Boudreaux’s Louisiana Kitchen

Some children shy from spicy, but the offer of eating real alligator may win them over. At Boudreaux’s Louisiana Kitchen, your family can decide how adventurous it wants to be.

The restaurant is a good fit in the eclectic intersection marking the heart of NoDa, Charlotte’s funky arts district. Our visit on a weeknight was fairly quiet. The crowd gets going a little later, often following events at the nearby Neighborhood Theatre or the semi-monthly gallery crawls in the area.

For an appetizer, our boys sampled the Gator Bites, flash-fried alligator tail fried with Cajun mayeaux for dipping. They approved. My husband and I sampled the Gumbo Ya-Ya, which was a little spicy, but fresh and delicious.

The entrees offer a great variety of Cajun/Creole type dishes (Jambalaya, Crawfish Etouffee, Shrimp Creole, Po’ Boy sandwiches) with an authentic flavor as well as low-country favorite Shrimp and Grits. For those not interested in spice or seafood, Bourbon Pork Chops with cheddar grits would be a good choice.

Service is very friendly and accommodating, neither fast nor slow. During our visit, the restaurant was out of kids’ menus for the boys to color on, but our server graciously found paper and crayons to keep them busy while we waited for our food.

We tried the Crawfish Etouffee and the Shrimp and Grits, both of which were delicious and not too heavy with sauce. One son had fried shrimp; the other cautiously ordered a cheeseburger.

Though our family had iced tea and milk, the bar makes special drinks and offers a good selection of beer (including Abita from Louisiana) and wine.

We didn’t eat dessert, but my children were impressed by the options: Chocolate Bomb, Pecan Pie, Bread Pudding and Turtle Cheesecake. Remembering the Gator Bites, my son asked: “Is that made of turtles?”

We enjoyed a delicious meal in a relaxing atmosphere. The price is about average. Our family of four finished up dinner at $55 and took home leftovers. If evening is not your kids’ best time, try brunch at Boudreaux’s on Sundays. Tasty omelettes, pancakes and beignets will fill you up for the day.

Dollar deal: Appetizers, Sandwiches $5.95-$8.95; Entrees, $8.95 to $14.95; Kids meals, $3.95
Kid-friendly: While not an obvious kid choice, it’s friendly and easy. Usually has paper menus and crayons for little ones.
Noise level: Moderate
Décor/Atmosphere: Cajun casual atmosphere. Colorful walls with local art, some works by children.
Kiddie fare: Kids fried shrimp, chicken strips or burgers if children don’t want to try the Louisiana specialties.
Parent fare: Jambalaya, Shrimp and Grits, Crab Cakes, Bourbon Pork Chops, Dijon Salmon and other dishes.
Bathroom amenities: No changing table, but clean
High chair/booster: Yes
Got milk/juice: Yes
Address: 501 E. 36th St., at the corner of North Davidson Street, in the heart of NoDa arts district.
Phone: (704) 331-9898
Web site: www.boudreauxs.com/Charlotte_HomeFrame.htm
Clean plate score: Four