First and foremost I would like to thank all of the Chowhounders whose posts I read compulsively and who offered up such great tidbits about the restaurants in the wonderful town of New Orleans. Wow, that read like an acceptance speech, so, onto my reviews. Please know that I am just a regular food lover and lack an extensive vocabulary when trying to articulate on gastronomic delights!
BRENNANS ~ I realize that many on this board will NOT recommend this place, but its somewhere I had been wanting to go for years. That said, now that I have had a $40 breakfast, I doubt I ever will again, but Im happy I had the Brennans experience. I had the Typical New Orleans Breakfast. After a brandy milk punch, which was something I will definitely have again, the first course was a Double Cream Apple. A baked apple drowned in cream, I had two bites and then I was finished, nothing special. First course for the boyfriend, Turtle Soup to go along with his tasty bloody mary. He thought it was fantastic and I agreed. We both ordered the Eggs Houssard. The Holland rusks were interesting, but my egg was too runny for poached, and the marchand de vin sauce was too salty for my taste, but my boyfriend enjoyed his. The bananas foster was fine, more interesting to watch than to eat. Our service was pleasant, but fell short of our expectations which I think was due to the belligerent diner behind us who was schmoozing our server.
Jazzfest ~ My Jazzfest food notes are at home, I will have a separate Jazzfest post.
Dinner ~ We had planned to go to GALATOIRES but after gorging on Jazzfest food, we decided to stay in. This apparently ruined my boyfriends plan to propose, he was going to do it right before we went out once we were all dressed up. In any case, he got down on one knee, and I said yes, and then we decided on a romantic stroll around Jackson Square!
This led us to MURIELS, another name I had seen mentioned on the board. We didnt have plans to eat, but by 9:00 we were hungry. So we stopped there. The bread was bitter! We couldnt figure out what they had done to make it so unpalatable. We ordered the prix fixe (dont ask why we didnt leave after the bread, we were intoxicated with happiness and the place has quite a lovely atmosphere). We both started with the crawfish / goat cheese crepes. Delightful, heavy on the goat cheese, with a sauce of white wine and crawfish over the top. Then it was on to the Pecan Crusted Puppy Drum. Perhaps it was because the appetizer was so flavorful, but I thought my puppy drum was utterly flavorless and unremarkable. Fiancé had the wood grilled pork tenderloin. He enjoyed it, but we both agreed it was a little on the salty side. My Pain Perdue Bread Pudding was just the right amount of sweet with a texture almost like pound cake. Fiancés crème brulee was ice cold, he only had two bites of what was normally his favorite dessert. Our service was great until it came time to get the check, and our server disappeared (does anyone know why this phenomenon occurs?)
NAPOLEANS HOUSE for lunch. We split a full muffeleta (sp?) though we certainly could have split a half order. Along with that, we each had a Pimms Cup. The muffeleta was excellent, a perfect blending of meats and oozing cheese. Only complaint on my part was that the olive salad could have had a little more olive and a little less celery. This was our first muffeleta, well try a cold one from Central Grocery next time. The Pimms Cup was refreshing and crisp, it would have been better on a warm day, while we were there it rained. Service not great, our server was a bit surly and kept disappearing.
PAT OBRIENS for a Hurricane. Despite my previous trips to New Orleans, this was my first hurricane. We had excellent service on the patio and both enjoyed our Hurricanes, not as sweet I had expected it to be, and quite potent.
COMMANDERS PALACE for dinner that night. What can I say? The most impeccable service I have ever witnessed. Although our reservation was for 8 we werent seated until around 8:30, no worries, lots of people watching at the bar. After being seated in the Garden Room, we ordered the tasting menu, and it was one of the best experiences of our life. I also mentioned to our server that I was craving greens, and they brought out two complimentary salads for us. Luckily, their website had a copy of our menu, because I couldnt remember exactly what I had:
First course is not what was listed on their website, I dont remember the name. The wine pairings were generous and right on par with what was served.
Warm Lobster & Caviar - Teardrop tomatoes, tot soi greens, roasted corn, Fordhook lima beans and Choupique caviar vinaigrette ~ This was the first time I tasted caviar and this was divine. A little bit sweet from the corn, and a little bit tart from the vinagrette, an amazing dish. With Berger, Gruner Veltilliner, Austria, 2003.
Black Skillet Seared "Diver" Scallop - Six tomato salad and Hawaiian sea salt ~ I am not a scallop fan, so I passed on this, but fiancé thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the largest scallops I have ever seen! With Selbach Riesling, Piesporter, 2002.
"Coup de Milieu" ~ I dont remember exactly what this was (I went to so many restaurants, how embarrassing!) with Plantation Rum Punch. Loved the Rum Punch!
Citrus Glazed Redfish - Jumbo Gulf shrimp, haricot vert, yellow wax beans, red bliss potatoes and kaffir lime-shellfish broth. Another phenomenal dish but by this time I was getting full! With Selby, Pinot Noir, Dry Creek Valley, California, 2000.
Duck and Foie Gras - Duck cracklin' "dirty" rice, Running Squirrel greens and foie gras-woodland sauce. My first time having anything duck related and we both enjoyed this dish immensely. With J Phelps, "Le Mistral", California, 2003.
Fleur de Teche Cheese Flan - Pearl onion-quince jam, Atchafalaya Basin honeycomb and toasted pecan bread ~ I dont like flan, but this was beyond this world. The honeycomb on the toasted bread was something I will remember for a long time to come. With Warre's White Port .
Ponchatoula Strawberry Tart - Local strawberries, white chocolate cream, shaved Gianduja chocolate and Chambord syrup ~ Only had a bite of this but it was beautifully presented with a wonderful medley of flavors. With Marco Negri, Moscato d'Asti, 2002.
I cannot wait to go back to Commanders, it was honestly the most fantastic restaurant *experience* of my life.
UGLESICHS ~ After our airboat tour our driver dropped us off, we stood in line and had two bloody marys. Weve had some great bloodys but these were in the top five. Especially loved the pickled okra. We sat down to the Fried Green Tomatoes, tasty, but not very warm. The blue cheese oysters were beyond this world. If I could eat these everyday I would, though Id be 500 lbs. We fought for the last one. The shrimp and grits were to die for, even this grit hater loved them. I liked how they were shaped into a little cake, the consistency was perfect. We shared the Shrimp Uggie and we were stuffed but I still wanted more! We had reservations at Brigtsens that night so I resisted. I would love to go back to that place, but I was surprised at the prices, I felt that in comparison to other establishments the portions were small for what they charged. The service was excellent.
BRIGTSENS ~ Even after our prior experiences, we thought the food was mind blowing. The service was so so, a little slow, but we were there to relax. I started with the Shrimp Remoulade with Deviled Egg, Guacamole, & Mirliton Corn Relish. I could eat that for breakfast lunch and dinner, who would have thought that deviled egg and shrimp would go so well together? Fiancé started with the Pan-Fried Des Allemands Catfish with Stone Ground Jalapeno Cheese Grits, Sauce Piquante, Black Bean Salsa, & Avocado Sour Cream which he devoured in record time. Delicious. My main course was the Duck. I am normally very reserved when it comes to ordering, I never eat game, but this has to be one of the best dishes I have ever tasted. Fiancé warned me that duck can be greasy, but this wasnt the least bit greasy and was served on a most delectable cornbread dressing. I ate about half of it. The portions at Brigtsens are enormous! Fiance had the seafood platter. He enjoyed it, but wasnt blown away like we both were from the duck. He disliked one of the items, but I dont remember which. We finished with the double chocolate cake, rich, dense with the perfect amount of frosting and he with the pecan pie, which I am assuming he liked, because not a crumb was left, and I didnt get a bite. We loved Brigtsens, and would return in a heartbeat. After the Chefs tasting aside at Commanders and the phenomenal food at Brigtsens, we didnt think it could get any better, but it did!
To be continued