We had gone to the original Mulate's in Breaux Bridge, LA, a few days prior to spotting the Mulate's in New Orleans. My mother-in-law had really enjoyed the fried crawfish tails at the original. I had attempted to locate fried crawfish tails for her the previous day at Acme's Oyster Bar (no crawfish and very noisy), and she had been VERY disappointed! So, when we spotted Mulate's, I thought to myself, "What a relief. At least I know they'll enjoy this." Little did I know...
When we walked in, I immediately noticed that the decor was quite different. The original Mulate's has rather low ceilings, with a lot of wood posts and beams, and is somewhat dark. Thousands of business cards are tacked up all over the ceilings and posts. Patrons feel free to express themselves on the walls, and whether the music was live or recorded, the dance floor always had at least a few Zydeco lovers enjoying the music. The staff at the original was warm and welcoming.
The NOLA Mulate's looked like any other restaurant, but did have audible Zydeco. The staff was neither warm nor welcoming. At the original, my mother-in-law and I split a heaping plate full of crawfish and fries garnished with a sort of tartar sauce. The waitress brought us each an order of coleslaw and jambalaya. In addition, hot, buttery garlic toast was served.
In contrast, for a couple of dollars more, my in-laws attempted to split the order at the original. It would have been barely enough for one of them, much less the two. They didn't even have coleslaw on the menu, and there was no garlic toast. I had to ask for silverware AFTER our food had been served. There was no tartar sauce, and my sister-in-law received no salad with her soup and salad order.
The staff was quite unfriendly, and rather inept, besides. They didn't even sell the same T-shirts or hot sauce as the original. I'm not at all sure they're owned by the same people; I kind of doubt it. If you want true Cajun food and culture, rent a car and drive to Breaux Bridge for day. There you can enjoy swamp tours (at a quarter of the price, with four times the wildlife), Bayou cabins, Zydeco music, and good Cajun food - all spoken in that fun Cajun way by good, hospitable Cajun folk!