Easter weekend in New Orleans came to an end with the Sunday jazz brunch at Palace Cafe. Things just didn't work out too well here, not all of it the fault of the restaurant. This meal will not be on the highlight reel.
Because of a misunderstanding about valet parking and getting mixed up with the beginnings of an Easter parade, we got started forty minutes late. Since we were on our way out of town for a seven to eight hour drive, I was not pleased.
Bloody Marys seemed to be only vodka and tomato juice with no spices. Had to send them back twice to get just a little Tabasco and Worcestershire Sauce in them. Not good.
On the positive side, the Crabmeat Cheesecake, the major reason I keep going back, was wonderful as always. The Shrimp Remoulade was also excellent, my wife claiming it was the best of the weekend -- it's very spicy. The Werlein Salad (basically a garlicky Caesar) with fried oysters was also very good.
Grilled Gulf Fish with Sauteed Crawfish Tails was excellent. The fish was moist and flavorful and the crawfish hot and spicy -- an excellent dish. Lamb Chops were OK. Catfish Pecan Meuniere was overly sweet, but okay. My wife ordered the Cafe Eggs Benedict, which is pork debris over cheddar cheese biscuits topped with poached eggs and tasso hollandaise sauce. Sounds great. Has been great on previous visits. Unfortunately, on this visit it came out cold. I don't mean warm -- it was room temperature. My poor wife -- I'm chomping at the bit to get out of town and her food comes out cold and needs to be redone. She asked them to take it back and try again. When it came back out it was still mostly cold with a few hot spots. Microwaved. Biscuits and poached eggs don't do well in a microwave. Waiter asked how it was and she told him it was still cold. Of course he offered to take it back, but she knew we were now into a two hour brunch and needed to leave, so she just ate it. Not good.
Desserts were good to excellent. Strawberry shortcake was the least of them. Nowhere close to as good as the one the night before at Brigtsen's. Pecan pie was good. Mississippi Mud Pie was outstanding. My wife's Carrot Cake (comped because of the eggs benedict fiasco) was wonderful.
We were disappointed. It's been better before. Maybe it was the huge, loud Easter crowd that increased the tension and had the waiters literally running at times. Maybe I was in too big a hurry to get on the road. Maybe it was partly because their quality control has slipped a bit. In spite of this experience, I will be back -- if only for the Crabmeat Cheesecake.