What a trip!!! (a bit long)
- "first-time caller"
We just returned from New Orleans last night and the entire weekend was one great dining experience after another. It was our first trip, but I'm sure it won't be our last.
Upon arrival Thursday evening, I sought out someplace which stayed open later and chose Red Fish Grill. We weren't disappointed! We had the barbecued oysters (what a treat!) My husband isn't a huge oyster fan but he agreed that this was wonderful! I also ordered the oyster trio but the barbecued stole the show. I then had the sweet potato crusted catfish and my husband had the Amberjack. Both were very good!
Friday we walked from the Embassy Suites to Uglesich's. We could have taken the trolley but we enjoyed the walk and felt perfectly safe. We arrived right when they opened at 10:30. There was already one other party there but it was great because we got top-notch service and were able to just take it all in before the crowds descended. Although it was even more fun once it got crowded. We had Anthony help us order. There were just too many things on the menu I wanted to try! The best had to be the fried oysters with bleu cheese. Wow!!! Also the oyster shooter and the dozen raw (they were huge!). I also had the barbecued oysters again but I thought there were too many potatoes. We get plenty of potatoes here in Michigan so they were no great shakes. Wjat a great restaurant though, for the food AND atmosphere!!!
Friday night, we went to Marisol. I found the menu to be quite interesting but maybe a bit too unusual. I had a soft-shell crab appetizer in Truffle butter over risotto. It was okay. The main lobster wrapped in pigs ear was pretty good but I detected that "gamey" taste in the pig's ear. Not as pleasant as I would have preferred. My husband had Roulade of Hudson Valley Fois Gras with spiced caramel. I loved that! he also ordered the Rouladen of veal cheeks with housemade bratwurst. That I also found delicious. The meat melted in your mouth!
We topped the evening off with a stop at Cafe du Monde.
On Saturday, we did the jazz brunch at Commander's. Another long walk but very pleasant. Best Mint Julep I've ever had...(the ONLY one I've ever had and I loved it!). The pecan-crusted trout was very good, as was my husband's pork tenderloin with poached eggs. We're not big dessert eaters but my bread pudding souffle was delicious and his banana bread pudding was even better. I spilled my second mint julep (no I don't think I was drunk...) and while no one ever brought another one, they didn't charge me for the second. Maybe they thought one was enough for me. I found the waiters a bit stuffy but I understood that this is part of the atmosphere so it was acceptable, even enjoyed as part of the whole package!
Saturday night, 9:30 reservations at Bayona. I was afraid it would be too late but it was fine. My husband opted for tomato basil soup and a shrimp/scallops appetizer. I had a wonderful caesar salad with (fried) capers! Very good! Of course I had to try the crispy sweetbreads in lemon caper butter sauce. The best I've ever had! Service was wonderful and the highlight was meeting Susan Spicer as we left (she had just come out of the kitchen). We even shared some conversation about Uglesich's which is also a favorite of hers.
Sunday was a quick decision for brunch at Cafe Sbisa. I wasn't impressed. I wish we had opted for someplace else. But before we headed for the airport, I made sure we stopped for a dozen oysters and I picked up a muffaletta at Central Grocery for the plane ride home so I felt better about the not-so-hot brunch that day.
Bottom line: Uglesich's and Bayona are MUSTS, but I bet there are plenty of others I would consider favorites if we'd had the time.
We share the same favorite two restaurants in New Orleans. Spicer has a talent for preparing sweetbreads -- you made a great choice. I've never gotten up early enough to be at Uglesich's when it opens, but that's a great idea.
Congrats on a fabulous trip.
Hi Dave - Ditto to Bayona and Susan Spicer. If you ever get back, be sure to compliment her on the decor and ask her how she found the place. You'll be in for a long conversation. Also, if you go back, don't forget the Acme Oyster House for lunch.