Four of us had a good time and some excellent food at Cochon last Friday night. We had loved it the first time we went there last year and loved it again. Our seating was much better than last time. Hint -- the two tops on the right wall as you enter the restaurant are crowded and a little uncomfortable. We had a large booth on the left side this night and it was extremely comfortable. We like the funky music, the slightly-too-loud buzz of the crowd and the fun atmosphere.
Our starters were hot sausage with grits, roasted peppers and creole cream cheese, fried pig ears & spicy honey mustard, shrimp & deviled egg gumbo and iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing, bacon & radishes. Sausage was very, very good -- peppery and moist. Fried pig ears were way too salty. (If you are wondering, these are sort of like fried calamari -- they don't look like pig ears -- they are thinly sliced pieces.) The only flavor I could discern was salt and "fried." The gumbo was okay -- nothing to write home about. Really excellent iceberg lettuce salad -- like I remember from the mid-50s.
I had the ham hock with lima bean hoppin john & mustard onion jus. This is a great dish. The meat was literally falling off the bone. The smokey ham was perfectly paired with the lima beans. Louisiana cochon (pig) with turnips, cabbage & cracklins was tasty. Actually the turnips, cabbage and cracklins make this dish. Oven roasted gulf fish "fisherman's style" was, once again, fabulous. Smoked beef brisket with horseradish potato salad was just okay.
We also had sides of broccoli & pecan rice dressing, smothered greens, twice-baked stuffed potato and creamy grits. Potato was just a potato, but the other three were the kind of sides you could combine for a full meal. The sides here are real stars.
Service was excellent, from our primary waitress to the water-person. Everyone was friendly, pacing of the meal was perfect and we felt good about being there. This is a casual place -- not fine dining as I have seen it described on another post -- and is just plain fun.