Good Food, Great Service
Johnny G’s Creole Kitchen recently opened on Beale Street in Downtown Memphis and it specializes in Cajun/Creole cuisine. With other restaurants on Beale Street serving either Cajun or Creole food, I was curious if Johnny G's could hold it's own. Knowing that sampling the entire menu is a bit tedious, I decided to try some of the restaurant's signature dishes along with typical entrées.The first dish that I tried was a bowl of Drunken Chicken, a chicken and rice concoction that is very spicy. It was so spicy that I didn't need to add hot sauce. The chicken (which I believe consists mostly of "white" meat) is very tender and not overcooked, making it easy to chop up and mix with the rice and sauce. Overall, the Drunken Chicken was really good and my only gripe was that the bowl wasn't big enough to satisfy my appetite. But this is a personal preference, although the portion is big enough to satisfy most.
For my second visit, I decided to get cups of gumbo and jambalaya, in an effort to compare it to other Cajun/Creole restaurants that I've been to. After eating both cups, it is my opinion that both entrées were average. In terms of taste and flavor, the dishes weren't any better or worse than what I had at other Cajun/Creole restaurants (the gumbo is much better than the popular DejaVu Restaurant in South Memphis). That said, both cups had the requisite ingredients for the respective entrées, which made for a spicy meal that was good yet not exceptional.
During my third visit, I went with the Voodoo Chicken po' boy sandwich with potato salad and coleslaw. The chicken, cooked in a manner similar to the Drunken Chicken entrée, has a nice flavor to it. One reviewer on Urbanspoon said that the chicken had a "smoked" flavor, however I couldn't detect it because of the spiciness of the Voodoo sauce. The sauce tasted similar to the gumbo I had earlier but it was a tad more spicy (about the same as the Drunken Chicken). As a stand alone dish, I believe that with rice, the Voodoo Chicken would make for a really good meal. As the main component in a po' boy sandwich having the usual lettuce and tomatoes within a fresh baked hoagie bun, the Voodoo Chicken is excellent. The sandwich, along with creamy potato salad (sprinkled with black pepper) and average-tasting coleslaw, is a complete meal that satisfied my appetite. Of the three meals that I had, this was by far the best.
After making three trips to Johnny G's, I came away with a good impression of the place. Overall, the food was good and can hold it's own with most Cajun/Creole restaurants in Memphis. However, the service that I got was great, for the waitstaff was very friendly and informative, and I got my food quickly. If I was working near Downtown, I would put Johnny G's high on my list of places to lunch at, solely on the expediency of the service. On a scale of ten, I would give Johnny G's a seven based mostly on the service, which is not a "knock" on the food. It's a good place for dining that I don't mind recommending.