Quick Notes: Cuvee, GW Fins, Coop's, Dick & Jenny's
I've done a lot of eating this week, but want to post a few quick thoughts about these three places.
Unless I'm not paying close enough attention, I don't see Cuvee getting a lot of airtime on this board, but it certainly has to be considered among the top restaurants in the city. Notwithstanding that we were there on a JazzFest night -- this past Friday -- which is a challenge for any restaurant, the service and food were exquisite. I started with a "shrimp napolean," layers of a thin, crispy crust -- not sure what it was made from -- and succulent shrimp, topped with finely chopped lettuce and tomato and a remouladesque sauce. The combined flavors reminded me of a shrimp poboy, but trust me when I tell you this was the best shrimp poboy I've ever had (better than at the Old Tyme in Lafayette, where I was on Tuesday!). I then had an andouille crusted redfish, which was much more delicate than the description might suggest, and delicious. We also shared a couple of their chopped salads among the table, which also was great. Nothing bad at all to report about my Cuvee experience.
I ate at GW Fins last night for the first time in perhaps five years, but my view has not changed. It's a lovely restaurant with good food, but it still doesn't make my "best of" list. The seafood gumbo was good, made from a nice dark roux, but a bit bland until I dumped the remainder of a bottle of tabasco sauce in. The crabcake was fine, but notwithstanding the server's boasting of how little filler they use, I thought there was too much. Perhaps this just is a result of them chopping the crab too finely; I prefer bigger chunks. Once again a generous dousing of tabasco (they brought a new bottle after I finished the last one in the gumbo!) made this better. Finally, the horseradish crusted drum was yummy, and worth repeating, but it did not propel my experience to a "wow" level like my Cuvee dinner. If you go, I do suggest ordering the hot apple pie (which must be ordered with your meal). That and their biscuits were the highlight.
I continue to love Coop's. On Thursday night I wandered in on my own at around 9:30, and even though the place was packed, I quickly was able to secure a spot at the bar. I ordered the red beans and rice with sausage, which I loved (with more tabasco, of course, in this case the habanero variety, which I wish more places offered). The red beans and rice, together with my sapphire/rocks/lime, came to $11.71. I left $20 on the bar and still considered it the best value meal of the entire week. I then wandered up Frenchmen Street and fell in love with Margie Perez, who was performing at the Spotted Cat. (She also performed at Fest as a backup singer for Marva Wright, which was an unbelievable set and well worth having left Stevie Wonder for. Also sitting in with Marva were John Gros and June Yamagishi, both of Papa Grows Funk, and most of the band and singers that had performed with Zigaboo Modeliste earlier in the day. It was a great way to end Friday at the Fest before my dinner at Cuvee.)
Edited to add:
Forgot to mention Dick & Jenny's. We went on Wed night around 8 only to be told that the wait for three of us would be about an hour and 45 minutes. But it was a lovely evening and we were able to find seats on the patio, so we decided to wait. We ordered a bottle of Veuve Cliquot yellow lable (which, at $80, is a real bargain; by contrast, the same bottle was $110 at GW Fins) and fried oysters and relaxed while we waited for our table. Notwithstanding the hostess's 105-minute estimate, we were seated 45 minutes later. (I think a lot of people drop off the waitlist because they decide not to stick it out.) We had a lovely meal, in my case consisting of their gumbo (no seafood, but lots of different meats) and a shrimp and scallop (or little buttery love nuggets, as our served described them) entree. I once thought D&J's was in the same class as Brigtsen's; it really is not, but it's terrific nonetheless.
We didn't get into town until dinner time Friday and beelined straight for Dick and Jenny's.
The group in front of us didn't want to wait 2 hours, and I really didn't either. When we explained that we had just landed, we were told we could probably be seated in about an hour in the bar area, and we were. So we enjoyed a nice viogner and some oysters in the lounge and chatted with a couple who had been at JF all day.
The gumbo was great, and the Shrimp & Scallops were plate lickin' fantastic.
I was actually a bit underwhelmed by my meal at Brigtsen's the following night. It was very nice, but after all of the glowing reviews I've read here, my expectations were pretty high, and not really met. Had the seafood plate-the oysters were pretty average and had too much stuff, and the redfish just a bit on the dry side. The scallop, deviled crab, and crawfish were superb though. We were dining with my brother and his family, and the service staff was very attentive, and the kitchen willing to accomadate a picky 7 year old as well. It was a very nice dining experience, just not world class.
That was a crispy mirliton. BTW, I recommend Cuvee quite a bit preferring it as well as Herbsaint to Brigtsen's. Burned out on them after about 6 consecutive weeks and a nearly stagnant menu. I agree with your assessment of GW Fins however, my experience with the crabcakes found them to be nearly filler free with quite large lumps. D &J's is a few notches below Brigtsen's. And yeah, we left Stevie too.