Melanie Wong and Windy intended to eat lunch at one San Francisco pop-up restaurant, but ended up at another after a distressing ramen shortage at the first. Upon discovering that Kirimachi had already sold out of its much praised ramen by 2 p.m., they instead dined at Easy Creole, where they enjoyed gumbo and étouffée, including some versions with surprisingly healthy twists.

Serving sizes were generous for the prices, which were in the $10 range. They tried sausage and chicken gumbo, and while Windy enjoyed it, Melanie Wong thought the flavors got too diluted by the brown rice. More successful dishes were the étouffées. “Crumbled Mexican chorizo delivered a spicy kick to the buttery rich base complicated further by savory vegetable notes,” Melanie said of the chorizo étouffée, which Windy said was a comfort food that she’d like to see in a seafood version.

Melanie also liked the vegan and gluten-free spinach étouffée, which drew comparisons to Afghan sabzi or North Indian saag, with its puréed garbanzo beans and hints of garlic and cumin.

Easy Creole
Easy Creole announced that its lunch service at 450 Broadway in North Beach ended on January 27; they continue to serve at the Residence on Wednesdays and La Victoria Bakery on Fridays. See their website for details.

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