Muriel’s has a great jazz brunch, where a three piece band plays some nice tunes as you dig in. My wife and I loved this spot so much on our trip in 2009 that we went twice, and we even had the band play a request for us.
The restaurant is a beautiful converted townhouse near Jackson Square.
I started with a bloody. I love the addition of spicy pickled beans and okra in the bloodies down here.
And I also devoured some of their toasty, buttery table bread with whipped butter.
This place makes a great turtle soup, classically prepared with a drizzle of sherry at the end. Still as delicious as I remember it.
But I was really blown away by this stack of fried green tomatoes, shrimp and remoulade. I have a deep love for fried green tomatoes for some reason.
I ordered a pork chop for my entree. It was decent, but a little bit sweet. I guess since this was brunch, they were using more maple flavors in the preparation than savory flavors.
For dessert, I had a bite of my wife’s bread pudding. I loved it. I’m a big fan of bread pudding. It was soft inside, and caramelized on the outside. Perfect.
It was our last night in New Orleans and I realized we hadn’t tried any jambalaya yet. We were snacking on oysters and sipping drinks at Red Fish Grill while waiting for our next dinner reservation when I saw jambalaya on the menu. I had to get it, despite knowing I had dinner in an hour.
It was filled with shrimp, andouille and chicken, and the rice had a perfect risotto type of texture and spread to it. Aside from the fact that the shrimp weren’t de-veined and de-pooped, this was an excellent dish. Not too salty, as these can sometimes become.
As for the oysters, very good. Crisp and fresh, but not quite as good as Legacy Kitchen.
RED FISH GRILL
115 Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70130
Cochon Restaurant and its sister joint “Butcher” are well known in New Orleans for serving some great meaty grub.
My friends and I went in a big group, so we got to try a lot of items. Here’s the full menu (minus the daily specials).
We started with some fried gator.
These bites were excellent. Gator meat, if you haven’t had it before, is like a cross between catfish and chicken in texture: tender but springy. These were spicy and saucy but still fried up nice and crisp on the outside.
Next up, probably one of the best dishes of the meal, braised pork cheeks.
Incredibly tender, and again with a bit of spice. Awesome way to begin the meal. I could eat this over and over.
Next up, a gorgeous charcuterie board.
The standout here was the pork rillette (in the tin cup). So smooth and tasty. But everything else was really nice as well (head cheese, coppa, prosciutto, homemade bologna, and even the pickled veggies).
Liver and onions, also well executed and delicious, is what my wife ordered to start. This had a great pepper jelly that really popped. It went nicely with the fresh mint.
Fried boudin (sausage) and rice balls. These were so soft inside and crispy outside.
For my entree I ordered a rib eye (of course) that was on the list of daily specials. It was essentially the center eye part of the rib eye only – no cap at all.
While this was very small, it was priced accordingly ($28). They misfired my first cut and went over, but they were smart enough not to bring it out to me. The second one, however, was slightly under from medium rare, and it felt rushed.
No matter, though. I’d rather eat a rare steak than a well done steak. The issue for me was that it just wasn’t very good. The sauce didn’t quite do it for me, and it was described as being roasted. I was sort of expecting prime rib given the description. 5/10.
My wife ordered the winning dish here. Ham hock.
It had a delicious dry spice rub on it that was a cross between sweet and spicy, and it was cooked perfectly throughout. The veggies, yogurt and quinoa underneath was a nice touch to make the fully composed dish well rounded and complete.
Their famous dish here, the cochon, was tasty but way too salty for my liking. One or two bites was all I could do. It also wasn’t that pretty so I didn’t bother trying to get a great shot of it.
Their oyster and bacon sandwich was massive.
It was loaded with tons of fried gulf oysters and smoky bacon. And it went nicely with some of their spicy vinegar and hot sauce.
Overall this was a pretty great meal with the exception of the steak. I would definitely go here again.
930 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130
What can really be said about Commander’s Palace that hasn’t already been said? The sprawling seven dining room Garden District mansion is an American institution of culinary tradition, a birthing place of great chefs, and a damn good place to eat in New Orleans, if not one of the best.
Despite what you might think, however, I do actually have a few negative things to say, but I’ll save those for the end. For now, let’s get down to the meal.
The waiters brought out a sample of the shrimp and tasso henican appetizer. That’s wild Louisiana white shrimp, tasso ham, pickled okra, sweet onions, five pepper jelly and Crystal hot sauce beurre blanc. Certainly one of the best bites of the meal.
I started with a red fish cake. This was essentially a crab cake made with local fish rather than crab meat. It had a nice exterior crust, a good spicy sauce, and a soft, tender inside.
For my main course I had the pecan crusted gulf fish, which is one of the house specialties. This was executed perfectly. The fish tasted like a cross between halibut and catfish.
My wife ordered what I considered to be the star of the meal: dry aged duck breast. This thing packed great flavor, and the fat beneath the crispy skin rendered out perfectly, allowing for a really juicy cut of duck tit.
Now for one of the negatives: the lamb shank was dry as fuck. It did look gorgeous though, and despite the dryness, it still tasted good.
We tried a vast array of desserts, like pecan pie, a massive sundae and a strawberries and cream shortcake.
All were good, but the best of the desserts was their special bread pudding souffle, which one must order with their apps and entrees so that it can be made in time.
While it might look like the pull-out scene of an adult cream pie video on YouPorn, I promise you it tasted better. Wait… I have no experience there, so I can’t really make a fair comparison. In any case it was damn delicious, and the amount of work that goes into this dish (as well as many other dishes) is staggering. It’s no wonder chefs not only learn technique here but are made to excel at them.
This place is awesome. They even sent out a round of shots for us. I forget what was in them, but it was a milky substance that had booze in it.
And speaking of alcohol, you should check out their bar if you get the chance. You will walk through the immaculate kitchen and the chef’s table to get to it, and you can have some of their awesome signature cocktails beside the patio garden.
But here comes the other bad thing: my buddy noticed a small roach on the bar while we were waiting for our other party members to arrive. I’m not sure how that’s possible given the insanely clean kitchen and dining spaces. My only guess is that it came in from outside in the patio area to escape the ungodly cold weather that NOLA was experiencing that weekend. We told the bartender and she was mortified.
Don’t let the two negatives I mentioned stop you from going here though. Every cook has a bad day (dry lamb) and there’s only so much you can do to prevent a bug from getting into an establishment.
1403 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130
This is Nina Compton’s joint, from the New Orleans season of Top Chef. My wife got us a reservation here and we were all pretty excited to try it.
The cocktails here are awesome, and I’m now firmly of the belief that New Orleans is one of the best places for cocktails in the world. Their take on a mule is served in a brass rabbit, and they can only serve 14 at a time, since that’s how many brass rabbit vessels they have.
I had a Louisville Slugger, which was basically a vanilla smoked old fashioned. Delicious.
Now onto the food. First was this board of amazing biscuits with two kinds of butter (sweet and maple bacon).
We started with a nice round of small plates and apps.
Crispy Pig’s Ears
These were awesome. Great Caribbean spice flavor (Nina hails from St. Lucia), crispy outside, and a little chew inside. Just right.
Another nod to Nina’s background, these Caribbean conch fritters were soft inside and perfectly crisp outside.
This was so good. The spice level was nice, but the flavor and quality of the tuna was exceptional. Not to mention that it’s beautiful to look at. My favorite of the apps, and that’s a big win considering what came next.
The meat was nicely minced and served with a skim-coat of smoked beef fat. Amazing! My buddy, who is a big steak tartare aficionado, loved this. This shit was way better than the garbage we had at Dickie Brennan’s.
Now onto the main courses.
Jamaican Jerk Drum
Drum is a fish that’s local to the area. It’s white and flakey, kinda like a halibut. This had a nice crisped coating of jerk spices on the exterior, and a super tender and flakey interior. I loved it. What made this dish really pop, though, were the drops of citrus custard that dotted the plate. When you got that pungent hit of lemon curd in with a bite of all the rest, it really came together.
This homemade spaetzl-like pasta was perfectly cooked and served with some high quality shrimp and clams. We really liked it.
I didn’t get a photo of this, but I did get a bite of my friends dish. It was so tender and flavorful. Nina really nailed it.
Dessert: Soursop Semifreddo
Very rare to see the exotic soursop fruit on a menu stateside, so my wife and I jumped at this. It was served in a log shaped semifreddo form, with shaved celery, meringue and shaved cucumber. Really well balanced.
This was easily one of the best meals we had in New Orleans. I highly recommend this joint.
The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery
535 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130
Of the seven cuts of steak I tried in New Orleans, the rib eye from Galatoire’s was the best.
It may not look like much from that shot, but it had a massive rib cap on it, and it was cooked perfectly from end to end with a great crust.
There was a little bit of bleed out, but it still remained extremely juicy. 9/10
Okay not that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about the rest of this kickass meal.
Excellent cocktails here, some signature, and many classic ones that are famous for the Big Easy.
This crab appetizer didn’t look like much either, and from the menu description it sounded like it would have been more than dressed lump crab on top of iceberg lettuce and garnished with tomato. Nonetheless it was delicious.
I tried a few versions of gumbo on my trip to New Orleans, but this one was the best. It was rich and thick, not overly salty, and had perfectly cooked duck and andouille within.
The Oysters Rockefeller were amazing. So much of that delicious “creamless” style creamed spinach. Pro-tip: if you’re going here to mimic a steakhouse meal experience, order this and skip out on getting the oysters app and creamed spinach side separately. This baby fulfills both very well.
The creamed spinach was kind of redundant at that point, but still really fucking tasty:
The Potatoes Au Gratin were excellent as well:
As were these Brabant Potatoes – very crisp:
The broccoli, on the other hand, completely phoned in. Lame. Simply steamed and flavored with some salt or butter.
But let me tell you, this Shrimp Étouffée was outstanding:
The shrimp were perfectly cooked. The sauce was incredible: smooth, perfectly velvety and nicely seasoned.
My wife ordered that, and I think the ultimate meal here would be to get the gumbo to start, the steak and etouffe to share as entrees with a side of Oysters Rockefeller, and you can finish up with this bread pudding for dessert:
I took my wife to The Aviary as an early Christmas present. I booked the five course “Cocktails & Canapes” tasting menu dinner about two weeks in advance with a $100 deposit. The cost is $165pp, with an 18% gratuity added at the end (and tax, of course).
That’s crazy expensive, but this is truly a unique drinking and dining experience. I drank and ate things I never would have even thought about. In hindsight, five cocktails was aggressive (but awesome). I think when I go back, I will just order a la carte.
Here is the entire menu, but I will highlight what was selected for us below in the review:
The first thing to come out was an “amuse” drink – a small shot of tastiness that involved lime, rum, and mint.
A few moments later, our first round of cocktails came out with the first course of food.
Drinks: Micahlada (left – and yes, that is spelled correctly) and Zombie Panda (right)
Of these two, the Micahlada was my favorite. This is The Aviary’s take on a michelada (beer, spices and tomato juice), made with soy, coriander, Japanese whisky and Evil Twin beer. The Zombie Panda was tart from the lemon, lychee and pisco, and filled with frozen spheres of raspberry juice to sweeten it up.
Food: Pineapple Two Ways
This was a nice way to get the taste buds popping. That brown stuff at the bottom was a mole sauce. I liked it a lot, but my wife wasn’t too taken with it. The black mint garnish was tasty and went well with the watermelon radish and passion fruit.
Drinks: How Does Snoop Dog Use Lemongrass (left) and Mimosa (right)
The mimosa was nice because the fruit juice was frozen into ice cubes, so the drink becomes sweeter and more smooth as it sits.
The idea behind the Snoop drink is that Snoop Dogg ends everything with “-izzle” when he talks/raps, so there is a “swizzle” made out of lemongrass, which is used to mix the drink together:
Food: Kampachi Ceviche
This was bright, light and savory, pulling in southeast asian flavors from Thai green curry, heart of palm and coconut. I really enjoyed the briny broth and the coiled peels of red pepper for spice.
Drink: Heart of Stone
This was the best drink of the night, and you get about six glasses out of the container. That container is filled with bourbon, tea, Fresno chili, pistachio and peach. As it sits there, the flavors infuse deeply into the bourbon, so each time you refill the glass it tastes a little different. More spices come out, more sweetness too. Amazing.
Food: Pork Belly Curry
This dish was really good, but it could have been excellent with a crunch element. I think the iceberg lettuce discs were supposed to be that element, but they fell short just a bit. Perhaps a fried shrimp chip or crispy egg roll wrapper would do the trick. But the pork belly curry itself? Awesome. The banana and cashew are excellent compliments to the savory.
FROM THE CHEF
They’re experimenting with “all times of day” food here at The Aviary, so this is meant to be a breakfast item. It’s velvety smooth, and the smoked abalone within makes you think you’re eating bacon. The pops of flavor from the pickled huckleberries really brighten and balance this seafood porridge custard dish.
Drink: Memphis Half Step
These glasses come to the table upside down on a charred piece of oak cask, filled with smoke. The aroma is awesome. This absinthe and rye cocktail is super smooth with a hint of sweetness.
Food: A5 Miyazaki Wagyu Rib Eye
Clearly my favorite food item of the night. The meat was buttery soft, and the grilled romaine with puffed rice was a great textural pop to go with it. That yellow sauce is a yuzu mustard. Possibly the greatest mustard ever. 10/10. Wish I had 16 more ounces of this.
Drink: Boom Goes The Dynamite
This was sweet and warm, almost like a port or brandy. It was made with rum, vanilla, violet and rooibos… and dry ice for the smoke.
Milk chocolate, violet and buttermilk sorbet make this dessert extra decadent. There were some more spheres of raspberry ice on the plate too, rounding out the meal with a call back to the very first cocktail (Zombie Panda). Really nice.
After dinner, our waiter Preston took us on a short tour of The Office, the speakeasy behind The Aviary bar staging area (which looks more like a kitchen than a bar).
Here’s what the inside of The Office looks like:
They have a cabinet filled with really old spirits that you can order as well. Super rare.
I will definitely be back to try this place, as well as the Aviary again. So many interesting sounding drinks and food items to try, like the “Science AF,” which looks like a chemistry set, or the “Wake & Bake,” which is a pillow filled with smoke and a drink made with orange, everything bagel, coffee and rye. I snapped a photo of it before they opened the bag filled with smoke:
80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street
New York, NY 10023
My wife and I went to Prune for brunch. We started off with some nicely crafted Bloody Mary drinks (which come with a Red Stripe beer back).
Mine was made with gin and garnished with a pickled egg, and my wife got a vodka based one with some southern spices, caper berries and pickled beans. I actually mixed my beer into the bloody when I was about halfway done, to make what was almost like a michelada.
For my entree, I had the famous fried monte cristo sandwich (ham, turkey, and cheese, breaded and deep fried). It was amazing – like a French toast sandwich. It came with two eggs and a berry jelly.
That coil of sausage we ordered as an extra side. Home made lamb sausage to be exact. It was incredible.
While the bill was a bit steep, we were satisfied and the food was delicious.
Incase you’re wondering, those are little licorice schnauzers that come with the bill.