LEE ESTHER’S CREOLE & CAJUN COOKING
LOCATION: 830 1/2 E Avenue Q-6, Palmdale, CA 93550
It was back in 2015 that I took my very first business trip out to the Palmdale area while working my previous job. I definitely didn’t explore as much of the local food scene as I do now on my recent trips, but the one place that several of my co-workers had recommended was called Lee Esther’s. With it being a restaurant serving Cajun and Creole dishes, I was surprised to find a place like that nestled away up in the Antelope Valley. The food was delicious, and I could see why people raved about the place. Fast forward four years later and I found myself back at Lee Esther’s, this time stopping in with my friend Jose while we were both in the area for a business trip.
For the most part, the place looked pretty much the same as I had remembered it. The dinner crowd was relatively light on a Tuesday evening, where I saw most patrons coming in to grab some takeout. Food-wise, you had your pick from the Cajun and Creole staples: jambalaya, etouffee, blackened fish, and po’ boys. On my previous visit, the crawfish jambalaya was spot-on, so I decided not to mess with a good thing this time around and ordered the same thing.
The one dish that we decided to tack on to our meal was the Boudin Balls. That came as a recommendation from my friend Hoang after I mentioned at work that Jose and I were going to the restaurant for dinner. I wasn’t as familiar with the dish, so I was definitely keeping an open mind on what to expect. Based off of the menu description, however, the Boudin balls sounded like they were going to be pretty good.
The Boudin balls came out in a little basket, each one sized a little bit smaller than a tennis ball. Pork was mixed together with rice, herbs, and spices, cooked until it came out similar to dirty rice, before it got rolled up into balls, breaded, and deep-fried to a golden brown. It was an interesting texture, to say the least — crispy on the outside due to the breading, but soft on the inside from the rice and pork mixture. It had plenty of flavor, especially with the added spices into the mixture, and I found that the Cajun remoulade served on the side helped to give each bite a bit of a tang.
We had just about wrapped up the four Boudin balls when both of our entrées arrived at the table. The plate of jambalaya was even larger than I had remembered it being, with a hefty portion of chicken, sausage, crawfish, and vegetables all cooked in a tomato sauce. White rice and two pieces of garlic bread helped to round out the plate, spelling out quite a bit to chow down on. I grabbed my spoon and piled on some chicken, crawfish, and tomato sauce to construct that first bite.
Just the layering of the flavors alone made the dish really impressive. With something like jambalaya where you’re cooking it nice and slow to help develop those flavors, when you’re able to get that balance right, you’ll know from that initial sip of the sauce. Savory, smoky, tangy, and a subtle hint of spicy, it was all there. The variety of proteins in the jambalaya helped to add to that blend of flavors together, and the white rice was a great way to soak up some of that extra sauce left behind. The garlic bread also made for a nice medium to dip into the sauce as well.
I’ll be honest that Palmdale, CA is not at the top of my list for places to expect some pretty delicious Cajun food. The jambalaya was really flavorful and the portions were plentiful. Jose ordered the Cajun Chicken Bowl and was equally as happy as I was about the food, especially since this was his first trip to the restaurant. Believe the hype and bookmark this place for a visit if you ever find yourself looking for dining options in the Antelope Valley.
Let’s now take a look at the Lee Esther’s Creole & Cajun Cooking Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
And finally, here are my rankings for Lee Esther’s Creole & Cajun Cooking:
Food: 5 / 5
Not only is this some of the only Cajun & Creole food you’ll find in the Palmdale area but also just some really flavorful and quality food in general. The layering of the flavors within the jambalaya was really impressive to me, and most of the other items on the menu sound just as good. This food really does help warm the soul.
Atmosphere: 4 / 5
The dining space can actually accommodate more people than it looks from the outside. It helped that the restaurant also occupied the storefront next door and turned it into an extra dining room, with both rooms together being able to handle probably 35 – 40 people.
Service: 4.25 / 5
The two waitresses that rotated to help us during our meal were friendly, stopping in every once in a while to see how things were with the meal. Given that there weren’t as many people dining in, the kitchen seemed to be able to crank out the food in relatively good time.
Price: 4.75 / 5
The bill might still be a bit on the pricier side of things, but I still give it high marks for the quality of the food you get as well as the size of the portions. I was happy to pay the $19 for my jambalaya dish, which featured chicken, sausage, and crawfish.