From the outside it’s a very unassuming building besides, of course, the smell of freshly fried chicken wafting through the air. That smell immediately has your tummy directing your gaze to the corner that has that historic sign that has all New Orleanians nodding in approval of where you chose to eat on your cheat day.
Dooky Chase’s is run by the Queen of Creole Cuisine, Mrs. Leah Chase. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her a few times and each time I make sure to cherish what she has been able to accomplish with her husband’s bar and sandwich shop that started with his father. Even Disney recognizes the impact of this small establishment!
Once you enter the unassuming building, you are greeted with a signed picture from The Princess and the Frog artists who received a lot of help from Mrs. Chase for the NOLA based Disney film. The Sister and I (we’re huge Disney fans by the way) were loving the picture, but the calling for fried chicken and red beans was too strong so we made our way through to the dining room.
We were greeted by friendly staff, and immediately began strategizing the best way for us to maximize the experience with just the two of us. Thankfully, lunch always offers a buffet. We each ordered a gumbo a la cart and then, while waiting, we continued to plan out the meal.
The traditional creole gumbo came out with a dark roux that did not disappoint. I can be picky about the rice to gumbo ratio, and they nailed it. While I usually prefer it to be a bit of a thicker consistency, the flavors that define a good gumbo had The Sister and me trying our best to remain polite while scraping the bottom of each cup.
Then, it was time for us to make our way to the Creole feast that was soon going to be on our plates. The strategy was to go with one solid plate of the MUSTS. The MUSTS would be fried chicken, red beans and rice, and greens.
All your favorites are available, whether it’s dark or white, wing or breast, you can load it on up on your plate. The chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
The red beans were creamy and exactly the kind of red beans everyone expects to come from their grandma’s kitchen on a Monday (or maybe in my case, Chef Daddio’s kitchen). The greens were cooked down enough to to still retain a great texture and made you feel like you were adding something healthy to the plate. We all know it’s not true, but it’s green and you can’t see the pool of salted pork fat that made it taste so good.
We also shared the candied yams, green beans, sauteed corn and okra medley, roasted new potatoes, and a sample of smothered pork.
There was no doubt we were stuffed, but with the buffet comes the Peach Cobbler.
You always make room for the cobbler. Always.
A crunchy crust with the warm ooey gooey peachy goodness is the only way to finish this kind of meal. I’m not a dessert kind of girl, but I sure did eat this dessert.
We left happy, full, and enriched with the experience of solid Creole cuisine and art that the tiny little building holds within.
Dooky Chase’s is not an earth shattering establishment. It is a historical experience where you can see and taste what old-school, traditional creole cuisine is supposed to be. We’re spoiled by the plethora of new flavors and presentations that we have access to today. Dooky Chase’s is one of the few remaining places that can connect kids (like me) today with the kind of meals our great-grandparents were enjoying when they were our age back in their own dining rooms.