This was my first dinner of what turned out to be a sadly shortened trip (thanks to Tropical Storm Lee). After a lovely hour at the Ogden Museum's Thursday After Hours, I boarded the streetcar for the Riverbend neighborhood and walked to Dante's within 5 minutes from exiting the streetcar at Maple. The place was a lovely unassuming cottage, directly across the street from Brightsens. I was in dire need of a cocktail, and the menu was full of enticing, creative offerings. I settled on the Polar Negroni, a modern twist on an old recipe (using Aperol instead of Campari, and jazzing it up with some sparkling wine and a few other ingredients). So nice, I had to have another -- at which point I reconfirmed my love of New Orleans! My waiter, very professional but without a hint of pretense or attitude, guided me through the menu. I chose as my appetizer the escargots served with chopped house-made bacon, goat cheese, basil and vermouth. This was, as the waiter suggested, rather rich, but quite delicious. Next came the complimentary molasses spoonbread, served in a miniature cast iron skillet, topped with melted butter. This alone would be reason to return! My main course was Redfish on the Half Shell -- named because it's cooked in a very hot skillet skin side down so that the skin becomes like a shell, from which the fish lifts out very easily. The fish was heavily spiced (a la Paul Prudhomme) -- but was topped with generous quantity of chopped fresh herbs -- cilantro, dill, parsley and perhaps one other -- and sweet crabmeat. By itself, the fish would have been overpowering, but the added ingredients balanced it out and I thought the dish was a great success. For dessert I had 3 house-made sorbets from local produce - watermelon, plum and peach-blueberry. A perfect end to a very impressive dinner. Also, VERY reasonably priced.
736 Dante Street, New Orleans, LA 70118