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Dinner: Restaurant Patois, 3/25

zin1953 | Mar 26, 201501:17 PM

Restaurant Patois opened, IIRC, in 2006, and if I'm not mistaken, my wife and I have eaten here at least 14 or 15 times in that time -- not bad for people who live in California! Now, in the interest of full disclosure, we have become "friends" over the years with both Executive Chef and Proprietor Aaron Burgau and co-owner, Leon Touzet -- the sort of "friends" who are regulars of the restaurant, where we're on a first name basis and we may hang out at the bar after dinner and chat for a bit, catch up on what's been going on for the past few months, etc.

Therefore, the reader should take whatever grains of salt he or she deems appropriate in reading what follows . . .

We were eight for dinner, and afterwards, a common thought returns to my brain: it's a good thing we live some 2,200 miles away, or I could easily see myself being a regular here -- stopping at the bar after work on my way home; maybe having a bite to eat, instead of cooking . . .

Chef de Cuisine Jonathan Lomonaco is a genius in the kitchen -- the Gnocchi
(with Jumbo Lump Crab, Wild Mushrooms, Edamame, Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano) were pillowy clouds of flavor, while the Bayou Pigeon Frog Legs (with Vietnamese Caramel, Cherry Tomatoes, Shaved Fennel, Red Onion) were among the plumpest, sweetest, and tastiest I've ever had. The house-made Charcuterie plate (Boudin, pork rillettes & hogshead cheese) was near-perfect, and the Lamb Ribs were simply stunning! That said, the Sizzling Octopus (with Local Chilies, Cherry Tomatoes, Marcona Almonds, and Castelveltano Olives) was THE most tender octopus I've ever had, and the flavors were wonderful.

All three salads on the menu were fabulous -- the Crispy Duck Confit Salad, with a pickled peach vinaigrette and arugula; the Fried Oyster Salad, red-vein spinach, parmigiano Reggiano, bacon, and avocado-meyer lemon buttermilk dressing; and just the "plain" Market Salad, with shaved local radishes, toasted pumpkin seeds, Midnight Moon Goat’s milk cheese & a local wildflower honey vinaigrette -- and are each large enough for two, at the very least.

I can't speak for all the entrées, as this is where we stopped passing plates around the table and hoarded our own! I had the Mississippi Rabbit stuffed with boudin, wrapped in crispy chicken skin & served with roasted sweet potatoes, tasso braised kale & a Creole mustard jus. I happen to like rabbit, and this in particular is my favorite rabbit dish in the States.

The bread pudding, the dark chocolate trio (Flourless Chocolate Torte, Gianduja Gelato, Chocolate-Hazelnut Gateau), the (deconstructed) lemon tart, and the house-made coffee ice cream were all delicious!

This remains my favorite restaurant in NOLA. There is an added layer of -- I don't know; "sophistication," my wife calls it -- to the dishes here that one often finds missing in more casual, laid-back establishments. There is a complexity of flavors that is achieved without sacrificing delicacy and elegance to the overall dish. Nothing is heavy-handed, and you leave the restaurant feeling completely satisfied and content with the world. ;^)

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