MSP 'hound report
Hubby and I just returned home from our quick trip to NOLA. Must say we dined well and at places that weren't on my original list. Our flight out of MSP on Wed. night was delayed several hours, so we didn't get in to NOLA until after midnight. As a result, we slept in a bit on Thursday morning and started our way down Canal and then along the river. Ran across Stanley! around noon and decided to check it out. I had the Breaux Bridge Benedict, as did my hubby but he also got a bowl of gumbo. The food was great and the boudin delicious, but the temperature of the food was not terribly hot. Is that by design? We found this to be the case at a lot of places. The best we could figure is that it's because it's so hot out that the food isn't also piping hot, but maybe we were just unfortunate. In any event, Stanley! was quite tasty.
Thursday night we had reservations at August. We both ordered the tasting menu, which almost ended really badly. I'm severely allergic to sheep and goat's milk and hadn't seen them on the menu for the items ordered, but when the first course was delivered, the server indicated that there was goat cheese in it. I inquired about it. One server said it had goat cheese, one said it didn't. There was much back and forth and a few trips to the kitchen. They finally determined that it wasn't supposed to have goat cheese, but the chef took some liberties and added it without mentioning it to the waitstaff. They got to the bottom of it fairly quickly and made me a new first course sans goat cheese and were very apologetic. Good lesson for me to mention my allergy ahead of time regardless of what the menu says, but a good lesson for this restaurant too to not just take liberties with items without notifying the waitstaff. It could end up being a very bad state of affairs for someone with a significant allergy. After that first bump, the rest of the meal was quite good. Loved the popcorn shrimp and grits. The duck, while quite tasty with blueberries, was a bit tough. The steak course was quite good and we really enjoyed our desserts. We also did the wine pairings which were spot on. As far as dress code is concerned, hubby went with dress slacks and a button down - no jacket, no tie and he was completely fine. In fact, there were several others dressed similarly and some guys in polo shirts.
On Friday morning we trekked to Cafe du Monde for beignets. Got there around 8:30 and there wasn't a line or anything. We really liked them. For lunch we went to Green Goddess. I've taken a liking to boudin, so I had that and hubby had the pork belly with red eye gravy. Again, the food was not hot from a temperature perspective, but quite tasty.
The real stunner was Friday night. I had popped on to Chowhound quickly on Friday morning and saw the review about R'evolution. Went on to Open Table and there were a ton of reservation options, so I hopped on that in no time. Both Chef Tramonto and Chef Folse were there and checking in with the diners. We had a lovely chat with Chef Folse and the food was PHE.NO.MEN.AL. Presentation, flavor, decor... all spectacular. We would go back in a heartbeat. And for whomever said it wasn't cheap, it's not, but we thought it was quite reasonable all things considered. We had $50 bottle of wine, 2 soups, 2 entrees, 3 sides, and 1 dessert for $193. Our meal the night before at August with the wine pairings was over $300 and our meal at R'evolution was far better. The staff was beyond attentive. But about the food... I had the corn and crab cappuccino. They could have brought me a pot of it and I would have made a meal off of that. Killer soup! Hubby had the turtle soup to start. He's used to the turtle soup his Iowa grandmother would make which is cream based and this was definitely different but he loved it. Then we both had the crawfish stuffed flounder napoleon served with an artichoke and oyster stew. So, so good. And a HUGE portion. We had the cream cheese mashed potatoes, smothered greens and corn macque choux pudding. The potatoes were good, but the greens and corn pudding were the stars. Do not pass go - order those greens and corn pudding. You will NOT be sorry. Our server, Brooke, had told us when we were first seated that they have a chocolate souffle, but it takes 25 or so minutes to make so if we wanted that we were to let her know with enough time to prepare it. I love chocolate souffle so we ordered that at the start of our meal without ever seeing the dessert menu. It's the only regret I have of the night. The souffle was fine, but not the best souffle I've ever had and I can't help but think there were some other rock star desserts on that menu that we missed out on. I guess we'll just have to go back. :) And if that wasn't enough, they serve a ton of sweets at the end in a little jewelry case, such a neat idea. AND they gave us take-away lemon poppyseed cupcakes. I am not ashamed to say I am a lemon poppyseed anything whore. :) Love, love, love lemon poppyseed! It's like they knew I was going to be there! And again, hubby was in a button down and dress slacks and perfectly fine. Once again we saw the polo shirted and even jeans(!), despite the dress code supposedly being "jacket preferred." I'm getting the sense that either the dress code gets relaxed in the summer months or its not as enforced as I thought it might be.
Yesterday we decided to tour the Garden District. After our tour we thought we'd head up to Magazine Street to look at shops. We had left our phones back at the hotel room so we were flying a bit blind. We ended up right in front of Coquette. Seemed like fate, so that's where we lunched. I had the shrimp and grits. Hubby had the soft-shell crab po' boy. Loved my shrimp and grits (made with marscapone cheese - had to ask given my allergy - I think that's why they're so creamy!). Hubby liked his sandwich, but had never had soft shell crab before, so I think the soft shell nature of things was a bit weird for him.
Since lunch was a bit light, we headed to Cafe Amelie for an afternoon gumbo snack since we'd heard so much about it. Really nicely done and beautiful courtyard.
Last night we went over to Mr. B's. I had the long anticipated barbequed shrimp and hubby had the rabbit. Those shrimp are a mess, but I have no shame eating with my hands. And the mess was worth it... those shrimp were like baby lobsters. So big, yet delicate and yummy, yummy, yummy. Only regret here is that I didn't leave the bib on for the lemon ice box pie and got a rogue blueberry on my shirt. Lesson learned! Hubby loved his rabbit and the bread pudding he had for dessert was in his estimation the best he'd ever had. And he LOVES bread pudding and has eaten A LOT of it, so he would know. :)
We stayed at Hotel Monteleone, so spent a lot of our "booze time" at the Carousel Bar and I was so excited to see Marvin whom you've all talked about! He's great! After awhile my husband would just tell Marvin to make him something fun. Marvin would say, "do you like rum?" "Yep." Ok. Then he'd just go whip something up. And the Ramos Gin Fizz... total winner and I hate gin! Loved it. Also had a Criollo, St. Kitt's Punch and a Pimm's Cup.... and probably something else there, but after awhile it all sort of runs together. :)
Also went to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar for a hurricane which was really good AND made a pit stop at Southern Candymaker's yesterday to get a pound of pralines to bring back for our co-workers.
So all in all, I think we did pretty well. We definitely enjoyed our first trip to NOLA and I'm sure we'll be back. Although our stomachs will probably need some time to recuperate. :)
It is a gem. Do NOT miss it! I wouldn't say they're completely kinkless... the waitstaff is still figuring some things out. Seems like there are a lot of people helping and trying to figure out timing and who's supposed to do what just right, but It's not offputting - you can tell they're just newly opened and getting in the groove. And the food is definitely already operating on all eight and everyone is so dang friendly. One of the managers (I'm assuming) asked at the end if there was anything we thought they could tweak or improve and it didn't seem like bullshit - it seemed like a genuine "what can we improve" question.
I agree. I'm just so thankful that the kitchen staff who brought it out mentioned it when presenting the plate, otherwise I would have blindly eaten it and had a date with my epi pen in about 2 seconds. A touch of goat cheese on the end of one tine of a fork makes my throat start to close and my chest tighten. I can't imagine what would have happened if I got a mouthful of the stuff. I do hope they're more diligent about that in the future; as I said it could end very badly for someone and the restaurant. They said that the lunch version of the 1st course has the goat cheese, but the dinner version wasn't supposed to. It sounded like the line cook just make the decision to, as the manager put it "take liberties," and use the concoction from lunch instead of doing what he/she was supposed to for dinner without mentioning it to the waitstaff.