Our Rating  

The Bayou Kitchen
543 Deering Ave

Five Plates!  
The Bayou Kitchen Reviewed: Fall, 2000

Breakfast in The Bayou! Hot diggedy! I'm surprised all of Portland isn't trying to cram into the cozy confines of The Bayou Kitchen each and every morning. I started my day with a big ol' smile, directly resulting from a pre-work visit to the Bayou.

A Cajun restaurant in Maine, you might ask? It's not as unusual as you would think. Cajuns are descendants of French Acadians whom the British forced from their Nova Scotia homeland in 1785. Local Indians transmuted the word Acadians to Cagians and, eventually, to Cajuns. So, Cajun food, primarily considered Southern cuisine, has northern roots, and origins neighborly to Maine.

This morning, for the second time in a week, my wife and I enjoyed some hearty Bayou food. We happened into The Bayou Kitchen last Saturday for breakfast because she had a craving for a spicy meal. The food was so shout-out-loud delicious that we decided on the spot to return to The Bayou better prepared to report on this great find. Actually, it may be that we're just a little slow in finding out about The Bayou-the restaurant was packed on Saturday morning when we arrived at 9:30, and people waited outside for tables. A bunch of folks clearly knew about The Bayou Kitchen but just weren't sharing their great little secret.

My wife's Saturday treat came in the form of Mudbug Madness, an omelet filled with crawfish, homemade salsa, and cheddar cheese. While I was happy as a frat-boy on Bourbon Street with my choice of Homemade Hash, a heaping plate of fresh homemade corned beef hash and potatoes served with two eggs. All Bayou breakfasts are served with a choice of homies, grits, or beans, and toast. We jumped for the jalapeno and cheese cornbread in the place of toast-it was to roll over and die for! Speaking of that, you know we're not talking health food here… but slap me with a catfish and call me Creole-I don't care! While eating my breakfast, I thought I'd already died and gone to a gluttonous heaven!

A short stack of buttermilk pancakes and two scrambled eggs with The Bayou Kitchen's own homemade salsa started my wife's engine this morning. The salsa, medium spicy, and heavy on the onion received a discriminating nod of approval-delicious. And, the waitress gave her a choice between real maple syrup and "table" syrup for her platter-sized, light, fluffy pancakes. For my breakfast, I picked from the special board between the Zydew Scramble (three eggs, and blackened catfish with green peppers, scallions, and Swiss cheese) and an omelet with Lasso ham, onions, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. To accompany my omelet, I nearly opted for cornbread again until I heard the magic word: biscuit. There's a truck stop just outside of Ogalala, Nebraska that serves the best biscuits on that or any other planet, against which I hold all other biscuits in comparison. Bayou's biscuits didn't disappoint. They rate highly in my leavened regard.

Our second trip to The Bayou Kitchen was every bit as good as the first. With two bottomless cups of coffee, refreshed several times by an extremely friendly waitress, our breakfast cost $12.65, roughly the same as the initial visit. The prices are all reasonable, and we certainly got our money's worth with the generous portions.

wheelchair accessible
vegetarian selections
vegan selections  
No credit cards accepted
The Bayou Kitchen will suit your needs whether you like spicy food or not (my wife does, and I don't), and whether you like to gorge yourself or not (we both do). Along with Tri Sausage Scramble and home made baked goods, they offer oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola for those more health-conscious patrons. The lunch menu includes several vegetarian selections among the Jambalaya Supreme and Crawfish Po Boy. If you are partial to spicy food, you can pain your palate from among The Bayou's selection of over fifty hot sauces. With choices from the rather bland (even-I-can-handle-) sounding Martha's Vineyard Hot Sauce and Hot Summer Nights to Fire Eater and the (avoid-at-all-costs) Ass in the Tub Hot Sauce, you can get spicy at The Bayou Kitchen.

The Bayou Kitchen is open from 7:00am to 2:00pm 6 days a week, and closed Tuesdays. Breakfast is served all day, Lunch begins at 11:30am.  back to the top

      Matt O'Donnell is a poet and freelance writer who lives in Portland.



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