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Pines of Florence Becoming the Jambalaya Room on Connecticut Ave “I am here to set the record straight for the sake of people who know TRUE Louisiana Cajun & Creole Cuisine”

by Prince Of Petworth August 22, 2013 at 10:30 am 33 Comments

2100 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Thanks to a reader for sending word about the change coming to Pines of Florence on Connecticut Ave between north Dupont and Woodley Park. A website for Jambalaya Room says:

“Welcome to the Jambalaya Room: Thank you for your visiting the Jambalaya Room! Experience the best, and the most authentic Louisiana Cajun & Creole Cuisine on the East Coast!! The imitators and duplicators of Louisiana Cajun & Creole Cuisine who label their dishes as “Orleans…” “Cajun…” or “Creole…” I am here to set the record straight for the sake of people who know TRUE Louisiana Cajun & Creole Cuisine. I have the best story of how I arrived here…driven by the need to have authentic Cajun & Creole cuisine on the East Coast. I am ready to share that story with everyone. Allow me to rescue your palate from its past disappointments—and give you the authentic Creole & Cajun Cuisine experience outside of New Orleans.”

You can see their future menu here.

I called Pines of Florence and was told they will remain open while the menu is finalized and some small renovations will take place as well. They were unable to tell me an exact date when the change will occur. Updates when the change is official.

Back in Nov. 2012 Pines of Florence briefly rebranded as a bakery and cafe.  Before that we previously judged them back in Jan. 2009.

Looking forward to seeing how Jambalaya Room turns out.

  • Anonymous

    This seems very interesting because the place seems to be headed by Moses Jackson the former executive chef at the Praline Connection in New Orleans.

    • Emmaleigh504

      Mmm Praline Connection is good eats!

  • AK

    Mmmm, I love defensiveness about authenticity.

  • textdoc

    It seems odd to me for a new restaurant to announce itself primarily by way of trash-talking. Shouldn’t they be focusing on their own strengths, not the alleged weakness of their competitors?

    • Emmaleigh504

      I don’t know, my palate has been assaulted by the so called Cajun food up here, so they are speaking directly to me. I will give them a try.

      • Haha, exactly. If you have any sort of New Orleans roots, you are so completely skeptical of any place claiming a Nola/Cajun connection that this probably is meant to speak to us. TruOrleans is the worst offender, but lots of others around here are pretty terrible. So I can understand a new one trying to set themselves apart from the others!

        • Emmaleigh504

          My favorite is when places serve jambalaya “over rice”. I eat hamburgers when that’s on the menu.

        • textdoc

          Fair enough… but it seems like for this place to succeed, its marketing ought to speak to more people than just transplanted New Orleanians.

          • Well, I think that more than just speaking to transplanted New Orleanians, they are trying to speak to anyone who has eaten supposed Nola/Cajun/Creole food around here and thought “meh.”

        • ET

          I will never, ever forget when I had a shrimp dish in a supposed New Orleans theme place about 15+ years ago and the entire plate was COVERED with whole peppercorns. The food was inedible of course.

      • From NO

        I agree. There is literally 1 single place in DC and all it’s suburbs that I have been to that makes even a semi-decent shrimp po-boy and red beans and rice. And I say semi-decent I am comparing to REAL New Orleans food.

        • Anonymous

          What do these places do wrong, exactly? I can’t tell the difference between Cajun food here and Cajun food I’ve had down south, but maybe I was eating at bad places there too.

          • ET

            Here is an example when it comes to a fried shrimp po-boy at least. In NOLA we don’t put 4 huge shrimp with fancy lettuce and thick slices of tomato. We put lots of small shrimp and shaved iceberg lettuce. The reason po-boy is poor-boy and what got put on that sandwich was the left overs. And there is the fact with lots of little shrimp you get shrimp in every bit as opposed to nothing but bread. I have given up on a bread like Leidenheimer’s so I don’t bother bitching over that.

            As for red beans and rice – one thing that changes to dish is what red beans were used. If Camellia red beans are used it turns out like it does in NOLA otherwise it doesn’t.

          • Anonymous

            Very educational, thanks! I’d love to hear more examples from you NOLA transplants.

          • Emmaleigh504

            “Down south” doesn’t always get Louisiana food right unless it’s in Louisiana. Creole and Cajun are different too. I hate Creole jambalaya, but love Cajun. Po Boys should not have cheese and ketchup either. If you get one dressed it’s the shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato, and mayo; and everything should be tumbling out. The coffee should have chicory and be so thick you can stand a spoon up, not clear like that crap at Bardia’s. (Bardia’s does get points for chicory.)

          • I’ve only been to NOLA twice and I am not expert in po-boys, but the Passenger has been having them on Tuesdays and the one I had was great and as explained above. It seemed pretty legit to me.

    • Anonymous

      How does that seem odd? Most forms of advertising involve some type of trash talking.

  • Anonymous

    The apps look appealing, but will they have entrees? Or just gumbo?
    And any word on price point? I will feel differently about this announcement depending on whether it will cost me $25ish or $60ish to eat here.

    • Anonymous

      This seems strange. And even more strange, given the name of the place: no jambalaya on the menu.

  • Anonymous

    Clicked on the “vegetarian dishes” link but didn’t see any results. Maybe that’s not yet updated, or maybe I’m just incredibly naive for even having that expectation?

    • ET

      I am surprised they would even include vegetarian dishes. If the food itself doesn’t have some sort of animal product it was more than likely cooked with one.

      • Anonymous

        Ha! I had to do some work on the Gulf Coast a few years ago, in a situation where I had no control over the food. Even stuff like boiled green beans had flecks of pork in them. The only thing vegetarian was the salad bar, which consisted of iceberg lettuce and numerous mayonnaisey things. That said, it’s not hard to adapt Cajun and Southern cooking for a vegetarian audience.

  • ledroittiger

    The brunch menu looks tantalizing.

  • Anonymous

    Seems pretty legit. The chef has worked at a few great restaurants in Nola (including K-Paul’s, which is a favorite of mine). There is a Groupon for a three course meal for two for $70 (includes 2 apps, 2 entrees, 2 desserts, and a bottle of wine). For that price, even a decent dinner is worth it.

    • Anonymous

      Also, on Groupon, it says the restaurant is opening September 1. That seems like a odd day to open (the Sunday of Labor Day weekend), so it may just be a place holder.

  • Eponymous

    Wow that’s an insufferably arrogant intro. But he’s not wrong – New Orleans-style food in DC is pretty tragic. Will probably have to try this at least once.

  • BitterElitist

    Former NOLA resident.

    His bio intrigues me. Can’t wait.

  • monkeyrotica

    Well, I am here to set the record straight for the sake of people who know TRUE Cantonese  and Szechuan Cuisine. They’re totally different and most cooks are either good at one or the other but rarely both. But by all means, please “skool” us ignorant Yankees on how to “make groceries” and “dress” our po boys and elect corrupt local politicians.

    • J

      If you really knew anything about chuancai, you wouldn’t be spelling it with that goofy-ass Wade Giles romanization. Get out of here.

      “You guys I had mapo doufu once and now I’m a szechuan connoisseur” *barfs*

  • Jenna

    Fascinating. Yet another Cajun restaurant in DC. How many more will there be? As a Cajun, and as someone who has basically tried them all in DC (but I recently moved away), now I will be curious to see how this place does. The menu looks great, but does DC really want or need another Cajun/Creole restaurant? The Cajun Experience was pretty legit. I only visited the DC one before it shut down, but I hear the Leesville one is still thriving. TruOrleans had good food, but the service was terrible. BayouDC is eh. Bayou Bakery isn’t bad either. New Orleans Po Boy Shop in Dupont is fantastic. Great service, excellent food, and very legit. This trend needs to be over.

  • Anonymous

    Upsetting there’s no catfish, red beans and rice, or bananas foster…

  • Fred Robinson

    I was born in the ninth ward in New Orleans and Chef Jackson joined my family for a Creole Christmas last year and we shared some of the best food in the world. I can’t wait for the Jambalaya Room to open in Washington. It’s about time TRADITIONAL CREOLE AND CAJUN
    FOOD COMES TO THE Nations Capitol.

  • This is an odd location for this type of cuisine (really anything other than Italian or American) as it really is a neighborhood restaurant for the older-skewing Kalorama/Conn. Ave co-op/condo crowd


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