Everything You Need to Know about Cajun vs. Creole and Mardi Gras in NYC After the Fact

By Ari Moskowitz

By now, the Mardi Gras celebration has settled and the parties are winding down, but you're still craving some Louisiana food and drink so what do you do? Have no fear, below is a list of the best Cajun and Creole restaurants in NYC (and what the difference is between the two)! 

While many people tie Cajun and Creole cuisines under the same Cajun/Creole Label, the two are separated by over 70 miles and are culturally even more different. Brandy Gonsoulin for the Chicago Tribune writes, "these two indigenous cuisines, though similar, come from separate histories, and when you look at the pots of both you find two unique culinary stories: Creole, a melting pot of European imperialization, and Cajun, a cast-iron pot rich in cultural survival."

Creole

Creole cuisine is a result of seven cultures: coastal Native Americans, French and Spanish settlers, Germans, West Africans, English and Italians/Sicilians

Cajun

A small group of exiled French Canadians known as the Acadians...eventually settled along various parts of bayou country in south Louisiana, bringing with them traditional French techniques and a history of surviving off the land, incorporating new regional ingredients and bringing Native American and Spanish practices into the fold.

If the two cuisines are so different, why do we so often confuse them? Cajun-born New Orleans food authority Tom Fitzmorris explains why to New York Post writer John Mariani when he says, “There’s no real difference anymore. The two have cross-pollinated each other so thoroughly that the question is academic.” Thus it makes sense to celebrate restaurants in NYC doing either or both and without further ado...

Bourbon Street

Located at 346 West 46th Street, New York City, NY 10036, Between 8th & 9th Avenues, Bourbon Street Bar and Grill serves Authentic Creole cusine in a casual fine dining setting on New York City's famous Restaurant Row.

Infirmary

Located at 1720 2nd Ave New York, NY 10128 between 89th St & 90th St on the Upper East Side, Infirmary is serves classic cajun food and pair it with out-of-this-world cocktails. From classics like the Hurricane to house originals like Bathtub Betty (their Negroni variant that they serve ON TAP!), the infirmary is the most likely place you'll end up after a late night of drinking at this restaurant and bar. Their features of the say, served between 5:30 and 11 every night are also not to be missed. From Monday's $1 oyster to Saturday's $18 BOOZY NOLA brunch, any day of the week is a good day to check out the Infirmary. 

The Boil 

The Boil is conveniently located in two Manhattan locations: the first on the lower east side at 139 Chrystie St between Broome St & Delancey St and the second at 17 Waverly Place between Mercer St & Greene St. They are known for their messy boils (obviously), where you pick a seafood by the pound and they toss it in a sauce of choice which is then packed in a plastic bag and eaten at a communal table. The messier the better. 

King Cake

 Lastly, we can't celebrate Louisiana Delta food without King Cake

Heidi Patalano for DNAInfo.com writes, "King cake — otherwise known as a galette des rois — is a ring-shaped confection named in honor of the Christian holiday of the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, and is typically is served in New Orleans during the runup to Mardi Gras. The dessert ranges from a flaky pastry in some French interpretations to a doughy, icing- and sugar-soaked coffee cake in the New Orleans style."

Here are a few bakeries still selling king cakes in March: Épicerie Boulud and Billy's Bakery.