To be completely frank, Mimi’s New Orleans Café and Oyster Bar was one of the hardest places to review that I’ve come across so far.

I visited the Richmond cajun and creole restaurant last week on the recommendation of a friend, and quickly discovered many things to love about the restaurant that’s been open for about a year.

Namely, everything on the menu sounds incredible! I spent somewhere in the realm of 5-10 minutes just debating with myself what to order. Do I want the pasta bienville, with tasty-looking grilled chicken breast and penne pasta generously seasoned with mimi’s cream sauce and seasonings? Or perhaps a seafood platter was more in order?

In the end, I settled for the chicken and sausage jambalaya. And let me tell you, dear readers, the entrée was among the best I’ve tasted.

The rice and sausage and chicken all melded together perfectly, creating a combination that was both well-textured and flavorful. With each bite, I found myself stopping for a moment to fully appreciate and savor the cornucopia of flavors that melted across my tastebuds, just as I might with a perfectly aged whiskey.

Whoever cooked that dish deserves the highest of praise.

At this point, you might be wondering what makes it so hard to review Mimi’s, then.

The trouble came with the sides that I chose to order. On that particular day, I opted for the mac and cheese and fries (my entrée let me pick two from a sizeable list of options). Both, unfortunately, were quite bland.

Neither was bad, to be clear. They just felt like a definite step down and out of place next to how wonderful the jambalaya was.

Even now, I’m somewhat conflicted on whether the fault ultimately lies with the restaurant. Perhaps I should have opted for a more traditional side dish to accompany my entrée? Red beans and rice and mustard greens were both options, for instance.

Another option would have been to neglect side dishes altogether, and order the pasta bienville on its own.

All told, I recommend a visit to this new restaurant anytime you’re driving through that part of Fort Bend County. But consider your side options carefully, and please let me know if you find something better. More flavorful sides are all that separates this joint from the best restaurants I’ve visited.

Mimi’s New Orleans Café and Oyster Bar

Address: 1833 Richmond Parkway, Suite 2100, Richmond

Hours: 10:30 am-9 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 10:30 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday, 9 am-4 pm Sunday

Entrée prices: $ 15- $ 29

Kid-friendly: Yes

Senior discount: Well

Alcohol: Yes

Healthy options: Gulf shrimp salad ($ 17)

Star of the show: Chicken and sausage jambalaya

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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