We promise we do actually eat food that hasn’t been prepared by Disney-affiliated chefs. Really! But when it comes to theme, you really can’t top their particular brand of magic. Which is why, if you’re looking for a New Orleans themed experience this Mardi Gras (and can’t afford the real thing), all you have to do is pop on over to Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney, Anaheim.
From the outside, Ralph Brennan’s looks is a traditional two-story, iron-balconied building one might find in the more romantic cities in Louisiana. Awnings and plants hang overhead and ornate iron gates beckon you to enter. Once inside, you are no longer in the hustle and bustle of a Disney thoroughfare, you’re enveloped by the romance of the French Quarter. A tiled courtyard, a grand staircase, a multi-tiered fountain. If only there were music playing… Oh wait, what’s that coming from the next room?
Under a canopy of colorful parasols and shimmering beads sits a stage, flanked by columns and surrounded by tables. A warm glow emanates from the low platform as a man sits behind a grand piano, serenading diners enjoying Sunday brunch. But once night falls, the tranquility of day gives way to the energy of Bourbon Street with festive jazz, New Orleans R&B, and zydeco.
Not only does the Jazz Kitchen have their ambience down pat, but it’s got roots too. Ralph Brennan’s family first went into business in 1943 when they purchased the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter. To help capture that authentic Louisiana look and feel, a dozen New Orleans-based artists were commissioned to create original artwork for this California location. And boy was it worth it!
Of course, the desire for authenticity didn’t stop there. Ralph Brennan’s boasts what they call a “Parade of Crescent City Specialties”, including Gumbo Ya-Ya, Pasta Jambalaya, and Po’ Boys. You can sip on a refreshing Louisiana Lemonade or try a traditional Hurricane. And don’t forget the Beignets and Bananas Foster. The biggest problem with the menu here is that it’s nearly impossible to decide what to order! When we can’t decide, we go with the Bananas Foster French Toast or the Cajun Poutine Etouffe. We’re drooling a little just thinking about it.
Other culinary highlights include the Peach Cobbler, Bread Pudding Souffle, Southern Fried Chicken, Blackened Shrimp Street Tacos, Popcorn Calamari, Boudin Balls, and Catfish. Prices range from $12-16 for lunch and $22-36 for dinner and you’ll definitely need to make a reservation at least 24 hours in advance if you plan to have brunch.
Sunday Brunch runs from 10am-3pm, Lunch is served Monday through Saturday from 11am-4pm, and Dinner is nightly 4-10pm (11pm on Fridays and Saturdays). Call (714) 776-5200 for reservations or visit www.rbjazzkitchen.com