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Restaurants & Bars 5

Brigtsen's -- 3/22/08

ddavis | Mar 25, 200808:37 PM

Our favorite restaurant in New Orleans is Brigtsen's. If you are looking for glitz you won't like it. It's in an old house and the three dining areas are former bedrooms or maybe a living room. It's like eating Thanksgiving Dinner in your grandma's house except that the food is good. A couple of weeks ago the question was asked on this board which restaurant you would go to if you had only one meal in New Orleans. My response, without hesitation, was Brigtsen's. As a matter of fact, my wife and I have had that choice to make on a couple of occasions and this is the place we chose. Saturday night did nothing to change that choice.

Appetizers were Shrimp Remoulade with Guacamole, Deviled Egg & Mirliton Corn Relish. We had eaten this before and it was still excellent. I had the Rabbit Tenderloin with Andouille Parmesan Grits Cake, Spinach & Creole Mustard Sauce. I had the same dish at K-Paul's a couple of nights earlier. Frank Brigtsen opened this restaurant a little over twenty years ago after working for Paul Prudhomme. This dish indicated that the student has surpassed the teacher.

My wife had the Seafood Platter. Not your typical fried food -- nothing fried at all. The platter changes from night to night depending on what's available. This night the dish consisted of portions of Grilled Drum Fish with Crawfish & Corn Macque Choux Sauce, Crawfish Thermidor, Fennel Baked Oyster, Baked Oyster LeRuth with Shrimp & Crabmeat, Seafood Jambalaya Cake and Seared Sea Scallop & Crabmeat. All were wonderful -- especially the Baked Oyster LeRuth and the Scallop.

I had the Roast Duck with Cornbread Dressing & Tart Cherry Sauce. This is what I first thought of when we first discussed this trip to NOLA. It is far away the best duck I have tasted anywhere. The duck is slow roasted and stays moist. The skin is removed, the duck is boned and then reconstructed on a bed of dressing and then the skin is replaced to hold in the heat. When served you pull back the skin and the steam carries the aroma of the duck and the dressing. The crisp skin is a close as you can get to dessert without going there. Absolutely fabulous.

Desserts are almost an afterthought, but delicious. Strawberry Shortcake reminds me of the shortcake my mother cooked fifty years ago -- just wonderful. The Pecan Pie with Caramel Sauce a la mode was better than my mother made -- the caramel sauce is a killer.

I know some don't get as worked up about Brigtsen's as I do. That's fine. We all have the right to our opinions. Mine is that this is my favorite of all the great places to eat in New Orleans and it remains the one I would pick if I could only eat at one.

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