Here’s Everything You Need to Recreate This French Quarter Feast

Written By: Michelle Stansbury
Photographed By: Kambria Fischer New Orleans Stuffed Lobster

Step out of North Park and into the French Quarter—the expansive patio of Louisiana Purchase welcomes you with hanging ferns and dimly lit lanterns. Keep your eye out for Executive Chef Quinnton Austin, known as Chef Q, as he walks around the restaurant, checking in on guests and laughing with his team. Chef Q, a Louisiana native, brings a genuine taste of New Orleans to San Diego. He shares, “The whole restaurant is an homage to Louisiana. From the food to the cocktails, we keep it authentic to the NOLA region.” Even the names of his dishes are tributes to inspirational restaurants, chefs and figures from his home.

One of those dishes is The Dragos, a heaping plate featuring a chick lobster stuffed with Cajun lobster linguini. The signature dish is named after the Dragos Seafood Restaurant, which has three locations in Louisiana. “Dragos is a restaurant in Louisiana famous for its stuffed lobster, and I wanted to do that times 10,” Chef Q explains. He recalls, “The first time I saw this dish, my dad had gotten it and he loved it. I immediately knew I wanted to redo it.” The Dragos has been on the menu since Louisiana Purchase opened in March 2019 and was an immediate hit. Chef Q’s version is an eye-widening, get-your-phone-out, oh-my-gosh sort of dish with the lobster claws and tail just peeking out from under a heaping mountain of pasta.

It all starts with the lobster. Chef Q gets live chick lobsters from Santa Monica Seafood and calms them with his soothing Louisiana drawl before cooking. “We talk to them [and] calm them down; it makes the meat more tender when they’re calm. I tell my team, ‘When you grab the lobster, don’t be rough; be as gentle as possible.’” Chef Q laughs, “We tell them, ‘Relax, little lobster.’”

The one- to 1.5-pound lobsters are seasoned with a house Cajun spice blend that includes paprika, chili powder, garlic powder and a Louisiana spice called Slap Ya Momma before they are roasted in the oven. Meanwhile, the linguini is combined with a Cajun rosemary alfredo, reducing the cream and adding Parmesan until the sauce is decadently rich. The Cajun spices add some heat and the Slap Ya Momma spice brightens the sauce. Extra lobster meat is combined with the pasta, and the lobster linguini is then piled on top of the split chick lobster, served garnished with microgreens, edible flowers and more Parmesan cheese. The dish puts the “big” in The Big Easy (a nickname for the city of New Orleans), so you can share with the table. 

The decadent dish matches Chef Q’s passion for turning San Diego into a culinary destination. “When I first moved to San Diego, it didn’t have a culinary buzz like other places in California,” he explains. “San Diego has only one James Beard nominee and one Michelin Star. Los Angeles and San Francisco have all the shine, but San Diego is the hidden gem. The county isn’t just about the surf and tacos; we have incredible culinary talent too.” Chef Q doesn’t view other restaurants in town as his competition; he is known for supporting other local chefs. “We’re all in this together—to get people to take notice.”

With dishes like The Dragos, people are sure to take notice of Louisiana Purchase and Chef Q’s NOLA-inspired cuisine.

 

The Ingredients: New Orleans Stuffed Lobster

– 1 Half Split Chick Lobster 
– Squirter With Lemon Juice and Oil Blend
– 8 oz Linguine
– 3 cups of Heavy Cream
– 1/2 cup Parmesan
– 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
– 1 Sprig Rosemary
– Cajun Spice 
– Salt
– Pepper
– Microgreens
– Edible Flowers

Louisiana Purchase
2305 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
619.255.8278

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