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NO trip notes: Commanders, Bacco and Stella

Bryan Gros | Apr 22, 200306:09 PM

Spent the last 10 days in New Orleans. My main goal was to learn to make crawfish bisque with my grandmother while she can still teach me. Mission accomplished. Turned out great.

Went with my parents to Commanders for a weekday brunch. Prices were less that I would have thought--two courses for $15 and 25cent martinis. Too bad I don't like martinis. The food, though, was just okay. My chicken breast with tasso was moist, but I only found one little piece of tasso. The bread pudding souffle was mostly meringue, and a bit dry. Soups were very good. $120 for five wasn't bad, but I'm not looking to go back.

Stopped with my wife at Bacco's on Royal (is it Chartres?), as she was looking for crawfish pasta and they had it. I was a bit suprised they let us in, as we had shorts and t-shirts on. Must have been prom night, and we were way underdressed. But sat at the bar and had a good time people watching. The food was quite good, although probably overpriced. Her crawfish pappardelle was good; kitchen showed restraint on the cream sauce, making it flavorful but not heavy.

Wanted to go someplace "special" before we left. Chose Stella, based on the menu. I guess I'd call it "international" or "continental", leaning a bit toward asian. Went on a Wed at 6:00 and never saw another diner the whole night. Don't know if it was exceptionally slow, or if no one eats before 8:00 there. The food was very good. Entrees are $20 to $28.
The pheasant I had was very nice, with the breast sliced and fanned over fettuccini, and pieces of darker meat (legs?) in the sauce. A strong herb/corriander crust on the breast was unusual, in a good way. Over pasta I thought was weird, but it was tossed in a great sauce. The veal ribeye was slightly underdone for my wife (looked good to me), but again was crusted with a great combination of spices. Nice broad wine list, but limited wine by the glass, unfortunately.

We had eaten at Peristyle the last time we were there, and I think I'd give the edge to Peristyle over Stella, but both enjoyable.

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