It’s not an easy task to find authentic New Orleans cuisine outside of New Orleans – and Atlanta is no exception. Now, I am by no means an expert on authentic New Orleans cuisine; however, when I visited Henry’s Louisiana Grill in Acworth my lunch companion was a New Orleans native who assured me that this is one of the few places in Atlanta where you can find the real thing.
I first encountered Henry at the Taste of Marietta, which I had the extreme pleasure of judging and where his Chicken Ooh-La-La took home The Big Chicken award for best chicken dish. Henry is quite a character and you will definitely know him when you see him. His life-sized cardboard likeness stares out at you from his restaurant windows and is adorned with Mardi Gras beads, which he will certainly offer you if you have the pleasure to make his acquaintance. He’s two parts New Orleans, one part hippie. You can tell he’s a fun-loving guy who loves what he does. What you can’t tell by looking at him is that he trained in European culinary schools for three years before coming back to the States, marinating awhile, and finally opening Henry’s Louisiana Grill.
The menu at Henry’s Louisiana Grill has all of the dishes you would expect from a New Orleans style eatery – gumbo, jambalaya, étouffée, red beans and rice. And there are those dishes that make it truly special. We snacked on Henry’s Hush Puppies (left top), sweet and spicy hushpuppies made with jalapeños and served with remoulade for dipping. I was especially thrilled to see gator on the menu (and not just because I’m a Seminole!). Aligator can be a tough (literally!) dish to pull off, and Henry’s Hot Chili ‘Gator (left center) was delicious – it’s flash-fried and tossed in Chinese hoisin and drizzled with remoulade for an interesting take on a traditional dish. Add the Shrimp Etouffée (left below) for my entrée and my lunch was complete!
For those of you who think Acworth is just too far to drive for dinner (it’s all of 45 minutes from the center of Atlanta, with light traffic), let me tell you – it’s totally worth it and you’ll be glad you did! Consider it an adventure! I’m willing to take a short drive for really good food – are you?
WHERE: Henry’s Louisiana Grill – 4835 N. Main Street, Acworth, GA