Pappadeaux’s perplexes me. I spent two years in south Louisiana, so I know what this food is supposed to taste like. And it doesn’t always taste like that at Pappadeaux’s. Plus, the restaurant is not cheap and it insists on using Minute Rice-style rice, which no Cajun would allow in the house. But there are so few authentic Cajun restaurants in town that I find myself going back every three or four months anyway.

This is not to say that the food is bad, because it isn’t. The poor boy sandwiches, and especially the oyster, are reasonably legitimate, and the red beans (though not the rice) do what they’re supposed to be. And, on those once every two year occasions when I order one of the fried seafood platters, I am taken back to the glory days of the original Politz’s in Napoleonville, La., when I was young and cholesterol was just a word that was difficult to spell.

But $8.25 for a bowl of gumbo is way too much. I suppose, as several of my friends who are from south Louisiana remind me, that once you’ve eaten perfection, nothing else will seem quite as good.

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