You have to be looking for it, driving along this busy, high traffic section of 71st St. just past Lewis Ave. toward Riverside--and then, only by chance did I notice Hebert's. Set off the street just a bit with the dark wood color of the building, it blends nicely into the scenery with little to draw attention to it.
It was the week before Ash Wednesday, and Hebert's (pronounced "Ç-bears") was in full Mardi Gras regalia. Hats and beads of all sorts, t-shirts and many other gifts were tastefully displayed throughout the store.
And so, as you might imagine, Hebert's carries many products from the proud bayou state, native Louisiana items, such as a full range of Tabasco products, Zatarain's products, Zapp's Potato Chips, Café du Monde Beignet Mix, Tony Chachere's products, Camellia Beans and more.
But specialty meats are what Hebert's is known for--Boneless Chicken and Boneless Turkey stuffed with a choice of stuffing (such as cornbread, dirty rice, eggplant, crawfish étouffée and rice, alligator); Turducken; Cajun Sausage (pork, chicken, beef and pork jalapeno chicken, hot link crawfish boudin and more); Smoked Cajun Sausage; Kabobs, Specialty Beef (stuffed brisket, stuffed eye of round, filet bacon wrapped, T-bone and more); Specialty Pork (baby back ribs, stuffed pork tenderloin, boneless pork chop, stuffed pork loin); and a long list of Other Cajun Favorites--too many to mention.
My intent this day was to have a Cajun lunch, which is offered for dine-in or carry-out Monday through Saturday, 11am-2pm. Etouffee, Gumbo, Red Beans or Corn Soup are served every day for $5.95; daily specials for $6.95 include Stuffed Chickens, Monday through Wednesday, Turducken on Thursdays and Catfish with Shrimp & Crab are served on Fridays.
Since it was Thursday that my friend and I dined here, I was up for the Turducken (a delicately deboned turkey that is stuffed with boneless duck and chicken; cornbread stuffing and pork stuffing are then added to separate each poultry.
This was served with Dirty Rice (a traditional Cajun dish made from white rice cooked with small pieces of chicken liver or giblets which give it a "dirty" color; other ingredients include green bell pepper, celery and onion--affectionately known to culturally Catholic Cajuns as the "Holy Trinity" and the basis for much of their cuisine).
I thoroughly enjoyed this meal, and hesitantly gave the food three stars, only because the temperature of the meal was barely warm. My preference is a hotter temp for a meal.
My friend ordered the Gumbo over white rice. He enjoyed the explosion of savory flavors, but again, wished it were a bit warmer (temperature-wise) and, a little more on the spicy side. He fixed that with some splashes of the hot sauces available at the condiment stand.
With both meals, the serving was a bit modest for the price--a little more rice on both dishes was desired.
Saturdays mornings must be a treat at Hebert's--a little bit of the Crescent City with Beignets and Café Au Lait served from 10-11am.
Hebert's, owned and operated by 'true Cajuns' for 15 years (with the original store in Maurice, LA) claims to the home of the original, de-boned stuffed poultry. Their Cajun food market has developed unique seasonings, marinades, stuffings and cooking processes to produce their products.
Their website states, "After just one taste you will understand 'Un bon diner Cajun excite l'espirit tandis qu'il adoucit le coeur' or 'A good Cajun dinner excites the spirit as it warms the heart.'"
Hebert's Specialty Meats
2101 E. 71st St.
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