Exciting Introduction to Rambla
We had never been to Rambla, but I wanted to give it a try, so for our last dinner of the Jazz Fest weekend trip we took a chance and gave it a try. There were four of us. After a weekend with meals at Galatoire's, Brigtsen's and Commander's Palace, I was afraid we would be disappointed. To the contrary, we loved Rambla!
We were unfamiliar with many of the menu items, so we relied on our server, who really knew the menu. After consulting with him, we ordered three items from the Snacks portion of the menu: Marinated Olives in Jar with Burrata Tomato Balloons, Grilled Marinated Artichokes with Preserved Lemon Basil Aioli and Pickled Louisiana Shrimp with Shrimp Deviled Eggs. We also ordered two of the Flatbreads: Roasted Fig with Valdeon Blue Cheese, Serrano Ham and Bitter Greens and Oven Roasted Wild Mushrooms, Herbed Chevre, Garlic Mousseline and Piquillo Peppers.
The three Snacks came out at the same time and we dug in. All of them were excellent. As we were enjoying these, the server came out with "gifts from the chef" which were two items from the Small plates: Smoked Lamb Ribs with a Piquillo "Hoisin" and Petite Herbs and the Roasted Pumpkin "Ugly Dumplings" with Wild Mushrooms and Baby Vegetables. Two more hits!
Then they brought out another complimentary offering, the most interesting dish of the evening -- a large platter containing the restaurant's house-made charcuterie, consisting of Pate de Campagne, Moroccan Spiced Pork and Duck Rillette, Truffle Scented Chicken Liver Parfait, Spiced Hogshead Cheese, House Cured "Face Bacon," Housemade Morcilla and Duck Prosciutto. These were served wth various vegetables, dipping sauces and fruits. This was a really spectacular platter and it forced us to at least consider some things we would never have ordered on our own. No way would I have ordered Hogshead Cheese or Morcilla! But we gave it a try and most of us enjoyed most of it -- I loved all of it.
By this time we were stuffed, but had to eat the flatbreads we had previously ordered, so we soldiered on and enjoyed that as well.
We tried two desserts: Churros Orleans came with a banana-rum caramel dipping sauce and were light enough I could have eaten more in spite of the vast amount of food I had already consumed. The other dessert was a Basque Chocolate Mousse served atop olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. It sounded odd, with the oil, but it was truly delicious.
Our first visit to Rambla will definitely not be our last. The four of us had a great meal and a great time. And we never made it to the Large plates on the menu, which included duck confit, steak frites, lamb loin and lemon fish. Maybe next time.
This food would be good eating it alone, but it really does lend itself to groups. At least four people make possible the ability to order (or have served to you) many dishes and sample and enjoy more than you would be able to do with fewer people.
High praise for Rambla!
Commander's Palace Restaurant
1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130
723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118
217 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70130