Tag Archives: jazz


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.

That about does it.

801 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70116

BB King’s

There aren’t many places left in the city to get a really good meal while you watch live music. Minton’s, Duane Park and Blue Smoke come to mind, but those joints are small and almost always limited to jazz. I love the B.B. King’s venue. They get a great variety of artists coming in there, ranging from old time blues guys and rock bands, to country stars and rappers. Yeah, they have jazz too, of course, but B.B.’s really has everything – including great food.

I had been to B.B. King’s once before to see a show, but I never thought to eat there. In fact I didn’t even realize that the other side of the venue has a nice big restaurant called Lucille’s; I’d only been to the bar and stage side with smaller, less “fine-dining” style tables. So when Chef Wenford Patrick Simpson (Chef Patrick) reached out and invited me in to review and try his food, my interest was piqued.

I read up on Chef Patrick, browsed his menu online, and instantly became eager to take him up on his offer and give this place a spin. Chef Patrick began cooking as a kid in Jamaica. While attending high school he was offered a job at Club Caribbean, where he was an intern, to begin immediately after graduation. He worked many resorts before taking his skills to the sea on Royal Caribbean and Disney cruise lines. Later, he settled in New York City, where he became Executive Chef at Negril Restaurant. Now, not only is Chef Patrick the Executive Chef for B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, Subrosa and the Highline Ballroom here in NYC, but he’s also the Executive Chef at the Howard Theater in Washington D.C. Wow! I don’t know how he does it all. B.B. King’s alone is crazy. That kitchen gets incredibly busy when both Lucille’s and the main stage room are packed to capacity and the orders are flying in.

So what’s next for a man with such an impressive pedigree? He’s launching his own cooking show, called “Cook-Up with Chef Patrick,” on the TEMPO Network – a pan-Caribbean culture and music television channel.

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His food has been awarded “Best in Taste” at both Spring Taste NYC, 2015 and Taste of Times Square, 2016. Sometimes he heads to Times Square, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s to give out tasting samples of his creations. In fact, Bloomingdale’s rated him its favorite chef.

It’s easy to understand why. Chef Patrick pushes boundaries in the kitchen. His goal is to create a unique dining experience; he takes Southern and American cooking to the next level with Caribbean spices and flavors. He cooks with love and passion, and his personality is as fun, warm and comforting as the dishes he serves to customers.

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Below is a look at some of those dishes. First, the starters. Chef Patrick brought out a sampler for us to try, along with some of the full sized plated versions of each.


Let me start with front and center: mini chicken and waffles. These things are delicious. Savory, sweet, fresh, crisp, tender and juicy.


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Sweet and spicy fried catfish bites. These were so addicting and flavorful, drizzled with a sweet, spicy and creamy chipotle sauce.


Popcorn shrimp with diced mangoes and a chili and lime sauce. Light, refreshing, and a real pop of flavor with each bite.


We tried two different styles of wings. First was a brand new menu addition, the jerk chicken spice wings. These were our favorite between the two. Lots of great bold flavors, and Chef Patrick really brings the flavors of Jamaica to the table.


The bluesy BBQ wings were good as well; we just preferred that strong jerk spice flavor.


This bowl of chili is thick and hearty enough to eat with a fork! It had an incredible smoky flavor with just the right amount of heat.


One of their best sellers is this nice, fresh chopped salad, with avocado, corn, bacon, tomato, goat cheese and a light vinaigrette.


Smoked brisket sliders with Blues Boy BBQ sauce (same sauce as the bluesy wings). These were super tender and delicious.



Speaking of brisket, the BBQ brisket here rivals some of the best dedicated BBQ smokehouse joints in town. It was incredibly tender and flavorful. In addition to brisket, Chef Patrick also fired up some amazing short rib, pork ribs and jerk chicken (the latter comes with a mango salsa).



Again, the distinctly Jamaican flavor profile associated with jerk chicken is really killer here. This chicken was slow cooked BBQ style and resulted in super tender and delicious meat.



But what southern-inspired meal would be complete without collared greens and a sizzling skillet of mac and cheese?




The greens were nicely cooked and had a great freshness and zing to them. The mac came to the table bubbling, steaming and sizzling, and had a comforting, soul-warming and hearty cheddar flavor.

And just when I thought this feast was done, Chef Patrick brought out a gorgeous sliced porterhouse!



The filet side was super tender and flavorful. I can’t believe I was even able to eat it after all that food, but I guess I have a separate stomach that’s just for steak.



Check out how perfectly cooked the strip side was:


It had great flavor and was perfectly cooked. For $80 this is one of the best deals you can find in the city to feed two people with steak. And I’d be a fool not to mention the awesome steak sauce that comes with this baby. It’s a bourbon steak sauce unlike any I’ve tasted before. I almost never use steak sauce, but this one was outstanding. I’ve actually been poking around the B.B. King’s website looking to buy a bottle of it, but I’ve had no luck yet!

And just as there is a second stomach for steak, there is also a third stomach for dessert. Chef Patrick made what I declared to be one of my favorite desserts in town. It’s a waffle with ice cream, whipped cream and strawberry sauce – nothing too complicated – but my primary motivation is flavor. This was absolutely delicious. The waffle was crisp and warm on the outside, but soft and tender inside. The ice cream was creamy and smooth, and the strawberry sauce was sweet and tart. Just perfect.



I think that covers everything we tried. There’s just one other item that the chef brought over to our table to show us. It was an order for another table, so we didn’t get to try it. Fried catfish! It looked and smelled great.


I guess I will say this in summary: lots of people buy tickets to a performance and they think they need to get food somewhere else beforehand or afterwards. This is not the case with B.B. King’s. Here, you not only get world class music performances, but you get top notch food to boot.

237 W 42nd St
New York, NY 10036

Minton’s Jazz Club

The story behind Minton’s jazz club is pretty great. The way it worked, back in the day, was this: Musicians would be given a free meal of soul food if they played. They were allowed to solo, as long as they could keep up with the house band. At the time, that house band was run by the great Thelonious Monk. His style was tough to keep up with for most musicians, but guys like Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker were able to hang with him when they came in to play and eat.

The joint closed in 1974, reopened in 2006, then closed again in 2010, and reopened again in late 2013. The neighborhood has undergone some dramatic changes in real estate values, demographic, businesses that operate there, etc. If I had to guess, I’d say that tho splice is not going to close again anytime soon. The music and food are just too good.

First, let’s get your appetites brewing with a little bit of battle jazz:

Now, I’ll tell you about the delicious food we ate. My wife picked up a Living Social deal for the amazing price of about $90, which included two apps, two entrees, a shared dessert, two cocktails and a jazz album to take home, on top of the great music that you get to watch and listen to while you’re there.

The first thing to come out where a pair of balls: hush puppies for an amuse. These were tasty: crunchy on the outside, pillowy on the inside.


I started with the fried green tomatoes. Two thick, tangy slices of tomato were fried to a golden crisp and topped with hot smoked arctic char and dandelion greens, which were deftly dressed with a creole dressing. I’ve only had fried green tomatoes a few times in my life, but he addition of smoked fish on top was really incredible. It added substance, flash and style to an otherwise ordinary dish. I loved it.


My wife had the deviled crab cake, which tasted exactly how it sounds. It was meaty and spiced, and came with some black eyed peas and celery leaves for texture and herbiness. A really nice southern take on a northeast classic.


The music roared as we mowed through our apps…


We sipped on a pair of delicious cocktails while enjoying the band. I had something called a prima, which consisted of sage infused rye, sorrel syrup, lemon juice, aromatic butters and agave honey. My wife had the satchmo, which was made with smoky is lay scotch, bourbon, bale syrup and bitters.


…And soon enough the entrees were served.

I ordered the venison burger, which was topped with farm cheese, blackberry onion jam and country ham, with a side of yucca fries (I think that’s what they were).


The burger was smoky from the country ham, and the melty cheese was thick and sharp, Everything was cut nicely by the sweet blackberry onion jam, which I think they can bottle and sell as a gourmet BBQ sauce. Really tasty. The venison wasn’t gamey or funky: It was tender and packed with robust flavor, and it was cooked to a perfect medium rare:


Those fries though… WOW. Nice and crispy with a crunchier texture than potato. They had a good snap to them, and they were perfectly fried and seasoned.

My wife had the buttermilk fried guinea hen. This was served with a bourbon peach tea glaze, black eyed peas and pickled collared stems for a bit more crunch and punch. The meat itself was perfectly cooked. It was nice and juicy, with tons of flavor coming at you from every angle. There was even a hint of maple syrup for that chicken and waffles type of flavor.


For dessert we had the lemon tart with blueberry sorbet and shaved fruit leather. This was nice and tangy, and the shell around the lemon curd was super light and airy. A light and refreshing way to end a great meal:


206 W. 118th St.
New York, NY 10026