I planned poorly so needed to find a close restaurant for lunch where my friend and I could drink wine. I've long been an Orleans basher, mostly because the service stinks, so I was reluctant to recommend it. On the other hand, I knew they have a decent wine list and they're local so with all the proper caveats in place, I took my friend there for lunch last week.
I was really happy with our food. We shared the Maine crab cakes and an arugula salad to start. The arugula salad had cabernet poached pears, gorgonzola and candied pecans. A light tangy dressing pulled it all together. It was perfectly dressed. The crab cakes also came with a small salad with diced red onion and cucumbers. Each cake was topped with a dollop of spicy aioli. The cakes themselves had a little more filler than I like, but really not bad and definitely not your regular sysco product.
Service is still goofy. We asked the server to hold our pressed sandwich (corned beef, coleslaw and swiss cheese) back until we had eaten the salads, and we explained that we wanted to linger, have some wine, nibble the plates. Unfortunately it came out two minutes after the salad arrived and I asked her again to bring it when we were done, repeating that we were going to take our time and she could basically ignore us until we were ready. She was perfectly nice and competent in every other way, but she asked us at least three more times if we were ready for the sandwich when it was clear we were still eating the salads. I really don't think she meant to, but it felt pushy. Ultimately it was no big deal because when we were ready, a good 45 minutes later, they didn't try to fob off the original sammy, they served us a new one. And again, the sandwich was really good. Pressed panini-style and served with salad fries or slaw on the side. We got more slaw because we both love it.
Sparkling wine to start and a couple of glasses of rioja each and the lunch came in under $40 each. Not cheap, but we drank quite a lot and the quality of food was worth it. I don't think this is a destination place by any stretch of the imagination, however if you are at a loose end and need a place in the neighborhood for a nice boozy lunch Orleans will fit the bill.
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