Some reviews of a week of dining out
Monday night was a social business gathering in the Proteus Room and Antoine's. There were 11 of us (and being a Monday with the Saints game that night I don't think the kitchen fed more than 20 all night). The apps and sides were served family style and were all decent. But I do like their remulade. Almost everyone had a filet, there was one pecan fish and I had lamb shops. Everyone was very pleased with their entrees and the service was good. But for me even that nice evening didn't make up for a bummer my wife and I had a year ago in the main dining room.
Thursday was five at Emeril's. We had a very good table and decent service but the food was just OK. I've taken this same group out to New Orleans restaurants for four years and I know their likes/dislikes and reactions. The only dish that got a plus comment was the andouille crusted drum. I decided on the revillion. Turtle soup served in a bread bowl. Very good soup but I was dissapointed that the bread soaked up some of the good soup. If you just order this and another course you may have room to eat thebread too. Next came Fricassee of crawfish with sweetbreads and then foie gras stuffed boned quail. Neither were bad but they just seemed flat and the ingredients didn't work together for me. Last were calas which were dough balls. Emeril's is a good place but not so hot that night and, for me, not the revillion menu.
Friday was my wife and I at GW Fins after a visit to the Sazerac at the Roosevelt. It was a first visit. for us at GW Fins. We enjoyed it and will be back. The food and service was good, we had a great window side table, and the waiter's wine suggestions were good. My wife had her usual crab cakes, something she samples everywhere in the world where she finds them on the menu. These passed her test as being flavorfull and full of lump crab meat. She then had grilled scallops which were perfectly cooked and buttery soft. I had a spinich salad, while of the usual design, was quite good. My entree was triggerfish, again very well done. This is not a cheap seafood house but the ambiance and quality is there. The place does have a higher noise level but that might be part of where we were sitting with more hard surfaces.
Saturday I was working in the lower Quarter and just had time for something quick. Being just over a block from Verti Mart I went there for the first time. There was a line so I ordered what I thought would be the simplest and fastest, a ham and cheese on bun, and it came out before the more involved orders from those that were in line before me. That simple sandwich was great for its price and I'll be working on ways to get back there to try some of their hits. Meanwhile my wife had the Half & Half, gumbo and half po-boy at Grand Isle, and said it was good as usual.
Saturday night we stopped at Bar Uncommon but Mr. McMillian was not in so we went on to the Bombay Club. We hadn't been there since it was a dark hole 30 years ago. It is a nice place where we had excellent Perfect Martini's and chatted with Arthur. The bar menu looks like something worth trying.
From there we went to NOLA. We go to NOLA about 3-4 times a year and like it for its good service, people watching, and a solid menu. We've never thought of it as a place for breakout food but of always dependable solid consitancy. I decided to try the Revillion menu here as it sounded good (but so did Emeril's). At NOLA there are two choices for every course, one mostly meat, one mostly fish, where Emeril's has no options. I opted for all on the "meat" side.
Ok, I was shocked. This meal went on to my ten best ever list with Daniel's, The Canteen in San Francisco, one particular meal upstairs at Bayona, and several meals in hidden restaurants well away from Amsterdam, Holland. While it was not the top five it was a 6 or 7.
First was pumpkin soup with sweetbreads. So good. My wife said it was a bit sweet but she won't drink most Sazeracs as, to her, they are sweet drinks. But she cleaned up her bowl. Next fois gras fricassee, also good but not quite the killer that we thought the soup was. Then a rice stuffed quail that was full of flavor. It came on a bed of cooked down cabbage and black eyed peas. I hope they somehow make that base a separate dish. My wife does not like black eyed peas and the only good cabbage comes as cole slaw or sourkraut. But she was soon into my dish with her spoon. We also got a serving of the rabbit terrine which was wonderful. Dessert was an egg nog rice pudding. We had just enough room to share the dessert.
I hate to post a rave as it sets up expectations. But we were impressed with that revillion menu.
Sunday we decided to go home before brunch, but as we drove the Causeway we regretted not fitting in Cafe Atchafalaya and the Bloody Mary bar.
Every year I fit in two extra meals by leaving home about 6 AM and arriving in time for lunch at Drago's in Metairie and by leaving after lunch on the last day of the trip. We used to leave home whenever and have lunch on the road somewhere around Lafayette or BR but now I just leave home earlier and get to squeeze in something else. In fact, everything I do there is based around meals. Oh I feel the pounds coming on already :-)
A little far from the FQ but much cooler in the summer!
Outside of Pumerend at a country crossroad near Beemster is the Beemster Hofstee. We haven't been there for several years but for a while spent time in Pumerend and that was our fine dining place.
The other is Het Stokpaardje. It is on a small lane on the far side of Alkmaar's old city, away from the big canal. It sits about 30 people and reservations are needed. The owner waits table and on busy nights will have one helper to mix drinks and help buss. There is no menu and the owner will tell you what is being served and you can order three or four courses, also with wine parings.
And did anyone get their pepernoten from Sinterklaas yesterday?