The last stop of Memphis Black Restaurant Week was DeJaVu. We definitely saved the best for last. Located on historic Main Street, this establishment is nestled perfectly downtown. A definite upgrade from it's roots on Florida Street, DeJaVu was still able to keep the soul and rhythm that made it's humble beginnings a local favorite.
Stepping inside DeJaVu literally gives you the feeling of a cafe tucked off an alley of the French Quarter combined with walking down Bourbon Street sipping a hurricane during Mardi Gras. Rightly so since Chef Gary Williams is a native of New Orleans and brings all the soul and spice that makes the dishes of the Bayou a culinary delight.
Chef Gary Williams is a cuisine mastermind that showcases traditional Creole dishes with a twist. The result is simply amazing. Who else would think to top already delicious fried catfish with crawfish étouffée? Insane! The man is a genius! My grandmother would always tell me that you could taste the soul of the person that cooks your food. Well, she was right! You can definitely feel the soul in the food at DeJaVu. After talking with Chef Williams for a few minutes, I could tell how passionate he was about not only his restaurant, but also the food that was put on the table. "It has to be right each time. It has to say DeJaVu every time you eat my food", says Chef Gary Williams.
I knew I would make DeJaVu my last stop of Memphis' Black Restaurant Week. I've eaten at DeJaVu before and I had to have it again. I just didn't want to go there first, have a bad experience elsewhere and it ruin the week for me. This was certainly the highlight of the week for me! It was fantastic! I was again accompanied by Justin Harrison of Dine01. This time we brought along Trey Willis, who had never experienced DeJaVu.
I think the pictures pretty much speak for themselves. The dishes were incredible! I had the stuffed chicken breast with dressing, and I must say it was by far the best dressing I've had since my grandmother passed. That's saying quite a bit because my grandmother's dressing was the best thing you could eat on Earth! And the chicken breast!!! It was an actual piece of real chicken and not something that was previously in a bag that was reheated. It was so tender and juicy!
I have a serious addiction to bread pudding and I'm pretty anal about it. I won't go on a long tirade about how this is the best bread pudding I've ever had, because it isn't. Its some damn good bread pudding though. Definitely in my top 5 in Memphis. I will say that I'm not a big fan of banana either, so my view could be slightly off base.
Having DeJaVu as my last stop of Memphis Black Restaurant Week was the best choice I could have made. They say you should always save the best for last and I'm glad I chose wisely. All in all, I have really enjoyed the week and I feel it was a positive for not only the restaurants featured, but also the city. I love when all people can come together and just enjoy something as simple as a meal. Great food has a uniting quality that supersedes racial issues.
If you've never been to DeJaVu, I highly encourage you to go and experience one of Memphis' very best places to eat. They also feature vegan and vegetarian options so everyone can experience the taste of New Orleans regardless of their eating preferences. Not only is the food great but the experience is worthwhile as well. Stop by and see Chef Gary Williams at DeJaVu and prepare to be amazed!!
Life is for Living,