Fried chicken Po’boy and crawfish etoufee? Hush puppies and three cheese mac and cheese? Welcome to Southern Comfort Kitchen, the newest restaurant in Castro Valley, located in the old Pizza Hut space on the Boulevard, next to Silver Spoon and KFC.
Southern Comfort Kitchen features authentic Cajun cuisine cooked by three brothers who hail from New Orleans. It’s their first brick and mortar restaurant after operating local food trucks. The restaurant had a line of people waiting to get in on the night we went, just a week after opening.
Once in the door, you are greeted warmly and handed a menu to review. Food is ordered at one end of a long counter and picked up at the other end. Behind the ordering station is a semi-open kitchen, where you can watch food being prepared. Occasionally, the owners look up and thank folks for coming in.
The restaurant is small, with about ten tables and some counter seating. The décor has walls featuring Mardi Gras and New Orleans memorabilia and a brick wall on one side emblazoned with the restaurant’s name/logo.
Our line moved quickly and the ordering process was efficient. We had hush puppies, fried brussels sprouts and a side of crawfish etoufee as starters. For entrees, we ordered the fried chicken and fried shrimp Po’boys, the Cajun crab fries and a side of the three cheese mac and cheese. We ordered bread pudding for dessert and only had water to drink so we could enjoy the food.
Since the restaurant was busy, it took some time for our food to arrive. My mouth was watering just smelling the spicy aromas, and I couldn’t wait to dive in.
The hush puppies came with a spicy remoulade sauce and were light and crispy. The fried brussels sprouts were crispy and tasted sweet, salty and bitter all at the same time. The side of crawfish etoufee was a spicy roux-based crawfish stew served with rice and bread.
The chicken sandwich had a crispy piece of spicy fried chicken and was topped with coleslaw and remoulade sauce. The bun was sturdy enough to hold the filing without falling apart. The fried shrimp sandwich, also on the same bun, was full of spicy fried shrimp and topped with coleslaw and the same remoulade sauce. The heaping plate of Cajun crab fries were seasoned with Cajun spices, topped with garlic sauce and covered with sweet crab. The mac and cheese was made with a gouda/two cheddar sauce that was creamy and had a hint of spice. All the dishes were delicious and very filling.
We were too full for dessert, so we took it home. The raisin filled bread pudding was topped with a slightly sweet sauce that made the homestyle dessert a perfect treat.
Overall, Southern Comfort Kitchen delivers flavorful, well prepared food and offers diners many options to try authentic Cajun cuisine. As far as cost, we found the main dishes to be reasonable at $10-$12, but found the sides/starters to be a bit pricey at $5-$6. Dessert was $5. We will definitely go back to try other dishes, but only when the opening chaos simmers down. It’s nice to have a new restaurant in Castro Valley – one that isn’t another chain!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5