Upon arrival for a 12-day gastro vacation in the area, I made a dinner reservation from the hotel before even unpacking. They seemed to be able to accommodate last-minute reservations in the off season on a Monday, although I sense that simply showing up might not have been successful (my presumption is that Garden District venues get many more locals). As well, they prefer that gentlemen wear a jacket, but it is not required. However, given the high level of customer compliance, I would have felt out of place without one.
By comparison, all the good restaurants in the French Quarter didn’t require a mid-week reservation during my same trip. Some recommended Tuesday to Thursday as the least busy nights, and then things start to fill up fast as the conventioneers arrive and depart.
I had the seven-course “Chef’s Playground”, and they allowed me to substitute-in their famed bread pudding soufflé with whiskey sauce as the desert – it takes a while to prepare, so order it early. All the courses were sublime, especially memorable for me being the soft-shell crab. You should definitely spring for the wine pairing.
I could go on about the food, but I really must comment about the staff. They are as professional as what you’ll experience at the top-end restaurants in the French quarter, likely even more so. But what really set them apart was simply how down-to-earth, convivial and approachable they were, compared to some of the stiffer old-school staff who would serve you elsewhere. Even among the younger staff under training, you could see that they had that right “spark” and would go far in the business.
I never did check to see if they charged me extra for the desert upgrade because I simply didn’t care once I had tried it. If you ask on the way out, the front desk will give you the bread pudding soufflé recipe (and it’s in their cookbook). I will be going through a lot of dried leftover baguettes in the next few months, while trying to perfect it.
This restaurant should be on everyone’s Bucket List.
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