Bourbon Street Bar and Grill adds spice to Puyallup

Mike and Karen de Alwis open Creole and Cajun-style restaurant

By Jackie Fender on January 15, 2014

It's a fascinating journey to witness the rebirth of a restaurant from the bones of a completely different operation. This scenario played out over the last several months as Mike and Karen de Alwis transformed a deserted gas station lot in Puyallup into a lovely dining space called the Bourbon Street Bar and Grill. Dim lights set the tone, with earthy yellow walls and a puzzle of tables and chairs that concoct an intimate dining space without being cluttered. Filling the void of Creole and Cajun-style cuisine in the South Sound, Bourbon Street is in its fledgling days, approaching its fourth week of operation.

Arriving for a late dinner, I found Bourbon Street bustling. A family-friendly seating area sits to the left, which is small but accommodating. To the right, a full-service bar calls your name with tables, chairs, a traditional rail you can ante up to and a rail along the far wall. Ample outdoor seating will also be available on the patio during the warmer months. Naturally, I took up some space at the rail to better take a gander at the cocktail selection and chat up the bartender.

Service was off to a slow start, likely because it was so busy. Once we got the ball rolling, it was efficient and uber friendly. Having past industry experience, I'm forgiving and waited patiently to be greeted. As it turns out, Bourbon Street is a family adventure with the de Alwis' son, the chef, in the kitchen, and our bartender was a family member on hand to provide support.

As one would expect, jambalaya and gumbo find their way onto Bourbon Street's menu alongside other appetizers and entreés with New Orleans-esque flair. The Gumbo ($4.95/7.95) was rich and creamy with a touch of heat. For those who love their Cajun to pack a punch, it could fall short, but it was delicious all the same. The jambalaya ($11.95), featuring Cajun-style rice with generous amounts of shrimp, in-shell clams and andouille sausage, was tasty and again really reflected traditional Cajun flavors nicely.

The stuffed mushroom appetizer ($6.95) arrived with six dainty ‘shroom caps packed full of tender crab meat swimming in a flavorful butter sauce. My partner and I paired these little delights with a Bourbon Bramble, served in stemless martini glasses that sit upon a chilling bowl to keep them icy. Though the liquor selection is limited, Bourbon Street manages to concoct a few playful adult beverages including the New Orleans-born Sazerac. The blackened chicken ($11.95) had an artful presentation and was accompanied by Cajun potatoes, house-mashed and delicious, and a creamy, delightful slaw. Rather than just the dry spice rub, this blackened chicken featured an even coat of sauce with perfectly executed flavor, and the chicken was tender and juicy.

Sadly, the homemade sweet potato pie, a rare find in these parts, was so popular that it was sold out. The bartender recommended the pecan pie, another not often found sweet treat, which is served with a side of whip - an appropriate and delightful finale to my Creole dining adventure.

BOURBON STREET BAR AND GRILL, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 401 S. Meridian, Puyallup, 253.604.4404.