphere: Rustic and laid back
Price: Inexpensive to Moderate
Hours: Monday, 5-10 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday brunch, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., dinner until 9 p.m.