Mila- hate to say this...
Four of us went tonight. And perhaps I had my expectations set too high; I had read a bunch of ravings on this board. None of us would define ourselves as connoisseurs, but we all like to go out to eat, three of us are natives and enthusiastic diners , and we do like our food. More importantly, we all go in loving any place that wants to open post-K. So, I was fired up with "ready to endorse" vigor when we entered. Alas.
I will also confess up front that I am a vegitarian, which I fully accept and understand could reasonably disqualify me being listened to in any serious food discussion, especially in New Orleans. In my defense, I come from a long line of extremely good, meat and seafood cooks, have done my time (long ago) in the industry (front end), and am deeply interested in all my meat-eating friends pleasure and reactions. Like said, regardless of personal choice, I love food, and I love people to love food. And I'm certainly not too skinny. Enough caveat. The whole table had the same take.
I'm not the type of diner who cares that they, (self-admittedly), brought our fairly expensive bottle of white wine to the table almost unchilled, (though the other couple were a bit more dissapointed) the ice bucket fixed that. And otherwise, service was good and well informed. It's just that what they brought out didn't taste nearly as good as what they described. For starters, the cornbread was dry, like it sat under the heat lamps a little too long. The sweet-potato muffins were definitely better. This lima bean puree that is raved about tasted to me like mellow hummous, but I do make a lot of hummous type things. So no offense, just no big whoop. (To be fair, one diner did seem to like it pretty well, my boyfriend called it "gross" and he loves hummous) The report on the oyster rockefeller deconstructed: "it's ok." The appetizer special, some sort of poached egg ravioli, sorry i don't recall the details, more of a shrug. But my salad had sand in it. Literal sand. Plus it was uneventful. I like simple flavors, but this?
For entrees: Two got the filo crusted redfish; one liked "pretty good," my boyfriend said it was the most unexicitng and mediocre fish he has had since moving here (admittedly, he thinks nothing on this planet earth tops the barbeque shrimp poboy at Liuzza's By the Track, he's not as into finer dining). I had the Sweet Potato Parpadelle, and this was the best thing I had by far, delicate, well prepared. But it didn't beat anything I've had at Herbsaint or Lilette. My other friend had inquired before ordering about the Monk Fish, wanted to make sure it wasn't too "fishy". It was described as a little oily, but not fishy. Let's just say she left a lot on the plate, and her husband ate some, but shrugged again. The wait staff asked no questions about the uneaten portions on her entree or my salad. Desserts were unilaterally underwhelming. No one was impressed with the white chocolate brioche thing, and the chocolate crust on the chocolate-peanut butter tart tasted stale. I split the rice pudding with my date, on the enthusiastic reccomendation of our waiter. It was...rice pudding. Nothing special.
I was very sad to walk away with a "well, strike that one from the list" reaction and perhaps my fellow diners could have sampled something besides the seafood; I would have liked to hear that the meat or game was exceptional. But I was mostly shocked that our experience contrasted so profoundly with this board. We didn't say anything, (though I probably should have about the sand) because we were trying to enjoy our evening, and are not given to complaining unless something is over the top bad. It was mostly just profoundly "not great." I hope it was an off night; they were almost empty at 7:30, and you have to wonder how, over time, that affects a kitchen. But unless we drastically missed something, and ordered everything wrong, i cannot see any of us going back. It's a bummer.
We went for lunch. Pre fixe $20. App: Root vegetable veloute with crab. Subtle, delicate and surprisingly light. A bit bland for my taste. Husband enjoyed it. Entree: Quail with port demi glace and mushroom risotto. Nice flavor combination although part of the quail bordered on raw rather than rare. Dessert: Vanilla bean rice pudding with strawberries. This was not overly sweet and very good. Overall, it was a good (not great) meal at a great price. The raves (about lunch) had us expecting fabulous.
I went last Sunday with two others. We had great meals and even better desserts.
It was indeed very vacant and the service was manic, self-conscious, and overly-eager.
Great wine recommendations.
The one faux-pas was on the way out we saw the manager & waiters tallying up the checks and splitting up the money.
APPETIZERS:Their farmer's salad, smoked tuna. The BBQ lobster was underwhelming and perhaps medium rare (purposefully?)
ENTREES: Duck-no fat under the skin, parpadelle, pompano almondine (I did miss the absence of actual almonds on top).
DESSERTS: The gelatine/jello thing, the "rootbeer float", and the rum/banana thing.
We left concluding that the food was expertly crafted, highlights being the original takes on classic desserts, that the front of the house needed to chill a bit, and that despite a good decor, the atmosphere suffered from low traffic. Granted it was a sunday night.