I’ve only been New Orleans once, sadly. I was there for Jazzfest in 2004 and while I was there, I was lucky enough to see Lenny Kravitz, my friend Trina who was visiting from Germany, and friends Guy and Erika who were also there to get drunk, get fat, and hear some music, too. After the 4 days spent there, I came home, having eaten just about anything I could get my hands on. Oysters, Po’boys, beignets, etouffe, crawfish, and of course, a hurricane or two. I remember getting home, feeling the need to do a cleanse. Which I didn’t do, but I did feel like my body needed it. But I guess I knew I wouldn’t be going back to New Orleans any time soon, so my body stored up enough fare to last me until…now.
Gratefully, Boxing Room is here. Taking over the old Citizen Cake location in Hayes Valley, Boxing Room serves up fare inspired by New Orleans and coastal Louisiana. With favorites like Po’boys, hushpuppies, and gumbo on the menu, every bite is reminiscent of a memory. Not many menus can infuse memories into their dishes, but Boxing Room manages to do it…and deliciously so. Here’s a menu tour of some of my favorites:
Charbroiled oysters — seriously tasty. Do NOT share.
Boucherie plate (this evening, meatballs with dirty rice and collard greens).
Shrimp Po’boy with hushpuppies. There’s no such thing as too much “fried.”
The mandatory apple cobbler (don’t worry, they have beignets on the menu, too).
This all should make you want to cry, long for those great times you had in New Orleans for Jazzfest, Mardi Gras, some bachelor party, or even just visiting friends and/or family. This cuisine is so unique, so special — it has a power to evoke such visceral nostalgia. So I feel lucky, for the person I am today and the person I was in 2004, to have Boxing Room join the San Francisco dining scene.
(And upon reading that, I realize how fucking cheesy that was. But c’mon, the guy puts memories on a plate. Just be a believer).