Partaille's at Bouche
We had an opportunity to visit Bouche last night. Bouche is a mulitfunctional establishment that has a little something for everyone. Along with the restaurant there is a somewhat clubby atmosphere, a cigar room and private curtained off tables in back. I believe it may also be a retail wine store, although I did not investigate that aspect. The ambiance is a little confusing in that part of the place is fairly modern, but the area where the wine is displayed is screaming "Old World".
What we were interested in was the food. What they serve at Bouche are Partailles, which roughly means, bigger than a small plate but smaller than an entree. I chose two dishes for us and three of us shared the dishes.
The first dish was Colossal Lump Crabmeat Florentine, extra jumbo lump crabmeat presented in a crispy won ton basket over creamed spinach. The won ton basket was very crisp and light. We all especially enjoyed the creamed spinach in the bottom which was full of flavor and not overloaded with cream. The spinach was topped with fresh jumbo lump crab which had very little embelishment. We enjoyed the dish very much. ( I would revise the dish a little in that I would saute' the crab lightly in browned butter and add texture with a little sprinkling of browned buttery panko crumbs) This dish was 18.00, but hey, it was jumbo lump crab. The second dish was a grilled pork tenderloin which were grilled and topped with peach and plum chutney, a mole sauce, sweet potato hash browns, baby beet chips and toasted brown sugar pecans. Upon seeing the dish I would say that it is an entree size. There were several pork medallions on the plate (slightly overcooked) with all the accomaniments mentioned, and everything worked well together. I especially liked the chutney, sweet potato butter and pecans with the pork. The hash browns were pretty good and the overall dish was very nice. The pork dish was also 18.00 which didn't seem out of line with the size of the portion.
After eating dinner we had a chance to visit with the chef and he is a very lovely fellow. His career was involved with training cooks to work in some of the casinos in the south, Harrahs being one. He's taken part in international competitions representing the United States and won with one of the dishes he serves at Bouche, the Grilled Hopping John Cakes with Southern Greens Timbales and Hot Sausage which the menu describes as a South Carolina black eyed pea and rice cake which he flavors with vegetables and sausage. He serves this with a southern greens souffle' and char-grilled hot sausage. I can't wait to taste that the next time I go to Bouche.
Bouche is at 840 Tchoup. Definitely a great place to get drinks (very extensive wine list) and although people don't immediately realize it's a restaurant, the food is amazing. The stand out dishes we tried included the smoky grilled portabella, savory mac and cheese with ham, bacon wrapped shrimp (marinated in hot sauce and served with fried celery and creole dip) and the roasted duck spring rolls. Really pleasant ambiance, beautiful old world wine cellar room. Although it's clear they have a few things to work out (cigar smoke was not properly ventilated, we could smell it strong in the hall on the way to the bathroom) this is a place we will go back to and recommend to friends!
At present there is no sign on the street as they wanted to just open the door and let people wander in. This way there would be a gradual increase in business allowing the staff to get their feet wet. I don't know the exact address but it's halfway between Emeril's and AMano on Tchoupitoulas....same side of the street.
800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130