New Orleans–inspired original art plus the sounds of South Louisiana jazz, blues and zydeco create a Cajun ambiance at Acadia Bistro. Since 2001, this Sabin restaurant has matched atmosphere to cuisine at the corner of Northeast Fremont and 13th Ave.
Owner and Chef Adam Higgs, who lives a few blocks
away in Irvington, goes the extra mile to ensure his menu offerings are not only fresh, but authentic. Twice a week he drives to Portland International Airport
to pick up the shrimp, Louisiana drumfish, soft-shell blue crab, crawfish and other seafood delicacies he has flown in from the Gulf.
Acadia Bistro serves Creole specialties such as fried soft-shell blue crab and Oysters en Brochette with Creole Remoulade — dishes that can be found in more expensive French Quarter restaurants. But Acadia specializes in Cajun dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya and red beans and rice. Higgs calls traditional Cajun cuisine the “food of poverty,” created by descendants of the French Canadian exiles who settled along the bayous of
“These people, the Acadians, cooked what they had — hogs, crocodile, crawfish — and they prepared it with more spice and more smoke (than the city folk),” explains Higgs, who continues to travel to New Orleans annually for research.
Using traditional recipes, Higgs and Acadia’s other three cooks prepare the restaurant’s own charcuterie: Andouille and boudin sausage, tasso ham and bacon. And they use locally grown fruits and vegetables in season. You’ll also find Southern mainstays such as cornbread, hush puppies, black-eyed peas and greens on the menu, but with a gourmet twist.
Acadia’s list of Northwest and international wines is substantial, and its cocktail offerings include traditional Sazeracs and Hurricanes among other more creative libations.
Higgs estimates that most diners spend an average of $30 to $40 for their meal and drinks, but some locals often spend much less, popping in for a drink and hearty bowl of gumbo.
On Christmas Eve, Acadia offers a Reveillon dinner, a Creole tradition derived from the French word for "awakening.” Originally, it was a meal of breakfast foods served in homes by Catholic families after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Since the 1990s, many New Orleans restaurants offer Reveillon dinners that feature some of their best dishes and alcoholic spirits.
Higgs is now in the process of creating this year’s Reveillon dinner menu that probably will include four courses. He also plans to offer special five- or six-course meals on New Year’s Eve.
Acadia Bistro is open Monday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch. Reservations (503-249-5001) are recommended for holidays and weekends, as well
as on Mondays, when the eatery offers its “Cheap Eats” selection of $10
— Susan Goracke