We decided to go to Upperline Saturday night in light of Chef Smith's impending departure. It has been quite a while since I last ate there and, in fact, I can't remember if it was pre or post-Katrina. The restaurant is running several specials including a 3 course dinner for $35 (which I chose) and a 7 course tasting menu for $38.50 (the boyfriend opted for this) which includes some of the more popular appetizers, the duck entree and a choice of dessert. I had the fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade to start. It was excellent as I remembered. The shrimp, however, were sliced in half lengthwise, which I don't recall. Not sure if this is how it's typically prepared or whether this is in response to shortages/price increases in shrimp. It didn't make much of a difference in the dish though. I had the filet, topped with lump crab meat for an extra $10 for my entree. It was also very good, but a little tough, even though it was cooked to a perfect medium rare. Dessert was the pecan pie, which was just fantastic. Light, not-to-sweet whipped cream and rich, buttery home-made crust. Mmm! Boyfriend's tasting menu started with the duck etouffee with jalapeno cornbread and pepper jelly, turtle soup and the chicken and andoille gumbo. The soups were fine, but not great. The duck etouffee was excellent and probably my favorite thing of the meal. The etouffee was rich, creamy and dark and was well paired with the savory jalapeno cornbread. The pepper jelly gave the dish just the right amount of sweet and tart to balance out the richness of the other flavors. For the entrees, fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade, duck with garlic sauce and a peach sauce and a spicy shrimp dish. The duck was dry and lackluster to me, but the boyfriend loved it. Neither of us cared for the sauces which didn't add much. The spicy shrimp was essentially sauteed shrimp and onions with a blend of spices. I think the kitchen must have missed something on this batch - it was greasy, the seasoning didn't quite work and the shrimp were overcooked. Not really that big of a deal considering the other items were plenty of food without the shrimp. For dessert, the bread pudding. I may have liked this better if we hadn't also had the pecan pie, but the tastes were indistinguishable. The bread pudding was also very firm - I prefer it softer. Although it wasn't the best meal I've had, there were some very good dishes and it was overall a nice meal. Great service. Very reasonably priced.
We made it Stanley on Sunday around noon in search of a hangover cure after our post-Upperline drinks lasted until the wee hours of the morning. Despite the long line outside, we managed to walk right in and sit at the bar. I have been wanting to try this place for ages and have not yet managed to muster the energy to make it down to the quarter. We skipped cocktails. I had the eggs Stanley which is essentially eggs benedict topped with fried oysters. Boyfriend had the Boar's Head corned beef hash with poached eggs and french bread. Both were satisfying, although I would say that the hollandaise lacked just a touch more acidity. The corned beef hash was slightly more chunky in texture than usual, but very good. We both indulged in ice cream cones for dessert - strawberry and peanut butter chocolate chip which were excellent. I have one gripe about the place though - the frozen fries and onion rings. I realize most diners use frozen products, but this is Stanley, owned by Scot Boswell of Stella! not your average diner. What gives?
1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA