Appetizer Runner Up
- Boil & Roux Kitchen | Baton Rouge, La.
- New Orleans Division
The crawfish nacho dish at Boil & Roux Kitchen—which Chef Adrian Hammond confesses was inspired by a dream—is the top-selling appetizer at his restaurant. “I decided to make that dream a reality one evening after the restaurant closed,” Hammond says. “I decided to test the crawfish nachos with the staff. I was just playing around and didn’t know how they’d react, but it was such a big hit that we decided to introduce (the dish) to customers.”
It wasn’t long before the crawfish nachos became a permanent menu item, and according to Hammond, they sell about 500 orders a week. He says that many diners ask about it because they saw a photo of the nachos on Facebook or Instagram. “Customers rave about it,” he gushes. “In my opinion, this is a treat for yourself from the moment you bite into the first nacho. When people bite into it that very first time, they immediately become a fan.”
Hammond says the dish is not a typical appetizer because it’s large enough to feed up to four people. It’s also a nod to his Louisiana heritage because as of 2005, the state supplies more than 90 percent of crawfish harvested in the United States. The dish is ample with the fresh, plump crustacean, and topped with hot queso blanco and just enough jalapeño peppers for a spicy accent. Making them even more authentic is the fact that the perfectly crispy nachos are housemade.
Boil & Roux Kitchen’s menu indeed boasts everything a Southern cuisine enthusiast would crave, and the daily menu showcases mouthwatering dishes like grilled pork chops, blackened chicken pasta and classic Po’Boys stuffed with fried oysters, shrimp or catfish. Hammond’s favorites, of course, are some of the dishes his mother often made for him as a child: the “best” fried chicken, red beans and rice, and the home-style meatloaf that’s layered between garlic mashed potatoes and smothered in hot onion gravy.
“My concept represents Louisiana,” he says proudly. “Louisiana is known for great cuisine. It’s known for boiled seafood. It’s known for Southern comfort food. Basically my concept is a combination of everything that represents Louisiana.”
Southern- and tropical-inspired cocktails dominate the beverage menu. From the best-selling St. Charles, a take on the classic daiquiri with Grand Marnier and blue curaçao served in a Hurricane glass, to a Strawberry Lemon Drop martini, the drinks are designed to pair well with the rich menu items.
“Ninety percent of the menu is made from scratch,” beams Hammond. “We’ve also got a fresh produce truck delivering every morning, so I’m pretty happy with how we’ve turned out over the past year.”