Sometimes you eat and sometimes you have an experience eating. I lucked out mid afternoon when my destination of choice, American Sector, the Besh cafe in the WW2 Museum was closed due to weather. It was cold and rainy and Sector has a hot chicken and dumpling dish just like grandma used to make - if your grandma cooked. So I decided to hike over to the Roosevelt Hotel where chef Besh has a casual Italian/pizza place called Domenica and as I was solo, I parked at the bar in the best spot, where the tenders dish up drinks like Obituaries and odd stuff only ordered in places like New Orleans. Alexis was tending, and she found an Italian wine similar to a California Merlot which I like. Wine and beer and pizza are half price in the afternoon happy hours and so the prices were real good. I told her my plight and said I'd order the next best thing to chicken and dumplings - salmon and mashed potatoes. I drank my quasi merlot and out comes a young chef introduced as Philip with a smile n his face who said "I like a challenge" as he placed a bowl in front of me full of - you guessed - chicken and dumplings - well actually they were a kind of Italian pasta similar to dumplings and they were just great - and gratis, and I ate the fish and potatoes also and was very stuffed and satisfied. Chef Philip seems destined to follow in the Besh trail to success. I really could not believe the hospitality shown by Alexis and Chef Philip. I highly recommend Domenica bar dining, especially fun in a place like New Orleans. I met a great couple from Oklahoma and a 71 year old quirky lady who comes in three times a day to eat the same peach dessert, as she stands by the bar - straight out of Tennessee Williams. The menu at Domenica is Italian with a twist. The couple had pizza half price and another lady had fried squash blossoms with goat cheese inside and crispy kale - to show you the variety and breadth of the Besh menu. And you can have a fine meal with several entrees and still be out less that $25. And the desserts are the crowning touch to any Besh restaurant - all made I believe at their famed pastry kitchen above Restaurant August. I highly recommend Domenica. Walk around the lobby of the historic Roosevelt Hotel and ask to take a peek in the legendary "Blue Room". If Chef Philip is on and you don't see what your body is craving on the menu, tell him - he just might like the challenge!
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