My husband and I moved to New Orleans in December 2011. We live in the area known as Bayou St. John, in walking distance of Crescent City Steak House. I'd read on their website about the history of the restaurant where it is claimed that they only offer the best, USDA prime aged beef from Chicago and the steaks are cooked sizzling in butter, the signature "New Orleans Style" of cooking steak. I was intrigued. It has been open in the same location since 1934, so they must know what they're doing, right?
There is a menu online, which is only slightly more abbreviated than the menu you get in the restaurant. I am dying for a steak, it's in walking distance, and we have no food in the house... so I talk my husband into going there instead of going to our old standbys in the neighborhood.
This place is loud. Really loud. I'm not sure how much of it is the acoustics of the building or the clientele not having a clue about inside voices. I'm thinking it's a combination thing. It is very bright in this place. The owners have apparently NEVER heard of mood lighting. I'm beginning to think, after we are seating near what was probably the original front door next to a column that is clad in aluminum and once served as a coat or hat rack, that the decor is original. This is NOT a good thing. Along one wall are these little alcoves that look like confessionals, complete with drapes. I'm guessing they're supposed to be private dining and that's supposed to be romantic. It really isn't.
The menus are brought to us and we are thinking we'll have the stuffed mushroom appetizer (a weekly special menu item for close to $8). As we are discussing this, our waitress appears and asks if we're ready to order. I ask about the various types of potatoes they serve as they list them without explanations. I can barely hear her because of how loud it is, how low she is talking, and (quite frankly) I'm being hypnotized by her poor dental hygiene and lack of teeth. I think I heard what she said, so I order the $25 ribeye steak, medium rare and the $4 brabant potatoes (which are supposedly just cube cut fries, but that's only if you're lazy and don't bother to finish the recipe) with a $3 Coke. My husband gets the ribeye also, medium, the $4 au gratin potatoes, and the $7 Chimay. We also ordered the stuffed mushroom appetizer and eventually both order an additional beverage. Our bill total was $98. Which would be fine... except for one thing... I expect to get what I pay for.
Don't get me wrong, the food was delicious and we got everything we ordered. However, when I order a $25 ribeye, I expect to see a perfectly cooked 16 oz steak with a nice crust, no gristle, good marbling but not a lot of fat, and it should be at least 1 1/2 inches thick. What I got had practically no sear on it (though there were grill marks), was maybe 8 oz (the size is not listed on the menu) and was less than an inch thick. It was closer to rare than medium rare, but that is not usually an issue. It didn't have an gristle, but it did have a ton of fat on it. The brabant and au gratin potatoes were delicious, perfectly executed... and extremely small portions. Think small fries at McDonald's. The mushrooms were wonderful, as was the avocado sauce they were served with. But they were average sized button mushrooms and we only go three... for the price, there either needed to be more (and an even number of them) or they needed to be bigger mushrooms (and an even number). I've paid $3 for two 20 oz bottles of Coca~Cola at the convenience store and that includes tax. My glass bottle of Coke was about 4 to 6 oz and refills are not free. My husband's Chimay was also overpriced. You can get the large bottle of Chimay for $10 at the local grocery store chain. The complimentary bread served with the meal was probably a Leidenheimer loaf, which the locals here seem to be very fond of but for someone who bakes bread for a living (my husband), it is somewhat overproofed and not very tasty. Not bad bread, just not something you should serve in a restaurant with those kinds of prices.
Of course, this expensive and disappointing, even though delicious meal could not be complete without the waitress returning to our table as we were finishing our meal after finishing off her entire pack of cigarettes and trailing a cloying cloud of smoke around her. I nearly gagged and had to turn my face away from her. We spent less the following night at Sobou and the meal was much more satisfying and up to par. I'll never go back to Crescent City Steak House.
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