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Several of us on this board regularly sing the praises of The High Hat Cafe. It is a casual and super non-pretentious restaurant offering Southern/New Orleans fare for lunch and dinner. It's comfortable, friendly, affordable, and, most importantly, delicious. My favorite dish on the menu, the spicy seared gulf fish, tops out the prices at $20; most items are substantially cheaper.
Well apparently I had only been during the week and never on a weekend, because I went for lunch on Saturday and discovered that they offer an extensive brunch menu on the weekends. (I was about to type that the brunch offerings are not even listed on their website, but I just went to the website and clicked on the "Daily Specials" link and see a representative listing there.) I ordered the cornmeal buttermilk pancakes with bacon, and absolutely loved both the pancakes and the excellent bacon. My friend had the fried chicken and waffles. For all of you rushing to Willie Mae's and Dooky Chase's for fried chicken, let me suggest that you give the High Hat a shot; it's hard to imagine this fried chicken could be improved upon.
I liked my brunch so much that I returned again on Sunday. My friend again ordered the fried chicken, this time with a side of greens and mac 'n' cheese, and I ordered a sausage, egg and cheese breakfast casserole. Again we were beside ourselves with delight. We loved everything we were served, including the mac 'n' cheese, which at $4, is a tremendous bargain.
I don't want to overplay my hand here: I do have some minor complaints. My pancakes would have been far better with real maple syrup rather than the cheap corn syrup variety they serve. (Do you see real maple syrup much in New Orleans?) We also found that the waffles served with the fried chicken were fine, but really nothing special, which is why my friend opted for the mac 'n' cheese instead on our second visit.
And one of the best parts of our visits on both days: no waits for a table, whereas one routinely has to wait at least 45 minutes for a table on weekends at Surrey's, which is my usual go-to breakfast spot. (Note that this was the weekend before Mardi Gras, so crowd patterns in restaurants may not be representative of what they're like during a more normal time.)
This is not a place to go for a "jazz brunch." It's a place to go for a delicious and affordable meal in a casual and comfortable setting. (A side rant: I've never understood why jazz and brunch ought to be linked in the first place. You end up wildly overpaying and end up with fine, but usually not extraordinary, music and/or food. New Orleans offers the best in music and the best in food; why not decouple them so you always can have the best in both, even if not at the exact same time???)
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