Creole Pizza & Cabaret @ Two Boots in Bridgeport

Marcy Shinbaum

Walking into this funky spot in Bridgeport immediately makes me yearn for my Brooklyn hipster days.  I spent the early 90’s in Brooklyn with my future husband and Two Boots was a place we frequented.  This CT outpost really brings me back.  Stepping in underneath the retro neon martini sign outside, a very mod theme continues.  The walls are adorned with mardis gras beads and concert flyers and the long counter and tables shine in a combination of lipstick red and shiny chrome.

And then there’s the smell…garlicky, spicy and yeasty.  Two Boots may have built its reputation on Creole pizza, but my nose knows there more going on here.

After quickly being seated for lunch I am handed a kitschy menu, which immediately draws me in. Blackened catfish, jambalaya and po’boys.  I’m nearly drooling, but wait there’s a long list of specials too.  Today the chef must have found some great portabello mushrooms because there’s a run on them.  They’re tossed in the salad special; they’re featured in a pasta special and on a po’boy too.  Lucky for me, I love portabellos.

While there are a ton of menu items drawing our attention, my lunch companion and I settle in on a few house specials.  To start, we order the fried mac-n-cheese.  As if the old standby isn’t decadent enough, this tower of cheesy pasta is a five-inch cube of main line comfort food.  The crunchy breadcrumb crust is a perfect compliment to the soft macaroni inside.  And the whole thing is covered in a warm, sweet, mustardy cheese sauce.  There’s no way we can eat more than a few bites, but they are definitely worth the workout I’ll be doing in the morning.  And I can just imagine the delight on my kids faces when the get the leftovers tonight. 

Next up, the salad special: blackened chicken, goat cheese and grilled portabellos over hearty spinach greens, red onion and shredded carrots.  My dining companion could not stop eating the portabellos.  They were doused in extra balsamic vinegar, which really enhanced the flavor profile.  It was a tasty accompaniment for the blackened chicken, which was mostly moist and very well seasoned. 

Next came the Larry Tate Special a white pizza pie, named for that Bewitched charmer.  Not sure what the association is, but this cornmeal crust is topped with spinach (pictured below).  Since Two Boots is known for it’s spicy Creole pizza sauce, our server offered up a bowl on the side for dipping.

First bite and truly, the crust is a dream.  Each time I return to Two Boots, it’s this cornmeal crust that really brings me back.  It’s crisp and sturdy, but not overly dense.  Cornmeal, to me, just offers pizza crust the perfect texture.  The toppings were good, the minced garlic was dominant, but mellow enough to enjoy.  This is a stand-alone pie, but the addition of the spicy sauce elevates it to something even more memorable.  If you have the kids in tow, don’t forget to request the traditional sauce, it’s more kid-friendly.

At this point in the meal, out walked our server with the Cajun shrimp po’boy.  We actually had to pull over an extra table to hold the mass amount of food we were diving into – we girls really strapped on the feedbag for this CTBites outing.  Good thing we did, because the po’boy was d-e-licious.  A toasted hoagie roll loaded with shrimp in a creamy Cajun dressing.   Cayenne, black and white peppers along with some paprika, maybe some garlic and onion powder, bay, turmeric, cumin.  I’m not sure what else was in there, but it danced across my taste buds...and I wasn’t even hungry at this point.  It was topped with a bit of relish, lettuce and onion, rounding off the great flavor in this really gratifying po'boy sandwich.

No room for the Mississippi Mud Cake or NY Style Cheesecake this time.  But I’ll be back soon.  In addition to the spicy food, Two Boots kitchen closes Friday and Saturday night at 10 and this space turns into a pulsing music venue.  On Saturday, November 14, NYC’s Filthy Gorgeous Burlesque is performing and I can’t imagine a more fun evening.  Two Boots music acts are varied: gypsy rock, R&B, acoustic and progressive. There’s a small cover charge usually less than $10.  Two Boots also supports the Jazz Guild in which teens from New Haven, Fairfield and Westchester County perform the first and third Wednesday of the month.  It’s a great time to dine as a family with your aspiring musicians.

Two Boots is located at 281 Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport, not far from the Coliseum and the Downtown Cabaret Theater.  Hours are Monday – Wednesday 12 – 10pm, Thursday – Saturday they stay open after midnight as a music venue, and Sundays 12 – 9.

Two Boots 281 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport. 203.331.3377

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