I was seeking to discover more locally owned restaurants around our area so I made a “shout out” to my friends on my personal Facebook page. Scanning through the many suggestions that were offered, I found that most were chain restaurants which I was hoping to avoid. I was searching for small businesses that thrive while doing something they are passionate about. In the midst of the suggestions, one stood out from all the rest: DeJAVU.
Covering local restaurants brings an excitement that larger chains can not give. I love meeting and talking with owners and chefs who have chosen to take on the task of running a restaurant. I have such a great respect for those who not only do it but do it well.
DeJAVU is a very small restaurant located just south of downtown Memphis. The restaurant prides itself on family friendliness and quality. People from every ethnic background and people from all over the world seek out this little gem and enjoy the delicious taste of authentic Creole food. Their reputation was built upon the great flavors and textures of the food as well as the friendly service provided. When you arrive at DeJAVU you know you are going to be treated right.
Chef Gary Williams is a native of New Orleans and a master of the city’s cuisine. He shared with me that as a child he embraced the social joys of cooking in his mother’s kitchen and turned this special appreciation and art form into a life’s vocation. He is the fifth generation chef in his family and loves to share special memories of his Mother and Grandmother experiencing the art of creating in the kitchen and putting “Love on the Plate.” Chef Gary trained in renown restaurants in New Orleans, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He also has 25 years experience in a very well known and well established catering business. His catering clients have included celebrities such as David Bowie and Bobby Womack, politicians, and anyone who appreciates his superior skills as a chef.
Louis and I enjoyed the delightfully delicious veggie rolls. These amazing rolls were stuffed with curry cabbage, carrots, and raisins and perfectly fried, golden and crisp. These beauties were served with two sauces made in house: one, sweet and sour and the other a plumb raisin sauce. Chef Gary looked quite surprised when I figured out the plumb raisin sauce! Yep, it’s true… this foodie truly knows her food! And every bite was full of intense flavors!
Next up was a beautiful bowl of Seafood Gumbo served with a side of steamed white rice and toasted baguette bread. This is created with chicken breast, two kinds of sausages, shrimp, blue crab, fresh lump crab meat, and more – all cooked to perfection with chopped tomatoes and other herbs in a delightful roux. The gumbo was out of this world – far better than we expected! We knew after the veggie rolls and the gumbo that we were in for a treat. But nothing could have prepared us for the sensational dishes that kept coming!
Louis and I split Big Keith’s Bayou Classic and Mardi Gras Pasta. The Bayou Classic contains your choice of grilled tilapia or catfish topped with a creamy reduction of fresh lump crabmeat, crawfish, and shrimp. It was, simply put, one of the best entrees we’ve ever put in our mouths! The Mardi Gras Pasta was a sensational pasta dish mixed with sauteed shrimp, multicolored peppers, sundried tomatoes, and onions tossed in DeJAVU’s cream sauce. For side items, we feasted on amazing candied yams cooked to perfection, the best red beans and rice dish we’ve ever had, grilled cabbage, and carrots and string beans. Everything… EVERYTHING… was beyond our expectations.
But there was more to come… dessert! Two of Louis’ favorite desserts are bread pudding and bananas foster. Chef Gary brought out both. And while both were delicious, the bananas foster threw us both for a surprise! It was over cheesecake… and it was likely one of the best desserts (if not the best dessert) we’ve ever had! We were talking about our travels and our marriage with Chef Gary when we bit into the bananas foster cheesecake. Just one bite, and the conversation stopped. We simply couldn’t talk – we couldn’t do anything but savor the flavor and texture of this tremendous dessert!
What’s the only thing that can top great food in a niche restaurant? Great personalities, of course! DeJAVU’s got it! Chef Gary Williams and his staff are fun and personable! You’ll love sitting down and sharing life with the folks at DeJAVU. When Chef Gary talks, you hear his passion for his culinary art come across in conversation. Louis and I could have spent all afternoon sharing stories with our new friend – and we almost did!
The atmosphere is charming as well! On the wall, you’ll see photos of Chef Gary with many of his famous admirers who have partaken of his wonderful dishes. The walls and windows are decked in New Orleans flair. The tables are filled with patrons from all over the world, of every nationality, who have heard of this little gem of a restaurant by word of mouth. The Traveling Twosome is proud to start spreading the news as well: DeJAVU is amazing! It’s worth a trip to Memphis just to experience this restaurant!
Great food is truly Art on a Plate. Great Chefs prepare Love on a Plate. It’s no wonder that people from all over the world come to Memphis to experience this restaurant. You don’t want to miss this gem! DeJAVU is one of the best restaurants and Gary Williams is one of the nicest Chefs we’ve ever met.
DeJAVU prepares authentic New Orleans Cuisine and specializes in Vegan and Vegetarian Dishes! They run a full service catering operation as well. They are located at 936 Florida Street just south of Downtown Memphis. Phone them for reservations at (901) 942-1400 and tell them The Traveling Twosome sent you!