I have so much wanted to like this place, they have a chef from New Orleans and at least a third of the menu is Looziana-inspired. As I lived in N'Awlins for over 4 years (OK, Jefferson Parish but close enough), I've been desperate for a taste of "home". I posted a mostly down review on the Mid-Atlantic board in response to Big Dog's elusive quest for great Cajun/Creole/NOLA food; I copied it below.
Well today I had a hankering for a muffaletta and gave theirs a try. WOW, it's the best thing I've had this side of I-10. Positively brimming with an excellent, garlicky olive salad, plenty of good quality meats, a true muffaletta loaf, and served warm. Perhaps not ur-traditional but enough places in NOLA serve them warm that it's an accepted variation.
It seems that lunch is when their New Orleans menu shines--the Friday special is thin, fried catfish, which was perfect the time I tried it. Crisp and full of that good, clean, earthy catfish flavor. The only major item of desire I haven't tried is red beans and rice.
Copy of my earlier review:
Re(4): Olives Cafe Wilkes-Barre PA ain't it
From: email@example.com (Guy)
Posted: November 26, 2002 at 20:23:27
Other than 2 preliminary lunch excursions--one good (deftly fried catfish) and one not so (jambalaya that tasted hastily thrown together, which I forgave for arriving at the end of a busy lunch hour)--I've been avoiding the place, perhaps because the anticipation & imagination were too good to spoil. There was another newspaper review a few weeks ago, with high marks given to the New Orleans sampler (gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp creole, crawfish etouffee).
So we went tonight, and, well, bleh. Had the famous sampler, nothing rated above a 6 out of 10. Gumbo was OK, same clumsy jambalaya as before, lifeless shrimp creole, leaden etouffee.
Chatted briefly with the chef, a nice fellow raised uptown in N'Awlins.
And I so much wanted this place to be great.