Monday, we couldn't get motivated for breakfast, so moved directly to lunch. We headed to Mr B's Bistro
, to sample their Gumbo Ya Ya
. We've eaten a lot of good gumbo in New Orleans, but this particular one has been mentioned as a classic, so we figured we should try it.
And indeed, it's a classic style of gumbo, with full flavor from a dark roux, and generous chunks of chicken and andouille sausage. Sadly the sausage had given up most of its fat and flavor to the soup, so what remained in the bowl was a little dry. It was a decent bowl of gumbo, but not the apex of gumbo-dom that we'd expected. The fresh, warm loaf of french bread was really good, and an excellent partner for the soup, and along with a couple of cocktails, it made a perfectly pleasant lunch, but I wouldn't call it a necessary stop on a culinary tour.
Mr B's Bistro
201 Royal Stwww.mrbsbistro.com/
Next we wandered a few blocks over to Johnny's Po Boys
There was a bit of a line, but it moved fairly quickly. We'd seen their Roast Beef Po Boy mentioned as one of the better ones around town, so we felt obliged to try one of those.
It was, in fact, quite good, very moist and flavorful, but not soaked with dark gravy and debris, as so many of the classic ones are. Perhaps they'll drown it in gravy if you ask for it that way, but I actually liked it like this, it was still plenty wet and messy. If I had a craving for the ultimate roast beef po boy, I'd probably hike out to Parasol's
, but if I needed to stick near the Quarter, I wouldn't be disappointed in this one.
The Judge Bosetta
po boy took a while on the grill. It's got ground beef, Italian Sausage and Hot Sausage, all smooshed together and crisped-up on the flat-top. Delicious.
We saw a lot of food go by as we were waiting for that second sandwich, and everything looked great, including bowls of seafood gumbo with various claws and shells protruding from the broth, a very credible-looking muffuletta, a bacon egg and cheese po by's Po Boy that made us consider backing-up to breakfast, and lots of enticing fried things.
Johnny's Po Boys
51 St Louis St
open until 3pm weekdays, 4:30 on fri-sat-sun. www.johnnyspoboy.com/
It was a beautiful, sunny day, so we walked over to the riverbank and ate our sandwiches outside. Afterward, we decided to bike out Magazine St and see what we would discover. We knew that if nothing else, we'd end up at La Divina
. Good gelato and sorbetto are always powerful motivators.
That's Strawberry-Balsamic Sorbetto and Coconut Sorbetto on the left, Abita Root Beer Gelato and Sweet Potato Pie Gelato on the right. They were all decent, although the flavors were a bit on the subtle side, except for the Sweet Potato Pie, which was fantastic. The coconut-basil sorbetto a few doors up at Sucré was even more vague, just barely a hint of coconut, but it was still pretty refreshing after a bike ride on a sunny day.
La Divina Gelateria
3005 Magazine Stwww.ladivinagelateria.com/
3025 Magazine Sthttp://www.shopsucre.com/
It would have made sense to just stay uptown, but we wanted to put on some better clothes for dinner, so we biked back to the Marigny, cleaned up, and hopped a cab back west, for dinner at Clancy's
The restaurant was very busy, so we were led upstairs to a small room in the library. It was a perfectly pleasant space, but as luck would have it, we were a two-top, squeezed between a table of 8 doctors trying to impress one another with their wine selections, and a table of 12, which seemed to be a family get-together of some sort. This most likely accounted for our feeling that we were getting something less than the service we'd hoped for - nothing egregious - just a general sense that they weren't really all that concerned about us, which is just going to happen when squeezed in-between two tables spending lots of money.
It was a bit like our Commander's experience: nobody was rude to us, but we'd been looking forward to some of that burnished, old fashioned New Orleans service, and we didn't get much of that... Although, also similar to Commander's, we did get a little bit of it. Again, we had tag-team servers, and one of them was an older gentleman who just had everything under control, knew what we wanted before we did, accommodated a few special requests with great elegance - just handled it. Our other server seemed to forget about us most of the evening, poured the last of our bottle of wine without mentioning it or asking of we wanted another, etc.
But that was a minor annoyance, I suspect we would have been happier downstairs in the main dining room, we'll have to remember to ask for that next time. And I do think there will be a next time, because the food was terrific.
We started with a couple of cocktails, including a perfectly balanced Sazerac, one of the best I've ever had, and I've been making a habit of having them anywhere I can get them!
We also knew things were going to be good when the (excellent) bread was accompanied by a huge stick of butter. I'm embarrassed to think about how much of that we actually went through...
We started with another Crabmeat Salad
, it always sounds like the right thing, and this one was very good, almost three dishes in one: delicate crab, a nice lettuce salad, and spicy, complex deviled eggs.
I'd been reading about the Fried Oysters with Brie
It sounded like an odd combination, and it is. It was very nicely done: the oysters were perfectly fried, seated on some sauteed spinach, a piece of brie cheese melted on top. And I enjoyed it, I'm just not completely sure that I love that array of flavors together. I'm glad I tried it, just not sure whether I'd get it again.
One thing I'll certainly get again, in fact I might make a trip back to New Orleans purely to eat this, is the Smoked Duck
This was almost certainly the best roasted duck I've ever eaten, and I have a hard time resisting duck on any menu. There was an unmistakable, but not overbearing, smoky flavor, and the most incredible texture to both the meat and crisp skin. The fat had rendered down to just a faint whisper of richness, adding flavor and moisture and mouthfeel, but just barely... Both the leg and breast were just mind-bogglingly tender, moist and delicious. I' still dreaming of this duck. The accompaniments, some rather plain noodles and steamed vegetables, were underwhelming, but it really didn't matter, the main attraction was so good.
With Lamb Chops
on our mind from the previous night, we decided to try them here.
And they were very good, not as revelatory as the duck, but very flavorful, and well-executed. What knocked us out about this plate was the hash browns. Yes, simple crusty fried shredded potatoes somehow stole the show from beautifully grilled lamb. There's some sort of simple, familiar seasoning in the potatoes that, along with artful griddling to make them so perfectly crisp, turned them into something special.
So, my dream plate is the duck, with hash browns rather than noodles. I'm definitely asking for that next time, I wonder if they'll do that for me?
A bright, clean Grgich Fume Blanc was a nice companion, perhaps a little light for the lamb, but nice with everything else.
I couldn't leave without trying their famous Lemon Icebox Pie
It lived up to the hype: it's vibrant, tart, sweet, cold, refreshing, yet indulgent. Perfect with a cup of chicory coffee.
I'm already plotting another visit for duck and pie, and anything else will just be a bonus.
6100 Annunciation St.
(warning: www.clancysrestaurant.com is NOT them, although it will come up in Google with their address... )
Edited by philadining, 05 May 2010 - 11:31 AM.