Still in New Orleans, and joined for the weekend by our friends Shotaro and Monica -- he the executive chef of Yoshi's Jazz Club and Restaurant (and most often in the SF location, though occasionally in Oakland).
We began with a round of some of their signature cocktails -- "Pickled Patois" (gin, juice from their housemade bread-and-butter pickles, and garnished with a pickle slice), "Pau Boy Pierre" (muddled cucumbers and satsumas, gin and Pimm's, lemon juice, simple syrup, and a splash of soda), and their "Fleur de Lis" (blood oranges, vodka, limoncello, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and sparkling wine).
With that delicious and delightful start to the evening, we moved on to a round of appetizers: Potato Gnocchi with local edamame, crawfish, and marscapone; their always excellent housemade Charcuterie Platter (boudin, pork rillettes, and hogshead cheese); Gulf Shrimp & Chorizo with a sherry vinegar garlic butter and served over manchego spoonbread; Crispy Pork Belly & Seared Scallop, with a Steen's cane syrup and spicy mustard drizzle; Sizzling Octopus, with a blood orange vinaigrette, kalamata olives, mint, and roasted radishes; Grilled Lamb Ribs with a green tomato relish; and a P&J Oyster and Spinich Salad, with frisee, Benton's bacon, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a Meyer lemon-buttermilk dressing.
OMG! Each was delicious, and the plates were passed around the table much to everyone's delight!
On to the entrées . . . Chef Aaron Burgau has outdone himself. He is a warm, gentle, friendly person whose talents in the kitchen are simply amazing! Again, the plates were flying around the table, as we enjoyed Roasted Pheasant Breast & Confit Leg, served with sunchoke purée, cippolini onions, roasted baby carrots & a spiced foie gras emulsion; Rabbit Saltimbocca, with marcapone polenta, asparagus, and a marsala lemon jus; Almond Crusted Gulf Redfish, with roasted potato galettes, buttered green beans, and a citrus menieure; Stuffed Roasted Quail (the evening's off-the-menu special, and I don't have the details, but -- damn! -- it was great);
Truly, dinner was simply amazing -- the portion size of the appetizers were perfect, and the entrée portions were more-than-generous. (If anyone ever leaves here hungry, I'd be amazed.)
Rebecca Tarpy has done a wonderful job creating a small but intriguing wine list, well-thought out, reasonably priced, and studded with unusual gems. We enjoyed a wondeful Arneis from the Langhe, as well as a Morgon (Cru de Beaujolais).
On to dessert, where it was Pastry Chef Lisa Gusafson's turn to shine. Her Ponchatoula Strawberry Bavarian, served with balsamic ice cream, a vanilla tuile and balsamic reduction, was truly devine. The Cheve & Housemade Ricotta Fritters, served with a trio of sauces -- lemon verbena crème anglaise, berry coulis, lavender Steen's cane syrup -- was exquisite; the Bananas Foster Bread Pudding, with a banan-butter pecan ice bream, carmelized bananas, and a rum sauce, caused people to swoon; and the Coffee & Chocolate Three-Way with white coffee ice cream, cocoa nibs, mocha panna cotta, and a white chocolate-Kahlua cake, was over-the-top!
The dress code is casual; the waitstaff warm and friendly; and the atmosphere is welcoming and relaxing.
Who could ask for more?
6078 Laurel St., New Orleans, LA 70118