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Jerry’s Cajun Café

June 15, 2009

By: Gary J. Arzt
My friend and associate, Erik Espinosa, and I flew into Pensacola one morning, at 10:30 AM. We were headed for Cordova Cigars for a promotional event for Erik’s 601, Cubao and Mi Barrio cigars. I was tagging along for the hell of it. Robbie Morton, the owner of Cordova, collected us at the airport and we went directly to his shop. We spent about an hour and forty-five minutes there, chatting with friends and talking shop, when Erik announced he was famished. Piling into Robbie’s vehicle we drove the single block to Jerry’s Cajun Café, standing on North Ninth Avenue and La Vista Avenue, in what appears to be an elegant old residence, with the requisite front porch.

 

 

Jerry’s Cajun Café

Jerry Mistretta, the proprietor, expatriated himself from Louisiana several years ago and created this little bit of his home state in the heart of Pensacola - which is not all that far from his home state. Albeit, in a culinary sense, Pensacola is galaxies away from Louisiana.

There we were three hungry gents totally unable to make up our minds what to order. So, with Jerry’s assistance, we ordered for six!

There’s one thing I always have when I am having Louisiana (call it Cajun, call it New Orleans) cuisine, and that is gumbo (It contains a roux base, and then add shrimp, crab meat, oysters and aromatic vegetables This is the real stuff, not an imitation!). I ordered my gumbo and then Erik ordered Jerry’s Special Boudin (Boudin removed from the sausage casing and placed in a bowl, covered with a special sauce and mild chili. Topped with fresh cheddar cheese and baked. Served with Cajun bread), Jerry’s Cajun O Rings (They make onion rings from fresh yellow onions, never frozen. Sliced, drenched with their very own Cajun Dust, and fried to a golden brown), Cajun Sampler Platter (Included a cup of our famous homemade seafood gumbo, red beans and rice with smoked sausage, chicken and sausage jambalaya, crawfish etouffé, chicken sauce piquant, Cajun bread, and choice of salad or Cajun slaw). You’ll note we had plenty of Cajun Bread, and that was just to start!

Jerry’s Special Boudin Appetizer

The three of us tucked into the food as soon as it arrived; and, believe me, even the hearty portions at Jerry’s didn’t last very long.

We happily continued our odyssey through Louisiana, so to speak, and ordered entrees which included the iconic Crawfish Etouffé (Plump crawfish tail meat and aromatic vegetables simmered in a smooth, creamy sauce and seasoned with Cajun herbs and spices. Served over steamed rice with Cajun bread). We chose the Cajun slaw, rather than the salad to accompany this dish. Jerry’s Cajun Sampler Platter (Included a cup of their famous homemade seafood gumbo, red beans and rice with smoked sausage, chicken and sausage jambalaya, crawfish etouffé, chicken sauce piquant, Cajun bread, and Cajun slaw), Jerry’s Pasta Entrées (We chose Shrimp & Andouille Fettuccine. Sautéed in butter, garlic, green onions, Cajun seasonings, herbs and then blended together in a cream sauce with the fettuccine, provolone and Parmesan cheeses. Served with Cajun corn on the cob, Cajun bread) and, lastly a traditional Muffuletta (Gambino’s nine inch Muffuletta bun and the Central Grocery’s own, world famous olive salad. They pile on fresh-sliced Genoa salami, mortadella, baked ham and provolone cheese. It may not be Cajun, but it is truly delicious and totally New Orleans).

Muffuletta Sandwich

In spite of the fact that we had left over half of the enormous Muffuletta, neither of us could resist Jerry’s fabulous Bread Pudding with rum sauce (Homemade bread pudding made with Gambino’s French bread and drenched with Jerry’s own special rum sauce. Served hot) and the Bourbon Street Pecan Pie (A unique and delicious pecan pie, filled with a creamy rich, bourbon flavored filling, topped with whole pecans).

The ambiance at Jerry’s is relaxed and casual. The tables are nicely spaced so you’re not hearing the conversations that surround you. Service is efficient, friendly, yet unobtrusive - just like Jerry Mistretta himself. Although, as he and Robbie Morton are good friends, Jerry did sit with us through most of our meal and regaled us with Cajun humour - which nicely complimented the superb Cajun feast!

There are some specialty items that are available for sale, and they will happily prepare any of the menu items to take away. Jerry’s also does a brisk catering business throughout Pensacola, and supplies all the food at Cordova Cigars’ events.

Robbie tells me they do a fantastic Sunday Brunch served from 10:30 AM till 2:00 PM.

Getting to Pensacola, for someone from Miami, is something of a trek even by air. But, having flown from Miami to NYC for lunch, as well as Miami to Washington, DC for lunches and dinners, I wouldn’t give it a second thought to fly to Pensacola to dine at Jerry’s. It would be well worth the bother.

Jerry’s Cajun Café
6205 North Ninth Avenue
Pensacola, FL 32504
www.jerryscajun.com

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