Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 16, 2012: NOLA Restaurant

NOLA Restaurant in NOLA.
Ah, how great is the influence of Food Network in our daily lives? Without it, I would never have been introduced to just how great pork fat is, or that using the word 'BAM' during cooking somehow makes food taste better. (Thanks to the fact we used to watch "Emeril Live" religiously back when I was in high school.)

We don't know whether any exclamations were made during the preparation of our food today at NOLA, one of chef Emeril Lagasse's three restaurants in the Big Easy; but let's just say there were.

New Orleans Style Crab Cake
New Orleans Style Crab Cake with Spicy
Corn Relish and Crystal Butter Sauce.
Photo courtesy UrbanSpoon.
This was actually Tyler and my third time dining at NOLA, the first being for our first wedding anniversary in 2009 (same night the now-defunct Krewe of Boo rolled through the Quarter); the second being before we saw Lady Gaga on her "Monster Ball" tour at the New Orleans arena.

We sat in a secluded corner of the restaurant's first floor and filled up on an appetizer, three entrees and a dessert for under $80. Not too bad for a semi-fine-dining-tourist-trap restaurant such as NOLA. (Of course, these are lunch prices, too.)

Tyler is obsessed with crab cakes. Well, I say "obsessed." I probably mean... It's one of the few foods he likes across the board... I don't blame him, because how could any dish with the words "crab" and "cake" in the name be bad? So we ordered the 'New Orleans Style Crab Cake with Spicy Corn Relish and Crystal Butter Sauce.'

Considering how spicy the garnishes were, I can only imagine they meant 'Crystal (HOT SAUCE) Butter Sauce.' I'm not complaining. But it did have a very interesting, mustardy flavor. The bacon jam was intriguing, but the pungent mustard flavor kind of overpowered it. No bacon flavor for us. :(

The crab cake had a lot of crab meat in it, which is really the only requirement for a decent-tasting specimen. Tip for those in a group: This may be an $11 appetizer, but there's just one cake on that plate! Moving on...

Our entree selections included: Shrimp and Grits, the NOLA Burger and Grilled Atlantic Salmon.

Shrimp and Grits. Photo courtesy UrbanSpoon.
Tyler gave the burger two thumbs up... A good sign coming from the man who will order a burger at every restaurant conceivable as long as they offer one. It included house cut fries with parmesan cheese on top; I thought that was a great touch.

The Shrimp and Grits were delicious, obviously fattening and had great -- my new favorite word here -- "mouthfeel." It was like eating barbecue breakfast food because of the char on the jumbo shrimp. The crimini mushrooms cooked with applewood smoked bacon sitting in a well of cheddar grits... So amazing. Bacon and mushrooms are definitely a combination I'm going to try outside of a burger sometime soon.

For dessert there was the Warm Ooey Gooey Cake, sort of a mashup of chocolate cake, s'mores and macaroons. There were marshmallows, toasted coconut and coffee ice cream involved. It was completely rich and decadent. We split it three ways... (OK, I ate most of it...)

One other intriguing menu item for another time was a house salad that included marinated grape tomatoes, goat cheese, pistachios and balsamic vinaigrette. All these food items are on my top 100 foods in life list. (Well, I mean I'm sure they would be... The list has yet to be composed actually.) I am going to make this salad at home and report back...

"Milt, look a little happier!"
We had a great time goofing off in our corner of the restaurant as we usually do; and the parking situation to get to NOLA is very hassle-free for being in the Quarter. Park at the Omni Royal Hotel garage valet, then get your card validated. Simple! We were shocked by the number of tourists out today in the heat.

Now we're looking forward to the next adventure which happens to fall on Tyler's birthday weekend! Vote in our poll and let us know where we should eat next... Or leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

(Disclaimer: Winning restaurant may or may not be vetoed by Tyler's actual birthday pick.)

No comments:

Post a Comment