I once had the dubious privilege of walking around the French Quarter with a bona fide Frenchman who was railing drunkenly about how Cajun food could never be as refined as French food, because of its humble ingredients.

Depending on how drunk he was at dinner, Acadia might have changed his mind. Despite the decadence of the ingredients, the execution is elevated, restrained and refined.

Drawing from the cuisine of New Orleans, which is arguably the nation's richest, provides a lot of room for Acadia to shine. That starts with the cocktail list. America's oldest cocktail, the Sazerac, was invented in the Big Easy before the Civil War, and here it's served exactly as it should be—strong and sweet in a large rocks glass instead of a sweaty, trembling little cocktail glass.

(WW Staff)
(WW Staff)

The inch-and-a-half-thick pork chop was tender and perfectly cooked, the inside pink as a kiss and almost painfully delicious against the concentrated sweetness of the seasonal poached peaches. Likewise with the delicately fried soft-shell Louisiana blue crab with creamy crawfish étouffée—the fried crab almost melted in the mouth, a difficult feat with an animal that still has its shell on.

Though regulars tend to gravitate toward dishes like the Louisiana barbecue shrimp, you don't have to spend a lot if you don't want to—two starters of red beans and rice are $4 each and the $7 housemade andouille sausage is a more-than-adequate entrée.

Acadia, 1303 NE Fremont St., 503-249-5001, acadiapdx.com. 5 pm-close Monday-Saturday, 11:30 am-2:30 pm Wednesday. $$.

Pro tip: If you're looking to celebrate Mardi Gras the way Portlanders do—with food, not beads—Acadia offers up probably the most extravagant special menu in town that's still affordable. Their $25 three-course meals last year included options on Louisiana catfish with miso-braised greens, smoked pork cheeks with white-bean cassoulet and a jambalaya packed with smoked chicken, andouille and housemade tasso ham.