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Cajun food in downtown san diego - it does exist!
Cajun food in San Diego isn't always easy to find. I've been here for 13 years now, and have only eaten at a handful of Cajun restaurants in San Diego. The only handful there is.
In general, the food I've eaten is just not the same as when you're in New Orleans.
I guess that's why we travel, right?
To limit it even more, the availability of Cajun food in downtown San Diego is almost non-existent. Almost. There have been a couple places that have come and gone (goodbye Oyster Bar and that place where the Poke Company now resides).
Until now. Bud Deslatte, owner of the popular Bud's Louisiana Cafe in Kearny Mesa, recently opened Bud and Rob's New Orleans Bistro in East Village.
This is just what East Village needs. I could barely contain my excitement when I learned that Bud was opening this spot literally blocks from my condo. I've been to Bud's Louisiana Cafe before, and always left happy.
It takes a special restaurant to get multiple repeat visits from the boyfriend and I. Always on the hunt for new food and restaurants, we rarely visit a place more than once. It has to be a pretty damn good spot to become a regular.
We've eaten at Bud and Rob's many times now. Both for lunch and dinner. And it never disappoints. The service is consistently on point, and Rob is always extremely friendly and helpful. The food arrives quickly and we have yet to be there where we weren't offered something free to try. The prices are pretty reasonable for downtown San Diego, ranging from $6 (appetizers) to $12 (sandwiches) and up to $17 (main dish). It's worth every penny.
And it literally has the best Cajun food in downtown San Diego. Hands down.
What we've eaten
We've tried most of the menu, and each has been amazing. Personally, one of my favorites has been the Louisiana chicken. House smoked chicken served in a cream sauce with mushrooms, smoked ham (tasso), peas and topped with Parmesan cheese, it is reminiscent of the Italian carbonara, but with a Cajun twist. It's delicious. We ordered it with penne pasta, but you have the option to order it with rice as well.
Another favorite is the Cajun jambalaya pasta. I mean it has deliciously tender chunks of duck, chicken and andouille sausage in a slightly spicy tomato based sauce. Seriously so amazing.
And of course, I've always got to get an order of hush puppies. They were perfectly crisp on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside, served with a remoulade sauce. Did I mention the hush puppies are made with andouille sausage? Total bliss guys.
The seafood and sausage gumbo is deliciously dark and rich served with shrimp, crab, crawfish, andouille sausage, okra and rice. The seafood bisque is also quite delicious, and another of my favorites in a light tomato based cream broth with crab, shrimp and crawfish. I could slurp up a whole bucket of this bisque.
If you're a poboy kind of person, they've got some awesome ones here. The blackened catfish poboy is my favorite. The catfish is tender and juicy, almost melting in your mouth, with the perfect amount of that oh-so-delicious blackened seasoning and house made tartar sauce. The BBQ shrimp poboy is also quite tasty, with a sauce of butter, lemon, and Worcestershire sauce.
If you're a catfish lover ( I LOVE catfish), Bud and Rob's has a blackened catfish plate, or they offer something called the Taste of New Orleans. The Taste of New Orleans is fried or blackened catfish (I'm a sucker for blackened) served over a bed of rice and topped with crawfish etouffee. Don't even get me started on how good the crawfish etouffee is here. It's DAMN good.
And really, an awesome crawfish etouffe is a good part of what gave this restaurant the designation of best Cajun food in downtown San Diego.
The cajun jambalaya and red beans and rice appetizers are great ways to get those tastebuds warmed up, using copious amounts of tasso and bacon fat to add flavor.
Last but most certainly not least, the shrimp and grits are delectable. Shrimp sauteed in a creamy tasso (smoked ham) based sauce and then served over top of cheesy grits with a touch of Creole sauce, this is the epitome of comfort food. I've had some amazing shrimp and grits in my life, and this one rivaled the best.
From time to time, they have alligator sausage on the menu. Keep your eyes open. Alligator sausage is absolutely delicious guys.
Oh yeah. Dessert. They've got beignets guys. The perfect way to top off your meal.
So many downtown restaurants come and go I hope that this one is here to stay for good. If you're looking for some delicious Cajun food, this is your spot. Bud and Rob's has the best Cajun food in downtown San Diego. I might even dare to say the best Cajun food in San Diego period.
The restaurant closes early (8:30 PM), so get there early if you're planning dinner. They are also closed Sundays and Mondays, and are only open from 11:30 - 2:30 on Tuesday's and Wednesdays.
Beware, parking downtown can be a bitch sometimes, but it can be done.
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