Boxing Day

A Cajun education, courtesy of chef Justin Simoneaux

Thanks to Boxing Room, San Francisco is about to receive an edible education in the food of Louisiana, with chef Justin Simoneaux as instructor.

For expertly rendered entry-level dishes, try Simoneaux's fluffy, corn-studded hush puppies, a far cry from the leaden doughballs found elsewhere, the fritters enhanced by a smear of house-made pepper jelly ($5).

And you don't need a Southern bone in your body to relish the shrimp po'boy ($15), made with sweet, snappy Gulf shrimp and bread from a Vietnamese bakery in Oakland.

Pair either–or any dish on the menu–with a Lost Dog Red Ale from Napa Smith Brewery, an Abita Amber, or some other brew on the comprehensive beer list.

For more advanced study, order the boudin balls ($5), a combination of rice and ground pork that is traditionally served in hog intestines. Simoneaux gives the snack polish, the mixture fried to a golden crisp like a Cajun version of Italy's arancini.

Want a master's degree in Cajun cuisine? Look no further than the gumbos and stews. Smoked chicken-and-Andouille sausage gumbo ($9 for a small; $15 for a large) is thickened and flavored with a deeply browned roux; the smothered okra-and-Gulf shrimp stew ($11 for a small; $18 for a large) will forever change your mind about this maligned pod (click here for the recipe).

Boxing Room, 399 Grove St. (at Gough St.); 415-430-6590 or boxingroomsf.com