Steaming pots of seafood. Fried Oyster Po’ Boys. And golden Beignets served four different ways. Taking a bite of the Big Easy has never been easier, at Bootleg Special.
Brand new to Boston’s South End, Bootleg Special is a place where the food, the fun, and the festivities of the French Quarter are on full display.
Chris Young – Partner, Bootleg Special: “We have really great seafood, New Orleans style cuisine, great bar and cocktails in a fun atmosphere.”
Chris Young and Stephen Chan are the guys behind the place, and their passion for the bold flavors of New Orleans and the great seafood of New England, serve as the inspiration for the menu.
Chris Young – Partner, Bootleg Special: “Stephen and I really love Cajun seafood boils. And in Boston we have so much local seafood, why not bring it here?”
Stephen Chan – Partner, Bootleg Special: “New England is known for our seafood. But a lot of times the way that is cooked it can be a little boring. So we want to kick it up a notch and bring in some Louisiana spices and Cajun flavors, and make it more exciting.”
And they decided to serve it in a space that’s equally exciting. Because while the outside of Bootleg Special doesn’t really look all that special, the inside transports customers straight to Bourbon Street.
Chris Young – Partner, Bootleg Special: “When you walk into Bootleg Special, we have high ceilings, 30 foot high ceilings, a mezzanine, you’ll see a French Quarter design with Louisiana style iron work.”
Stephen Chan – Partner, Bootleg Special: “You see the balcony like you would in the French Quarter, a lot of the older chandeliers and more the classic places in Louisiana. And then as far as the concrete wall, that’s kind of the urban edge with the urban artwork that you see around the city.”
There are all kinds of great eats on the menu at Bootleg Special, but the main attraction is definitely those Southern Style Seafood Boils, that really keep the kitchen cranking.
Chris Young – Partner, Bootleg Special: “First, they grab all the seafood and they boil it in a big pot with all our special herbs and spices. They pull it out and they drain it and they toss it in the sauce of your choice. And it comes in this really big bowl and you put on these bibs, gloves, and you just go right into it, and we like to say, get down and dirty.”
There’s all kinds of seafood to choose from, like big Crab Legs, Jumbo Shrimp, and plump Mussels. But for a taste of everything, just order the restaurant’s namesake dish, The Bootleg Special.
Stephen Chan – Partner, Bootleg Special: “The Bootleg Special itself is basically our signature dish. It has all our seafood, lobster, clams, mussels, crawfish, shrimp, mixed with potato and corn, and it’s all cooked in our seasoned boil, and then we mix it with the bootleg sauce, which is a lot of garlic, a lot of butter and a lot of Cajun spices. It comes in a big platter, a lot of people are kind of taken back by the size and the portion of it. But once we place it down, and you have your gloves and your bib, I mean they just go right at it and it tastes delicious.”
Before you dive into that big bowl of seafood, there are plenty of flavor packed apps to kick off your meal at Bootleg Special, like Chicken Wings that start sticky sweet, then bring the heat, Baby Back Ribs with an addictive Cherry Coke glaze, and a Cajun Fried Rice dish Chris just had to have on the menu.
Chris Young – Partner, Bootleg Special: “I grew up cooking fried rice for the family and I wanted to bring it to my restaurant. And what we do with our Cajun Fried Rice is a little bit kick spice with andouille sausage, crawfish, egg and we really cook it on an authentic wok with high BTUs, and with that high heat, you really get that smoky flavor for our fried rice.”
For a true taste of Louisiana, check out the Fried Oyster Po Boy with homemade remoulade and shoestring fries, and for a dish that looks simple, but tastes sensational, the Garlic Noodles with shrimp are a must order.
Stephen Chan – Partner, Bootleg Special: “By itself, it kind of looks plain Jane, but I mean with all the flavors and everything it’s kind of like rock and roll in your mouth.”
Chris Young – Partner, Bootleg Special: “When you eat our garlic noodles, you’re going to taste sweet and savory, as well as a really good kick of garlic and butter.”
To end your meal at Bootleg Special, Beignets are the way to go. And best of all, these golden fried beauties are offered with all kinds of toppings.
Chris Young – Partner, Bootleg Special: “Our beignets are made fresh every day. And you can have it traditionally piled high with powdered sugar, as well as a bananas foster sauce, bourbon maple pecan glaze, and a chocolate hazelnut sauce.”
Stephen Chan – Partner, Bootleg Special: “My personal favorite is banana foster beignets. That’s our beignets with powdered sugar, and then put ice cream on top with banana and our bananas foster sauce, which is made with spiced rum and some banana liquor, you definitely taste a little bit of that rum in there. It’s delicious.”
You can also enjoy those Beignets during Bootleg Special’s weekend brunch, along with other indulgent options like Fried Green Tomatoes, and impossibly fluffy Soufflé Pancakes.
Chris Young – Partner, Bootleg Special: “Our soufflé pancake, it’s really unique. It’s not like a traditional pancake that you usually get at any other place. It’s really light and billowy, kind of has that Angel cake texture to it. And we serve it with maple syrup, condensed milk and fresh berries, and it’s unbelievable.”
And from Soufflé Pancakes, to Seafood Boils, Bootleg Special is serving up a dining experience that’s as delicious as it is different.
Stephen Chan – Partner, Bootleg Special: “Our food is unique, our experience is different, we’re fun, we’re exciting, there’s a lot of energy and it’s definitely different from your traditional dinner.”