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Anna Ree's Andouille
1329 US 52 New Richmond, OH, 45157
Reservations: 513-699-4102 or 513-478-0923
The True Cajun By: RJ
Cincy only has a couple few Cajun restaurants. Which is best is a matter of opinion. Which one has the most true to heart Cajun vibe is another matter. Only Anna Ree’s Andouille has true Cajun ambience.
Walking in you might not understand why I say that. Walk out the back door and you’ll see what I mean.
Folks and families are sitting on picnic tables under giant shade tree’s riverside. The patio pavilion bar is surrounded with smiling faces engaging the bartenders and enjoying their drinks. Bands like Robin Lacy and Lagniappe have their fiddles, horns, guitars and drums filling the park like backyard with sounds of the bayou… “Goodbye Joe we gotta go me oh my oh..” Grandma & grandpa bounce toddlers on their knees in time with the tune. Mom & dad do the tipsy two shoe bayou shuffle on the green grass dance floor. Whole families sit with toes tapping as they dine on damn fine Creole creations hot out of the kitchen. Corks pop constantly. Big bowls of red beans & rice, jambalaya, and etouffee entice you with their aroma as they pass by. A few of the younger folks sit down near riverside in semi-seclusion at sunset. The seductive Cajun sounds & flavors in the air are being breathed in deep and savored into the soul. Don’t even think this is a “New Orleans” style joint, nope, this is “Nawlins” here people. You can’t copy a vibe, you have to create it, live it, eat it and drink it in.
The other Cajun restaurants are just that restaurants. A building with a bar, a kitchen and a dining room. You can hang all kinds of Louisiana décor on the walls, but outside it’s still Cincinnati (or NKY). Not at Andouille’s. Outside here it feels like you could be at a Lake Pontchartrain party, or a Baton Rouge family reunion. Other restaurants try to copy “The Quarter” city look but Andouille’s is country-fied Cajun. The down home real deal.
The other real deal is the food. Oooh oh! I guar-an-tee you’ll mmm and aah when the gumbo goes over the gums. The folks in the neon lit kitchen are not into tweaking or twisting Cajun food into cloned Cajun fare. They cook the classics. They have a nice big garden to pick fresh veggies from and they even use Chef Paul Prudhomme’s sausage and andouille.
Crawfish, frog legs and Nawlins gator get fried for your starters. They blacken Gulf Coast grouper and beer batter wild cod. They fresh bread spicy Louisiana catfish too. The Cajun crazy chefs can easily create your eggplant Napoleon, crawfish etouffee or salmon croquettes. They turn big fresh French rolls into Po’ Boy’s and mammoth muffulettas that go great with ice cold beer.
There is no better table in the city than the ones under the shade trees to sit back and enjoy the hand crafted Cajun culinary delights. The food, the view, the music, the vibe and the flavors all come together to create true Cajun. It’s a one of kind experience around here. And one well worth writing about if for no other reason than to remind folks “Cajun” is more than a menu. It’s a way of life.
Me oh my oh we gotta go
Finally! We finally have a true Cajun hot spot on this side of the river. Anna Ree’s Andouille (Anna Ree pictured) in New Richmond hasn’t even been open a year and already the dining room is surging to capacity every weekend. As of now reservations are not mandatory but they are strongly suggested. You’ve been warned. Show up Saturday night on a whim and you may be very disappointed. If your itching to dig into some fine Cajun, book your table and have no hassles.
What’s all the fuss about? The food. No.. wait, the food and the view. Well, the food the view and the music... and the ambiance. Hell, let’s just start with the food.
They grow as much as they can on site. They make their own Cajun spice blends & sauces. They only buy Chef Paul Prudhomme’s sausage. They make everything else from scratch, with lots and lots of love. They have damn good recipes. They serve real Cajun (unlike soo many faux-Cajun joints that litter this city). And I just loved it.
I sampled the Crawfish Etouffee, the Jambalaya and the Red beans & rice. These are three common staple dishes down on the bayou. All three were far above the bar. The Red beans & rice were smoky, saucy and slightly salty. Addicting would describe it best. Whatever your table orders, be certain your server slaps a dish of these on the table for all to try.
The Gumbo was meaty, to say the least!
When you stir the rich peanut brown roux it reveals okra, onions, peppers and of course... Andouille.
I could go for a more saucy sauce-meat ratio but that’s just because I’d sip a good roux from a straw for dessert.
The Crawfish Etouffee featured more rich roux, sauteed peppers & onions and crammed with crawfish. They were so sweet they almost seemed like King Crab.
Jambalaya has always been close to my heart. This one was all in my belly in just a few short minutes. Smoky-spicy sausage flavors soaked into every morsel of rice. Yet the rice was not overcooked into a mush (as sadly I often see). This one is an award winner waiting to happen.
The menu is chock full of selections that all sound salivating. Blog reviewers rave about the catfish and steaks. Some say the beef even bests Ruby’s. I say, with all the love that goes into the food, it almost has to be better than you’d expect.
The true spirit of New Orleans shines through in the food, the music and the attitude. Live music from Lagniappe, Fathead Davis, Tom Wurth, The Royals and Derrick Allen make this place straight out sing with N’Orleans style. The food, the view, the music (and the love) are all in the flavor. It’s all stirred together from the soul. The autograph in my Paul Prudhomme cookbook reads “Good lovin’ good eatin’ good livin’ Paul”. I think Anna Ree’s says that in spades.