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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

The best Creole in town

When I think of Louisiana, a few things come to mind: the wailing sound of southern jazz and amazing Creole and Cajun food.\nCreoles were the original French settlers of New Orleans. These people were mostly rich aristocrats. Cajuns, on the other hand, were Acadians, or poor peasants from France. These people settled around New Orleans in the bayous and prairies of southern Louisiana. \nLucky for us, Yats, a local chain from Indianapolis, that recently opened shop in Bloomington, serves both Cajun and Creole cuisine. This little gem of a restaurant, tucked away behind Casablanca on Fourth and Grant streets, offers wonderful food at incredibly modest prices.\nGo to Yats if you are on a budget: all dishes are $5 (including tax), or $6 if you want half of one dish and half of another. Dessert is $2, and drinks are $1 with free refills. The menu itself is incredibly small -- about only seven dishes -- but it changes daily. For dinner I had a half order of jambalaya and a half order of red beans and rice. One of my companions had a half order of jambalaya with a half order of white chili, while the other opted for an order of gumbo. Our orders were ready within five minutes.\nThe jambalaya was incredible. Jambalaya is a rice-based dish in which smoky Andouille sausage and other meats are mixed together with a healthy amount of vegetables and spices to produce a savory masterpiece. Yats' version was of the Creole variety, meaning there was a little bit of tomato mixed in that gave the whole dish a pleasant red hue. \nThe dish itself was well-spiced with a mix of hot pepper and a variety of other spices giving it a unique taste. Green pepper and onion rounded out the meal. The vegetables absorbed the flavor of the spices and the smoked sausage and were sincerely good. I highly recommend this dish.\nThe red beans and rice tends to be a simpler and much milder dish than the jambalaya. Smoked sausage and red kidney beans are combined in a sauce and then ladled on top of a nice, fluffy bed of rice. Large chunks of sausage mixed well with the red beans. I recommend this dish to anyone who does not like overly spicy food.\nThe gumbo was rather good, which is quite an accomplishment considering it is hard to make a good gumbo. Gumbo is a thick, robust soup laden with chicken, shellfish, a healthy amount of okra, and other vegetables. \nYats' gumbo was excellent. The soup contains a good amount meat and veggies and was finished off with a small amount of shrimp and crawfish. It had a great taste, tasting of traditional Cajun spices. I wish there were more crawfish and other shellfish in this soup,but for the price, you would be hard-pressed to find a better gumbo this side of the Mason-Dixon line.\nThe white chili was really good. White navy beans combined happily with small chunks of chicken in a delectable spicy sauce. The beans and chicken were cooked to perfection: soft and tender, and each bite was better than the one before it. \nIn my opinion, Yats is one of the best values in Bloomington. For $6, you can get a huge plate of food and a drink. The quality of the food is surprisingly high given the price. I highly recommend Yats: Good food, great price, what more can you ask for?

Overall 4 Stars\nValue 5 Stars\nService N/A\nAmbiance 4 Stars\nFood 4 Stars

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