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Bayou Kitchen & Lounge

Written By Scott Joseph On February 22, 2024

Bayou exterior

Just because Mardi Gras has passed doesn’t mean you have to give up eating Cajun and creole food, unless you promised to give them up for Lent. And who would do that?

Nevertheless, I visited the Bayou Kitchen & Lounge in Longwood before carnival season began, so I’m good either way.

South Steel SJO March AD copy

Bayou interior
Bayou interior

Bayou Kitchen is on the backside of Springs Plaza, unless you’re coming from Wekiva Springs Road instead of State Road 434; then it’s on the front side. It’s a small place and not overly festooned, but there are touches of purple and yellow and the requisite LSU pennants strung over the bar. 

Tables are draped with black cloths and have a small glass centerpiece but otherwise were unadorned when I visited – not even place settings.

Bayou gumbo

The menu is concise but has all of the NOLA standards. I started with a cup of gumbo, which seemed larger than a cup. (I thought that at $8 it should be.) The rouxy stock was heavy on file and had a nice touch of heat. It was filled with bits of chicken, sausage, crawfish and shrimp and had a timbale of white rice. It could have sufficed as a main course.

Bayou jambalaya

But instead I had the Bayou jambalaya, which also had crawfish, chicken, shrimp and andouille sausage along with tasso ham, bits of green pepper, onions and tomatoes. The menu stated that it could be served over rice or pasta. I’ve always considered the pasta version to be a bastardization, so I opted for rice. And I was delighted that it wasn’t served over the rice but rather incorporated into it, as the gods meant it to be. The molded dish was topped with a shrimp and the plate had dollops of remoulade, not a classic accompaniment but a tasty one.

Service was Louisiana friendly. And I was surprised when I got my check that because it was a Tuesday, it was two-for-one Mardi Gras (even though it wasn’t the actual Fat Tuesday). That meant that I got the gumbo for free. Should have ordered the bowl.

The Bayou Kitchen & Lounge is at 165 Wekiva Springs Road, Longwood (map). It is open for lunch and dinner daily. There is no website. The phone number is 407-960-6020.

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