This week, I stopped by Wicker Park’s new Cajun eatery Fifolet for a tasting. Fifolet, which means “eerie burning light,” specializes in Cajun and Creole cuisine and is headed by Chefs Kevin Crrouse and Corey Gillom. The menu is New Orleans inspired and offers large plates meant for sharing.
I’ve always maintained that many elements of Cajun food remind me of Indian food because often the seafood is often spicy and packed with flavor. And just like Indian food, it is not meant for the faint-hearted.
While I was excited to try out this new spot, I also wanted to see if Fifolet was going stand the test of authenticity of Cajun cuisine. And the verdict is, it does!
Rest assured, there is a well-rounded selection of New Orleans cocktails and frozen drinks to cool your palate throughout your meal. And you bet I ordered their Frozen Hurricane!
The seafood offerings were ample and I went straight for the Shrimp Po’Boy and Smoked Trout Nicoise Salad for appetizers. Sometimes the first dish is the favorite because the Po'Boy was undoubtedly my favorite out of everything I ate that night.
And don’t be fooled by its modest look, because that voodoo sauce its laden with will knock your socks off! A good-sized sandwich with crunchy shrimp placed in a tender bun, Chef Crrouse attempts a take on the Chicago Style Hot Dog here, and definitely succeeds. This truly was one nicely executed Po’Boy!
The other popular Po’Boy at the restaurant is the NOLA style Barbeque Shrimp Po’Boy which we also got a taste of. The bbq sauce drizzled on the shrimp was made with black garlic, smoked pepper, and brandy. The hints of brandy while not overwhelming is certainly unforgettable.
The salad with trout was noteworthy too, and Chef once again gives it this classic Provencal dish a fun NOLA twist. The quail eggs and marinated red skin potatoes were my favorite parts of this dish. And it gave my palate a little reprieve from the spicy Po’Boy I had just had.
The Honey-Custard Cornbread, which was next, needs a blog of its own. Hands down the best I’ve ever had in my life. I’m known to make bold statements…but only when I mean them! To me, there is really no better accompaniment to soups and BBQ than cornbread. This cornbread had a moist, cake-like consistency with layers of reduced cream and honey in the center, balanced with a zingy cayenne streusel on top. It’s basically dessert. It would be acceptable if you went to Fifolet just to eat their cornbread.
Chef Crrouse was determined to give us the full Cajun experience so next he sent out their Fried Green Tomatoes and Crawfish Fritters. I’ve always had difficulty understanding how a hard green tomato could be made into a delicious dish, but they’ve nailed it here. The tomatoes were coated in a thin breadcrumbs coating and fried to a golden brown, then placed in a tangy remoulade. The pickled cauliflowers placed atop were awesome too.
If you know me well, you know that crawfish is the only fish I do not eat. So I was nervous about being a bad guest and having to turn down the fritters. But the delicious food I had just eaten, managed to convince me to try at least one. And sufficient to say, that I didn't stop at one. WOW! Did I just convert into a crawfish eater? If you want a taste of New Orleans, this is the dish! Flavorful, dense, and very delicious. And the maque choux was an exciting addition that gave the dish a little Native American influence.
For my entrée (yes there was an entrée after all this food), I ordered the Shrimp Creole which was also impressive. It came with blackened shrimp, a creole ragu, okra and herbed white rice. The hot pepper sauce was worked well into the stew of shrimp and vegetables and I got to bring leftovers home!
Chef had told us all along to save room for his house-made beignets which are specifically infused with vanilla bean and in his words, a whole lotta love. And for this Frenchie there can never be enough beignets especially if they're this good. Needless to say, the plate was wiped clean and even the powdered sugar on my fingers wasn't spared.
My stomach and heart were both full, but I was already plotting my next visit to the restaurant. I was happy to see a Cajun restaurant amidst the plethora of sports bars in the neighborhood. A much-needed, welcome change to Wicker Park I would say. The food at Fifolet is authentic yet creative, and unbelievably delicious!
Fijolet Cajun & Cocktails
Address: 1942 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
Phone: (773) 384-6886
Hours: Mon- Fri: 5:00pm -2:00am; Sat-Sun 3:00pm-2:00amPrice: $7.00- $16.00