Not all Southern food is created equal. While I may know just about all there is to know about Lowcountry cuisine, creole food is a whole different story. Of course I enjoy it. Of course I will eat all the cajun food in sight, if possible. Of COURSE I want to boogie to Hank Williams’ “Jambalya (On the Bayou)” while I’m eating it. But liking creole food is not the same as being an expert. Basically, even though I’m Southern, I can’t tell you how authentic The Delta Grill is, but I can tell you I really liked it and am happy to have it in NYC.
I was there with a group of eight, three of whom were college linebackers, so we ordered a lot of food. The portions were large, even for 6’4″ former football players. So if you like creole food, you’ll certainly get your fill here. We started with the alligator and pork sausage. My only experience with gator is on the football field, where we CRUSH those jorts wearing Floridians every year. Just kidding – I’ve eaten gator plenty. There’s a place at home that serves fried alligator tail and I love it. Seeing alligator in sausage form, however, was new to me but still delicious…though I mostly tasted pork. My favorite app of the night was the popcorn crawfish. I was worried they would skimp on the meat here, but this was big hunks of crawfish that are fried and served with a remoulade sauce (though this was more like ranch dressing). It was chewy without being rubbery and the batter was nicely seasoned. I could have eaten the entire basket on my own and was a little disappointed I had to share.
As for the entrees…I tried a bite of Albert’s muffaletta and thought it was a very good version, almost as good as the one I had in New Orleans (it’s all about the olive spread). If you consider ordering the large version, I suggest you do so with two buddies because it’s massive. I ordered the chicken fried steak and loved it. It was as good as any I’ve had. Since chicken fried steak is a Southern thing and not strictly cajun, I can say with confidence I know what I’m talking about here. The steak was still tender (a lot of people can mess up on that part) and the peppery breading stayed put. I’m used to a thicker gravy at home, but this wasn’t too shabby. The jalapeno cheddar mashed potatoes was a nice spicy side.
Now, can a Louisiana native pleast go to this place and tell me if it’s authentic? Or do I just love it and have zero idea what I’m talking about. Please don’t put my “foodie” identity into question.