It's been a long time coming, but here it is, the final installment in our New Orleans journey. We decided to save the best for last, so here are our top 3 favorite restaurants.
We went to Dante's Kitchen on our first night in New Orleans. It sits in a quiet residential neighborhood where you'll miss it if you drive by too quickly. They also tell you to leave your diet at the door.
We started off with a variety of excellent appetizers including an artisinal cheese plate, boudin noir and charcuterie.
Each table gets a small cast iron skillet with molasses spoonbread, which is like a sweetened cornbread with honey butter. Most of our appetizers were so savory, the spoonbread was a great compliment.
For our entrees, Tom chose a cajun spiced pan-seared gulf fish with a crab salad which was tasty, but I humbly believe that I won the battle this time. The Dante's Kitchen maple-glazed chicken under a brick over a potato bacon hash cake with a fried farm egg was by far the single best dish of food put in front of us during our entire trip. Everything about it was amazing.
For dessert, we split the butterscotch pudding with salted whipped cream, the perfect blend of sweet and salty and great end to this awesome meal.
736 Dante Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
Donald Link is well known throughout the culinary circle for his attention to detail and his touch with meat dishes. He's probably the most lauded for his upscale restaurants, Cochon and Herbsaint, but the more casual Cochon Butcher is worthy of the same kind of praise.
This is almost like really great bar food. All of the meats are cured and smoked in house. We started with boudin blanc, duck pastrami sliders.
Then we took on the Gambino sandwich - which was piled high with the restaurants housemade meats and served with homemade pickles. Oh, the pickles. I loved them so much, I bought a jar to take home with me. I'm sure Link's other restaurants are fantastic, but for my money, Cochon Butcher gave me a great bang for my buck.
930 Tchoupitoulas Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Our last meal in New Orleans was at the James Beard nominated Lilette in the Garden District, and what a great way to finish out our cunlinary expedition in the Big Easy. This quaint Italian-influenced eatery pushes all the right buttons for me. The food is thoughtful, simple and delicious.
I started out with the antipasta plate which was piled with coppa, salami toscana and burrata (my absolute favorite)
Tom went with the tuna ceviche for his meal. It was light and lucious at the same time, with just enough citrus to make it interesting.
For my entree, I got the gnocchi with San Marzano tomatoes. It was really hearty and comforting, just like homestyle Italian food should be.
The real stars of this meal were the desserts, but the failing light made it impossible to get a good photo. We shared the Nutella custard with salty caramel brittle. It was creamy and decadent, and so very good, but it didn't hold a candle to the quenelles of goat cheese with lavendar honey, poached pears and pistachios. This dessert definitely made my "Top 3 Dishes of the Trip" list along with the chicken under a brick from Dante's Kitchen and the deconstructed banana pudding from Restaurant August. I loved it so much, that I've attempted to recreate at home. It was a delicious way to end a fantastic trip.
3637 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70115
Whew, and we're finally done with New Orleans. Yay! Coming up, I'll do a little work on my Memphis backlog, and then - TOKYO! Thanks for reading!