Boxing Room, San Francisco
Creole cuisine bubbled up out of a mixture of cultures. So why shouldn't you throw a few more ingredients into the gumbo? That's the idea at San Francisco's Boxing Room, a New Orleans-flavored restaurant and bar that's just opened in Hayes Valley. The space, formerly a packing room of a shirt factory (hence the name), reflects a mix of influences: Douglas fir walls and reclaimed Monterey cypress say California, while the zinc bar and faux-alligator stools nod toward the Big Easy.
Chef and Louisiana native Justin Simoneaux includes seasonal Californian ingredients in traditional Cajun and Creole dishes. The results? A salad of fried Pacific oysters dressed in Herbsainte vinaigrette, perhaps, or grilled Monterey squid with tasso, roasted-garlic aioli, and fried okra. With food like this, everyone's a lover, not a fighter. "Laissez les bon temps rouler."
Photo: Courtesy of Boxing Room