Eau Claire may seem an odd place to create a stylish Cajun restaurant, but Stella Blues quickly found its niche in the local culinary scene when it opened a few years ago in a historic downtown building. The hardwood-floors and brick interiors, decorated with local artifacts, tell you immediately this isn't a typical meat-and-potatoes eatery. The drink menu is wide ranging: Try one of the many specialty beers or demonstrate your bravery by drinking a Bloody Stella -- a VERY spicy bloody mary.
The food is spicy and authentic. Among the dishes are gumbo, étouffée and jambalaya. I'd especially recommend the jambalaya with sweet potato fries. For lighter appetites, the menu features sandwiches, including an excellent fried fish sandwich (as for the special sauce). Top it off with a fried banana and ice cream dessert, and you've got a meal to remember -- brief trip to bayou country just a few blocks from the Chippewa River. (Note: The address listed here is wrong: The restaurant is actually at 306 E. Madison St.)