Mrs. B's - East 11th St.
Had lunch here this week and loved it. Authentic Creole dining. Crawfish bisque was perfect match of flavors and huge amount of crawfish. Also tried the special of Blackened Chicken Enchiladas. I loved them. The cream sauce they had on them had just the right amount of spice to it.
I think this place is OK and if I was forced to come back here, I certainly wouldn't whine about it.
But it's not terribly great. One thing I actually really loved were the mashed potatoes, but good mashed potatoes aren't necessarily that difficult to prepare. These mashed potatoes had that golden ratio of butter, parmesan to it = ultimate savoriness
Crab cakes for appetizer - the crab cakes were strikingly sub-mediocre. Yes, SUB-mediocre. Too much filling. In fact, the filling was most consistent with that of mashed up tuna, as was the slightly "fishy" aftertaste that is very uncharacteristic of what good, fresh crab cakes should be.
Bread - wow, the bread was truly horrendous, particularly the cornbread. They gave a small dab of butter...for the entire table of 4, but not even that entire dab was enough to down a single BITE of ONE cornbread. The cornbread was so so DRY and crumbly, it was nearly impossible to get it down. You'd just chew and chew to no avail. The big mouthful of bread would somehow magically stay DRY in your mouth. Amazing magic.
Blackened chicken fettucine - the fettucine noodles themselves were cooked just fine, cooked in a buttermilk sauce that played second fiddle to the dark, rich roux that smothered the generous portion of chicken breast. Honestly I felt the roux and chicken were "just fine." Still not the best chicken I've had. The fettucine with buttermilk sauce itself was quite bland; too bland. But, if you added in the dark roux, the roux overpowered the buttermilk, and having a mouthful of fettucine noodles and dark, cajun roux sauce...well let's just say fettucine noodles don't necessarily go too well with such a powerful sauce.
Honestly the only thing that was truly horrendous was the cornbread. But, the crab cakes were sub-mediocre, and the rest was just "alright."
I did really enjoy the mashed potatoes, though. I'd eat those mashed potatoes again. Unfortunately, when a restaurant can make a good preparation of mashed potatoes, it doesn't impress me all too much. It should be an easy preparation.
All in all, I am not going back.
By the way if it matters, I went to the Mesa drive location.
I have mixed feelings about Mrs. B's as well. The last time I ate there my bowl of seafood gumbo had exactly three pieces of seafood and not much else but rice in it. And there was more liquid than anything, with the rice & seafood scooped into the liquid...I have never eaten gumbo constructed that way. I've never made gumbo where the seafood wasn't cooked in the same pot as veggies, liquid, etc. It was tasty but the portion was small compared to the price tag.
I've got mixed feelings about Mrs. B's, having eaten there a few times (but only in the bar). On the positives, 1) they can make some killer cocktails (their Dark and Stormy is one of my faves while the wife got them to mix up a fine mint julep); 2) their gumbo and red beans and rice was really good (though I have no basis to compare it to down-home Louisiana food); 3) they have live jazz; 4) I think they try really hard.
On the negative I do think their prices are high and I was surprised by their chicken jambalaya -- scoops of spicy jamabalaya (rice and sausage mostly) topped with crispy fried chicken. Not stewed in the rice at all. The bartender claimed it was traditional but is threw me off. It was good, but not what I expected.
i like their etouffee. nice dark roux. and it seems to be the same base they use for the gumbo. they're red beans and rice are not up to par for what you can get in la. there is a place someone posted on the texas board out in round mountain. i haven't ventured out that way yet. but the pics look good:)
i do agree that the enchiladas kick ass. my girlfriend ordered em and they tasted great.
as far as the prices. i don't think they are too bad. it's not cheap. but then again it's not a lovely hole in the wall like gene's or lola's