Surprised by the L.A. Times rare three star review of this spot, I knew I had to try it on our recent trip last week.
We arrived at the Alladin just in time to enjoy their afternoon menu, which is an abbreviated lunch menu, that they serve from 2-4 p.m.
The restaurant itself is quite large and very pretty. They've done a good job in bringing a classic New Orleans milieu to an updated Las Vegas setting.
When we came in at about 2:15 p.m., the place was empty save for one other table, occupied by two women. We were seated next to them in the area just off the bar.
We ordered Cajun martini's to start. Our waiter said he had never had one but, seeing ours, thought it might be a good plan to try one soon. They were not your classic Paul Prudhomme. Rather, they had a rim coated with something similar to Emeril's spice, and the drink itself looked reddish. The garnish was a pepper and okra stabbed onto some inedible root pressed into service as a toothpick. It was a fun drink.
My wife started with the soup sampler; three demitasses on a plate. They were very, very good. Notwithstanding the fact that we can't now remember what the third soup was (it was a soup du jour), the turtle soup was lovely and the gumbo was as good as any I've ever tasted.
She followed with one of their specials, fried alligator. The waiter, with a straight face, told her it tasted like chicken! Nevertheless, it was very good.
I started with a shrimp remoulade. Boring and nothing special. (Why did I order this? What did I really expect?)
Next, I had the Fried Chicken salad which, having viewed their menu online, I had been looking forward to. It was breaded chicken tenders, deep fried, served over a bed of Bibb lettuce with a scattering of blue cheese chunks. It was not great. White meat chicken is boring, and the coating was way too salty.
Regarding the salt issue, I should mention that I love it. My wife frequently accuses me of using way too much when I cook, although I disagree. Further, I am always a bit nervous when I go to a restaurant where the chef has decided salt and pepper on the table are unnecessary, since he will be seasoning the food perfectly all by himself; I usually want a bit more. Nevertheless, this seasoning mix was mistakenly oversalted in a big way. This was further attested to by the fact that one of the women seated adjacent to us had to send back her soft shelled crabs because the breading was too salty.
Anyway, they make their own bread (I think) which is dense and delicious and eccentrically served in a wax bag on the table. Also, the coffee is very French Market tasting.
On the way out, no one offered us any of the pralines in the cute little bags, so we took it upon ourselves to take some. They were delicious.
Overall, uneven but worth a visit if you order carefully. I think it's probably a far better lunch value than at dinner. If you can, request one of the tables by the windows overlooking the Strip.
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