By The Black Foodies
There is something special going on in downtown Plainfield, Illinois, and that special something is Cajun/Caribbean fusion restaurant, Moe Joe’s, located at 24033 Lockport Street, right off historic Route 66. Owner, Jamie Littell, transports her patrons to a New Orleans-style café with some spectacular dishes that are wowing the locals. Upon arrival, we noticed all of the New Orleans-themed trappings and felt as if we were on Bourbon Street, in anticipation of having a great Mardi Gras time. Jamie greeted us both with warm hugs and had us promptly seated.
Miss Coretta started off with an appetizer of Crawfish Arincinins. This dish is an example of bringing Italy to New Orleans. Risotto is hand rolled around blackened crawfish centers, creating huge balls that are then lightly fried and served with a New Orleans remoulade sauce. These tennis-ball-sized treats can easily accommodate four people and were simply incredible. The panko bread crumbs used to coat these beauties provided an excellent crunch factor. The creamy risotto was expertly prepared with a fresh burst of blackened crawfish in the center, bringing an unexpected and welcome surprise from the bayou into this Italian classic. The remoulade sauce was bursting with flavor and is the perfect condiment for this clever Sicilian/Louisiana fusion dish. The Crawfish Arincinins were a superb introduction to what Moe Joe’s cuisine has to offer.
My appetizer was Moe Joe’s Famous Corn Crusted Alligator Tail. A half-pound of alligator tail portions are breaded then fried and served with a jalapeño honey dipping sauce. I have been officially converted to a Moe Joe’s gator glory fan! I have eaten alligator in Louisiana, as well as Florida, but found this preparation far superior to what I have eaten in the South. The gator chunks were fried ‘til golden brown, tender and deeelicious! An accurate description of this dish would be… the best chicken nuggets ever. The jalapeño dipping sauce is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy and pairs wonderfully with the gator. The extra added bonus is its half-pound serving size which propels the roller coaster ride of flavor to last for, what seems, an eternity. This dish is too good to be shared.
Up next was the Kabrit Fromaj which is a quarter-pound of brûléed mild goat cheese sitting atop a Creole cream sauce, with four garlic butter toast points. For the record, Miss Coretta likes goat cheese while I, on the other hand, don’t care for it at all. She loved this dish, and I was very pleasantly surprised by my experience. The brûlée on the outside of the goat cheese was, in my opinion, mainly for aesthetics and left the charred exterior a bit chalky. However, the interior was still very creamy and decadent. The goat cheese was of the mild variety which didn’t have as tart a taste as goat cheese I have tasted in the past. Combining the goat cheese with the Creole cream sauce is when the magic took place. (More on this Creole cream sauce a little later). Just take this combo and slather it on the garlic toast points and have at it. The Creole cream sauce became the lead singer with the goat cheese harmonizing in the background. These intertwining flavor profiles took my taste buds on an exotic game of hide-and-seek. This dish really rocked!
For an entrée, Miss Coretta had the Blackened Catfish Acadian. A blackened catfish fillet sits on a bed of white rice and is topped with Moe Joe’s signature crawfish etouffee. The catfish was nicely seasoned and paired extremely well with the rice. But, make no mistakes about it, the crawfish etouffee was the star of this dish. It was creamy, buttery and the crawfish were super fresh. And, when all of the components of the dish were combined into one bite, it was truly delectably satisfying. So, for as authentic a take on crawfish etouffee as The Black Foodies have found outside of The Big Easy, go to Moe Joe’s for this mouthwatering Cajun classic.
Our next entrée was the Southern Fried Frog Legs which surrounded cheddar mashed potatoes and came with Moe Joe’s Creole cream sauce. The frog legs are marinated, dredged and deep fried to a golden brown. After the first bite, I was under a magical amphibious spell! Dare I say, Moe Joe’s fried frog legs are better than fried chicken (gasp), each tender and flavorful bite exceeding the previous one. They seemed to just get better and better. We can eat these frog legs by the five-gallon bucket. Extraordinary! The mashed potatoes were made with red potatoes and were of the chunky variety. What ‘Top 5’d’ Moe Joe’s mashed potatoes was the cheddar cheese Creole cream sauce combo. This savory and hearty side was the perfect accent for the fried frog legs and if Moe Joe’s Creole cream sauce is ever bottled and sold, we will be faithful customers.
Owner, Jamie Littell, and her staff creates an incredible dining experience, worthy of being considered one of the best Cajun Creole restaurants in the Chicagoland area. We highly recommend trying Moe Joe’s spectacular Crawfish Boil and their Jambalaya. Also, treat yourself further and cap off your meal with a cup of their smooth chicory coffee and a beignet. The authenticity of the food is really impressive and took us back to one of our Flavor-It Destinations – New Orleans. Moe Joe’s is a destination spot worthy of racking up a few extra miles on the odometer to make the trip. So, for super creative and awesomely delicious takes on classic Cajun Creole cuisine, check out Moe Joe’s. You can thank us later!
We rank restaurants based on number of kisses (one thru five). One…two…three…four, with five being the best. Moe Joe’s receives 5 kisses. Check out the video of our review https://youtu.be/pHU2NGinHn0
The Black Foodies are food bloggers/vloggers and husband and wife of 26 years. We are also home cooks who believe in group economics and LOVE great food. We write the food blog ‘Let’s Eat’, where we review Black-owned and other ethnic restaurants. FOLLOW us on Instagram and Twitter @theblackfoodies, SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel ‘The Black Foodies’, where we review restaurants, share recipes, and give cooking tips. https://youtu.be/f1fsSQ24wgQ. Also LIKE us on Facebook and join our Facebook group, ‘World Wide Black Foodies’.
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