Mr. B's Bistro Report
- Dave Feldman
A good restaurant can truly alter one's consciousness. AFter a miserable taxi ride to JFK and an almost as miserable flight, I arrived at my hotel at 9, hungry, hostile, and still bobbing from the turbulent flight.
I was hungry but lazy, and chose to have my first meal at Mr. B's Bistro, which I've always considered a highly underrated restaurant, and my favorite in the Brennan chain.
The service is always fantastic at Mr. B's. The place was packed, closing the kitchen at 10:00 P.M., and I was dining solo, all usually danger signs.
No fear. I was treated like a king. Even better, I was fed like a king. Gumbo YaYa wasn't quite hot enough (in temperature, that is), but as always, the chicken was succulent and the andouille impeccable. Not a great gumbo, but a very, very good one.
The revelation, though, was the braised rabbit, cooked in apple cider, with house smoked bacon, shallots, shitake mushrooms, and accompanied by roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Absolutely superb, and I felt proud that I refused the "snack" on the plane.
That's still no excuse for ordering the bread pudding after such a rich entree, but what the heck. Now that Eddie's is no more, it may just be the best bread pudding in New Orleans. No gimmicks, just perfectly spiced bread, with some crisp parts on the bottom, and a perfectly balanced buttered hard sauce.
I left a happy, happy man.
And note to Jim: I found some Zapp's sweet potato chips, although for obvious reasons, I haven't sampled them yet.
i was just in NO last October. we hit the French quarter one day with hardly anything in our bellies. we got to our destination, Mr. B's with little energy left.
I hoped we wouldn't be subjected to a lengthy wait (like we had a Napoleon House---- yawwn), and i was anything but disappointed. The gumbo was the best i ever had, along with shrimp and beer. My companion and i left feeling primed for the quarter.
That was at about 2 in the afternoon. i think we got to our B&B at about midnight that night--- after a timely visit to the ACME Oyster bar with fried shrimp po-boys (divine), and a sampler of their jambalaya (just a tad dry), gumbo and beans and rice.
Both repasts that day were primo, followed by the $6 breakfast at old nawlins cookery, with a side of gator sausage, hash browns saturated with butter (a bit much for me, but the lady just loved em), biscuits and gravy that could stop a mack truck (in a good way), and the tastiest bacon i remember having.
As if this all weren't enough, dinner at Tujaque's was excellent. My mate and i were immobilized for almost the entire night, and didn't spend too much money at all.
I'd never been out eating in NO, just Mardi Gras drinking as a kid. It was my first of many trips, i hope, and i'm not sure what you all thought of our choices.
did we miss anything truly vital? (besides central grocery--- the woman wanted to go to Napoleon House) My mate didn't want to miss NOLA, but we did. did we miss anything there? i've heard some good and not so good.
re: andrew huse
For some reason, I never saw your note. And since I've enjoyed your notes on the board and have a little feel for what you like, I'd like to answer it belatedly.
You did very well for yourself. I think on your next visit, you should go out of your way to eat at Uglesich's and Mother's, especially the former, which has unbeatable raw oysters, and spectacular fried green tomatos and mirlikins. Open only at lunch, I recommend walking there if you are staying in the quarter. My two all-time favorite restaurants in Uglesich's and the late, lamented Eddie's, were both located in unlikely locations.
I've had much better luck at Nola's than Emeril's, actually. But in general, I find the upscale places in N.O. to be much less reliable and consistent than the better downscale places (it's really difficult to get a bad meal at Acme or Uglesich's).
That's why I am so fond of Mr. B's. It has no pretensions towards haute cuisine, and yet to my taste they are more consistent than Commander's or Emeril's.
Bayona has been my favorite fancy place for years, although it is remarkably informal (and much less expensive) at lunch.
A couple other suggestions. I was disappointed in my last meal at Galatoire's, but I still think it's worth a visit to this N.O. institution. And trout amandine is worth a visit in itself.
You didn't mention Cafe du Monde, but I'm hoping that was merely because of powdered sugar poisoning. You should go.
I'm not a fan of Central Grocery, actually, and some other posters here have recommendation for other muffaletas.
And thanks for the recommendation of Tujague's. I haven't heard anyone talk about it in years, and it's time for a revisit.