Restaurants & Bars

Quick Trip Report

IamJacksBrain | Dec 16, 2002 05:21 PM

Me and my fiancee just got back from 4 days in New Orleans, and boy did we eat well. We ate at Mr. B's Bistro, NOLA, Bayona, Stella!, and ACME Oyster House.

NOLA was our favorite restaurant of the trip, but that didn't surprise me since the food at NOLA is consistently great. Actually, it was so good that we ate dinner there twice (which is something I normally avoid on a trip). The first dinner there I had ordered three courses off the menu, and Lynn ordered the four course tasting menu with matching wine. Both were excellent (actually as close to a perfect four course meal as either of us has ever come), and Lynn said the wine pairings were perfect. In addition to the great food we sat at the chef's bar so we could watch the kitchen in action, and chatted with a couple of the chefs (including the chef de cuisine Neal Swidler, who incidentally was the chef de cuisine the first time I went to NOLA three years ago). At the end of our meal Lynn told Chef Neal that we'd be back Saturday night and he told us to just let him "throw down" and he'd take care of everything. Saturday night we returned and Chef Neal treated us to a seven course wonder. It was amazing.

Lynn's second favorite restaurant was ACME Oyster House for their hot roast beef po'boy which was tasty, and even had a little kick to it. My second favorite was Bayona, which we went to for lunch. The duck sandwich was really interesting, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it amazing. It was good in a nice, comforting sort of way, not a "blow your mind" way like the seared scallops or grilled shrimp. Obviously I really liked the seared scallops and grilled shrimp, which is why I think I'm going to have to eat dinner there the next time I'm in New Orleans.

The big disappointment of the trip was Stella!. The appetizers were amazing, but the entrees were mixed. The seared scallops were amazing, but the hash that came with the scallops had too strong a flavor for them (or to even eat more than three bites of), and the entire veal chop entree was a disappointment. I had mixed feelings about the desserts too. The frozen ginger creme brulee was prepared perfectly, and the frozen presentation was novel, and tasty, but it had too much ginger! The ginger overwhelmed the taste of the custard. The accompanying green tea ice cream was really good though, but the grilled pineapple brochette was just ok. Lynn ordered the chocolate torte, and while the chocolate was first rate, there was just too much of it without any variation in flavor. It was like one of those super-rich cheese cakes that you can only eat two bites off before you're done. Some people may like that sort of thing, but I prefer a dessert to tease or seduce instead of beat me into submission (like the macadamia creme caramel at Mr. B's Bistro or the sweet potato cheese cake at NOLA).

Anyway, I'll get around, someday, to writing up my entire trip story and posting it on my web site at the URL below if you want to find out the specifics of any of the meals.


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