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