Capitola gets a taste of Cajun and Creole cuisine
Jazz. Mardi Gras. New Orleans is known for a lot of things. High up on that list is the food. It’s about as diverse as it gets—a true melting pot of flavors and cultural influences. Chef Chad Glassley wanted to bring a little taste of the Big Easy to Capitola, and his focus is Cajun and Creole food—with a California twist. We asked him a few questions about his new restaurant Roux Dat, which opened May 26.
GT: What is étouffée?
Chad Glassley: Étouffée is hard to describe. It comes from a French word étoufer and that means to smother with sauce. The étouffées in New Orleans are usually served over rice. We have a couple here: shrimp and corn is one of the more popular ones, something about the Gulf shrimp that we use and the corn that just goes really well together. One of the others is crawfish and chili cheese étouffée. It’s got crawfish in there with chili spices and seasonings, tomatoes and black beans and a little bit of sharp cheddar. It’s not really traditional— it’s almost like a chili but with a creamier cheese flavor to it. It oddly works really well together.
You offer a lot of different hot sauces. Why is that?
We add a little bit of spice to our food, but we don’t want to blow anyone away. We want them to be able to add their own spiciness to it. We have a standard amount of hot sauces that we put on each table—six on each table. There’s Pepper Plant, it’s out of Gilroy. There’s some from New Orleans like Lightning Strike. There’s Cajun Power, Tabasco, Crystal Louisiana hot sauce. Behind the counter there’s probably a half dozen to a dozen more, like Cholula, and some off-the-wall hot sauces that people request to torture themselves with hot spices.
You carry a vegan jambalaya, which defies a lot of people’s idea of jambalaya. How do you make it work?
We use a lot of herbs and spices— and we cut our mushrooms a little chunkier so they almost have the taste and the texture of a piece of meat. It looks like a jambalaya. Then we let it cook for quite a bit of time to reduce all those flavors so they’re more concentrated.
INFO: 3555 Clares St., Ste TT, Capitola. 259-6372.