We recently returned from NOLA and had the following experiences:
Mr. B’s Bistro:
Sazeracs, cauliflower and brie soup, Mr. B’s BBQ Shrimp, Satsuma Sorbet for me, and he had Gumbo YaYa, a giant Wood Grilled Veal chop, procuitto and gruyere wrapped asparagus. I guess there are some Greeks in the Brennan family! All of it was good, although the service fell off drastically by the end and I was stacking dessert menus like a house of cards to try and get some attention from a waiter. The BBQ Shrimp were massive and plentiful and very messy. We went here just to sample the BBQ Shrimp which I have never had in NOLA and since it was recommended by Texasredtop. (pictured)
A couple of breakfasts were at PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans, (various locations, one convenient to our hotel) , Chocolate croissant for me and turkey and swiss croissant, toasted for him. The café au lait will not put Café du Monde out of business. The chocolate croissant had hazelnut chocolate crème inside as opposed to actual chocolate.
Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar
We lunched at the newly opened Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar on St. Charles at Napoleon, uptown. This is a new venture by the owners of the popular Superior Grill Mexican Restaurant (down the block a ways) and occupies a space that was permanently vacated by Copeland’s after Katrina. We started with a dozen oysters on the half shell. At $13.95 they were pricier than what we find on the Texas Gulf Coast, but tasty. We ordered ½ dozen grilled oysters also since we knew we would not make it to Drago’s in Metairie. I was surprised they were served with a cheese sauce. I was expecting simply grilled. (pictured) The Maison seafood salad at $13.95 was overdressed (I should have taken her up on the offer to put the remoulade-type dressing on the side) and did not have a lot of seafood, a few cold shrimp and possibly some bits of crab. He had the cochon de lait po-boy w/ house cut fries which he said was very good.
Herbsaint - Chef Donald Link
This was our best meal in NOLA. He had gumbo and the Slow Cooked Lamb Neck with Saffron Fideo and Tomato Confit and with a side broccoli. The neck was tender and moist near the bone, but a tad dry on the outer edges. I had the Housemade Spaghetti with Guanciale and Fried-Poached Farm Egg (from the small plate menu, it was plentiful) and a side of broccoli. Broccoli was the vegetable of the day. I am attaching a picture of the spaghetti, it was marvy. The poached egg was battered and deep fried and topped with the bacon-like Guanciale. Stuff. Of. Dreams. http://www.herbsaint.com/
For a lunch, we headed to Casamentos on Magazine Street for more oysters. Casamento’s has funky hours and in fact is closed all summer in the off-oyster season and so we planned this visit carefully to coincide with the only meal they were to be open during our visit. They weren’t. The cabbie said he’s never seen it open. Grrr. So we turned the cab around and headed to K-Paul’s: closed for a holiday party. We walked across the street and down a ways to:
…where we had a fine meal. The lunch offering included a 3 course prix fixe menu for $20.12. Next year, the price will go up a penny. The wait staff here is exceptional and made us feel like family every moment while at the same time being attentive to our every need. A true classic. We both opted for the same choices: Oysters three ways (Rockerfeller, Bienville, Thermador), Duck l’Orange with rice, and vanilla ice cream in a mint meringue bowl with chocolate sauce, all accompanied by twenty-five cent martinis. It was all delicious and in good portions (not too much). The duck was properly rare. Later that same night, we returned to Antoine’s bar, Hermes, for a shared Kobe beef hamburger and a leftover vanilla meringue which the bar tend went and found just for us after we talked about how good it was at lunch. I’m telling you, these people make you feel special. A waiter saw me taking a picture of the dining room and grabbed me by the arm and took me on a tour of the entire 50,000 square foot establishment, including the massive wine cellar and a myriad of historical dining rooms. Antoine’s will be our fondest memory of New Orleans.
Breakfast at Brennan’s!
We finished our visit with the must-experience Breakfast at Brennan’s before heading home, starting with Spicy Bloody Marys and chicory coffee and the best-in-town French bread and butter.
We had the Turtle Soup and the gumbo. The gumbo this is not made with a roux and has no butter or flour! Whaaa? We both had Eggs Nouvelle Orleans (two poached eggs on a bed of at least 6 ounces jumbo lump crab meat topped with a brandy cream sauce. The sauce is white and very mild. It could have used a kick. We finished with the Crepes Fitzgerald, crepes filled with a sour cream/cream cheese mixture and topped with strawberries cooked down at the table and flamed with maraschino cherry liquor. At an adjacent table, our waiter made one too many bananas foster and brought it to us to sample.
Our waiter was Ron (pictured), who has worked there for 28 years and was recently featured on the “LA Basketball Wives” TV show when they visited the restaurant. He was very friendly, entertaining and joyful. As with our 2011 trip to NOLA, there was a reporter interviewing some Brennans over breakfast, this time for the Mexico edition of Playboy Magazine. The staff here is the ambiance and what makes Brennan’s special.
What a terrific food trip. Never Say Goodbye.