Around for years, Bourbon Street is still the only place in town doing Cajun and Creole food.
Ekkamai’s Cajun and Creole food institution is a guilty-pleasure kind of place. Half the time you’re sitting in that new Korean fusion bao specialist, we bet you wish you were here, shirt covered in a kitsch paper bib, tucking into a sticky full rack and chugging down beers.
The dining room, unchanged since forever, is the kind of wood-paneled, red-brick space which even people who only know America’s South through TV will recognize, while the burly, friendly, goateed clientele are equally as in place. The phone book menu presents comfort food at stuck-in-time prices—try finding a B150 whiskey-sour over on Thonglor—whether it’s burgers, enchiladas or Southern specialties.
The full-rack of ribs (B570) is huge, meaty and moist, accompanied by two mountains of mayo-slathered veg. One potato, the other… something else. You can taste all of the near-B300 which you’ve saved from going to Smokin’ Pug, but they still have their own sweet-and-smoky appeal, as well as plenty of tender meat to gnaw at between them bones—the high point of a satisfying if never eye-popping meal.
The woefully underseasoned chicken and andouille pork sausage gumbo (B140/small, B195/large) only comes alive once you add a dash of table salt, revealing well-stewed meat and a smokily moreish flavor. Don’t, however, go digging for the kind of intense andouille you’d find in the best Creole kitchen. This stuff’s more like a spicy hotdog weiner. It’s a sign that, at Bourbon Street, reasonable prices and consistently good-enough flavors are a priority over produce.
Same story with the cash-and-carry-style burger bun, same story with the pleasingly crisp but almost certainly frozen French fries. The burger (starting at B220) itself, though, is a fine thing, juicy and thick and cooked to a medium pink, as ordered (just don’t bother with the lackluster chili option, B245).
The Cajun-style boiled shrimp (B370/0.5kg, B720/1kg) are another safe bet. Not because of the reappearance of that andouille hotdog weiner, but because the broth is a triumph of tangy, Cajun herbs and spices. Have them with a glass of the B220 house chardonnay, which is surprisingly crisp and balanced.
Come dessert, signs of that it’ll-do produce reappear in the airy vanilla ice cream, but with apple pie this tasty, who cares? Much like Bourbon Street overall, a few cut corners don’t spoil everything. Corkage B500 for wine and Champagne, B950 for whiskies.
This review took place in August 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.