This was probably our 8th visit to Brigtsen’s, in the River Bend Area, though only the second one lately. For this December visit, we met with family, who live in Metairie, and had a wonderful meal, plus a lot of catching-up to do.
We arrived a few minutes early for our reservation, were warmly greeted, and seated in one of the side rooms, with a table for four.
I got the evening started with a bottle of the Bachelet-Monnot Chassagne-Montrachet ‘15, from Brigtsen’s small, but nice wine list. This Montrachet was the only big French white on the list, but did nicely. It came out a bit on the cold side, but we had it placed onto the table, so that it could warm up a bit. Especially with big whites, I find that most restaurants (and not just in the South) serve them too cold. I followed with the Albert Bichot Savigny-les-Beaune ‘15 (Pinot Noir).
We played with the menu a bit, and vacillated over the Tasting Menu, but finally decided to go á la carte, and my wife and I ordered:
Filé Gumbo w/ chicken and Andouille Sausage – While I am more a fan of Seafood Gumbo, this was a great dish, with a dark, flavorful roux, which was just the right consistency – thick, but not too thick. The Andouille Sausage added a bit of a “kick,” and no Tabasco was needed.
Butternut Shrimp Bisque – A new dish from Brigtsen’s Soup Menu for us, and so very good. It had lots of shrimp, and they tasted fresh from the Gulf. The bisque also had great consistency, and layers of flavor.
Cornmeal Fried Des Allemands Catfish w/ fire-roasted vegetables – This was a great appetizer, and the catfish was very good, and also fresh – the fish that made Des Allemands famous! The cornmeal crust was ideal, and Chef had added a bit of spice to it. Just wonderful, and the earthiness of the catfish paired beautifully with the Pinot Noir.
Broiled Gulf Snapper w/ crabmeat crust, lemon-crab sauce, mushrooms, asparagus and leeks – Beautifully done sweet Gulf Snapper, and the lemon-crab sauce was an ideal topping. The citrus elements went well with the big Chardonnay, and the fish stood up to the Pinot Noir too.
Pan-fried Speckled Trout w/ roasted pecans and Meuniére sauce – I am a pushover for fried speckled trout, and order it, almost every time I encounter it. As a youth, we spent most of the Autumn and Winter catching “specks” in the Gulf, but now they are deemed a “seasonal fish,” so not always seen. This prep was great, and the Meuniére sauce did well with both the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir.
For dessert we shared:
Double-chocolate Cake (with a lovely presentation) – Very nice, and even for me, one who is not big on chocolate desserts.
Pecan Pie w/ caramel sauce – Excellent pecan pie, but I wold rather have had perhaps a Bourbon sauce, instead.
Café au Lait Crème Brûlée – Great Crème Brûlée with a perfect crust on it.
Now, Brigtsen’s is fine-dining, but in a relaxed, and somewhat “laid back” atmosphere. It is definitely off of the main tourist routes, being just a few blocks from ends of St Charles Ave, and South Carrollton Ave, where the St Charles Ave Streetcar makes its 90 degree turn, right at a big bend in the Mississippi River. It is tucked back from South Carrollton, several blocks, and is located in an older home. That is also the feeling that I get, when I dine there – I am dining in Chef Brigtsen’s home. Our service was very friendly, and efficient. My wine orders were handled properly, though I wish that they had nicer stemware for the wines like the Montrachet. The room with our table was a bit crowded, but our server made it look easy. Where we were seated was in a quieter area of the dining room, and that was greatly appreciated, as some tables can be a bit too loud for my liking – not bad, but a few dB louder, than I like.
Once more, an excellent dining experience, and well-worth the trek from the Windsor Court, out to the River Bend Area.
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