Yats Cajun Creole: West Loop Restaurant Review

Working in the far West Loop (Fulton and Aberdeen) there aren't a whole lot of restaurants within short walking distance. Even though I'm two blocks from Harpo, there aren't many quick, affordable, healthy lunch options. I used to be a devotee of Jerry's until they started charging per "premium" ingredient on the salad. Back in the day, it was $7.95 for whatever toppings you wanted on a salad. Not a bad deal. But now, the same salad I used to get runs $10+

So today I headed over to Subway, but halfway there I decided it was too cold to walk any farther. I stopped walking and headed into Yats Cajun Creole on Randolph, which I believe opened in October or November. It's an Indianapolis output and this is the first location in Chicago.

The place wasn't packed, but had a fair amount of people for a West Loop lunch spot.


I walked up to the counter to try to check out the menu, but there was no menu, only a chalkboard with names of entrees. The problem? There were no descriptions. Not overly familiar with cajun food, I had no clue what anything was and didn't until I returned back to my office to check out the menu on-line. The counter staff was very helpful and when I asked what the Chili Cheese Etouffee was, he offered me a taste. It was delicious, but I could taste the fat dripping off of it, and I didn't know if I could handle a full portion. What is this dish, you ask? The menu says "this spicy cheese smothered dish is
our top seller. It's the most delicious thing this side of civilized
society." I asked the guy what they have that might actually be sort of healthy. He suggested one of the vegetarian options or the Red Beans and Rice with Sausage which I ended up ordering. A big serving of red beans and sausage is poured over white rice and served with two pieces of warm, buttered garlic bread. Probably nowhere close to the calorie count of a 6-inch Subway with no mayo, no cheese.

The dish wasn't bad and it certainly left me full, but this isn't a place where I could go multiple times a week. There's just not enough diversity on the menu and, from the counter guy's comments, not many healthy options.  (Do you hear me, Freshii? Come to the West Loop. Just think of all the women who work for Oprah!!!) However, it is nice to have something different and definitely affordable in the area for lunch.