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natchez report (long)

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natchez report (long)

mikemorg | Nov 27, 2003 06:28 AM

happy thanksgiving everybody!

last nite, a fried and I checked out Natchez, the new cajun place on 2nd ave. where patio used to be. and since i haven't seen anything posted on it, i figured i would give my 2 cents.

it was really a nice experience. it's a tiny little space with tile floors, maybe 15 tables and a wide open kitchen. it had the feel of a genuine new orleans joint with great jazz playing at a perfect level.

the menu changes daily (like patio) but i would guess that some of the items are constants. we walked in around 7 and were the only ones in the place. we started with baked oysters that were verygood, filled with spinach, bacon and breadcrumbs. but the winner was the barbecue shrimp -- 4 huge shrimp in a rich, dark garlicky sauce with a sauce-soaked piece of garlic bread underneath that took us back to new orleans,. it was delicious and i can't wait to have it again.

the entrees were just as good. we had a redfish (flown in that morning from that place in texas profiled in the times a couple of weeks ago -- the chef/co-owner, sean, showed us the hat they had given him). anyway, it was perfectly crisp on the outside and wonderfully light and flaky on the inside, it came in an orange sauce that was very tasty, not hot, more of a sweet and sour taste in a way. it's kind of hard to describe but it was delicious. the other entree we had was a filet mignon stuffed with crawfish -- really delicious.

because the place was quiet we were able to talk to sean throughout. he is a native of new orleans who got his start at the restaurant down there that eventually became NoLa, and he also worked at Commander's Palace. In New York, he worked at Cello, Duane Park Cafe and Verbena. He could not have been nicer to us, and you can tell this is the kind of place that the chef always wanted to open -- the care he seemed to take in preparing each dish was wonderful!

anyway, we skipped dessert (went to chikalicious, which was okay but not great in my opinion, but i am not a huge desert guy). with 2 abita beers apiece, the bill came to $100 including tip. all in all, a terrific experience, and a welcome addition to the east village -- thank god it was not another italian place.

right now they are only open for dinner but they are mulling opening for brunch, perhaps after the holidays. the waitress said they are packed on weekends and starting to build a weekday business. hopefully this will give it some staying power.

again, happy turkey day!

-- mike

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