Chef Justin Simoneaux, Boxing Room
“Any point you're down on yourself, just look up and see a dining room full of people smiling and laughing and know you’re a part of that and making someone’s night special...”

“Whenever you talk about Louisiana, you brighten up... would you be interested in cooking that kind of food?” Executive Chef Justin Simoneaux's passion for his native New Orleans cuisine and this observation from Absinthe Group owner Bill Russell-Shapiro allowed Boxing Room to be what it is today: an authentic home for New Orleans cuisine in the evermore stylish Hayes Valley neighbordhood of San Francisco.

After trying to please occasional diner's requests for different kinds of lighter plates, Simoneaux reveals how he learned to remain focused on his vision of delivering both classic and modern New Orleans meals. The regulars who frequent Boxing Room for the popular brunch, the fried frog legs, and the barbecue shrimp remain thankful that Simoneaux stayed true to his roots.

Listen to the full episode to hear Simoneaux's story and view the photos and the behind-the-scenes video of our interview.

The open kitchen and long bar connects the beverages and the raw oysters An antique 'BAR' lamp sits on the bar at Boxing Room Sazerac, the specialty drink of New Orleans and of Boxing Room's bar program Artwork from New Orleans is displayed on the wooden wall. A stainless steel window into the kitchen, where chef Justin Simoneaux prepares plates.
Barbecue shrimp, removed from the stove top A chicken and thyme stock simmers on the stove
The black chalkboard menu at Boxing Room lists the daily specials
Simoneaux prepares raw oysters for an appetizer dish. Chef Justin Simoneaux found this antique oyster knife at a market while traveling with his wife.
Chef Justin Simoneaux poses with a freshly prepared plate of raw oysters
Oysters are prepared and plated Chef Justin Simoneaux plates New Orleans style barbecue shrimp
Freshly shucked oysters cool on ice.
House made hot sauce is bottled in tiny portions at the raw bar Fresh, bright flowers greet customers as they enter Boxing Room
Barbecue shrimp and fried frog legs are among the most popular quintessential New Orleans plates at Boxing Room Louisiana alligators adorn Boxing Room's interior. Fried frog legs are a popular appetizer at Boxing Room - a rare treat in San Francisco Boxing Room's take on New Orleans barbecue shrimp with bread and sauce The spread at Boxing Room will take you to the heart of New Orleans Executive Chef Justin Simoneaux stands on Grove Street, outside of his Hayes Valley restaurant, Boxing Room

Get new Menu Stories episodes delivered to your inbox: