New Orleans: Emeril’s (Mar. 2013)
Author: Victor and Monte
Restaurant: Emeril’s New Orleans
Owner: Emeril Lagasse
Chef de Cuisine: David Slater
Date: March 18, 2013
I love Emeril Lagasse. When I was 14, I’d flip on the Food Network to watch this jolly chef on television teach people how to cook and demonstrate how fun food can be. He was the first celebrity chef to introduce me to cooking. I’m glad we were able to stop by this restaurant and try the fantastic food.
To note, Emeril has done a lot of great work for the city of New Orleans, especially after Katrina. I remember watching No Reservations and Emeril’s appearance on it included a quote ” It’s easy to leave. It’s not so easy to stay and rebuild it. That’s what we’re doing.” This restaurant was one of the first to open after the hurricane and Emeril helped fundraise a lot of money to rebuild the city. The chef recently won the James Beard award for Humanitarian of the Year for his foundation that helps struggling youths find career opportunities in the culinary industry. More about it can be read here.
Monte and I planned on eating a lot today, so we came prepared to order quite a few appetizers and entrées. I ordered everything listed below and got “both salmons”, which the waitress thought meant two barbecue-glazed salmon dishes. (I meant that I wanted one order of the barbecue-glazed salmon and one order of the salmon pastrami.) Anyway, the waitress kept on telling us that it would be a lot of food and that we wouldn’t be able to finish it. Naturally, I took this as a challenge and ordered everything anyway, deciding that we would also eventually order dessert as a matter of principle hahaha.
When the entrées came, we had two barbecue-glazed salmon courses instead of one barbecue-glazed salmon and one salmon pastrami. I started to tell the waitress about the misunderstanding, and her initial response was to smirk and say, “You guys wanted all this, right?” She totally wanted to prove us wrong.
Of course we wanted a lot of food! We explained the misunderstanding, however, and she promptly replaced one of the barbecue-glazed salmon dishes with a salmon pastrami one. Of course, we finished everything…. very quickly. The food was just so dang good! After finishing all the entrées, we made sure to make a point out of ordering dessert hahaha. Quite a few staff members came around and told us that they were impressed with how much we could eat.
It makes me wonder, though. We really didn’t eat THAT much food. I guess people in New Orleans just don’t eat as much? I don’t think people in NYC would have batted an eye at the amount we ordered… Hmm.
This was a GREAT lunch to start the day. It was one of my favorite meals in March. The food was great, the service was good, and we left our mark. SUCCESS!
We sat near an open view of the kitchen, which was surprisingly calm and quiet.
Left: Sweet focaccia
Right: Sweet potato roll
Monte: I wasn’t expecting much but the bread service was excellent. The corn bread and roll were both full of flavor. The focaccia had this perfect crunchy top with a soft sponge-like interior that just gave way to the bite and bounced back up. It was a great way to start the meal.
Home-Made Andouille and Boudin Sausages
with Southern-Cooked Greens, Beer-Braised Onions, Whole Grain Mustard and Emeril’s Worcestershire Sauce
Monte: The andouille was spicy and porky but wasn’t the main star because oh my god the boudin just stole the show and ran away with it. I haven’t had many boudins in my life but I could tell this was one fantastic sausage. It was soft, creamy, sweet, and had a mild meaty flavor. The texture and flavors of it almost made me think I was eating a foie pate. If only all sausages tasted like this one.
with Burrata Mozzarella, Olive Salad, Molinari Sopressata, Arugula Pesto, and Citrus Vin Cotto
Monte: I’ve tried the original muffaletta at Central Grocery, and thought it was a good sandwich but not worth all the hype. I’d rather have a philly cheesteak or a NYC pastrami sandwich over the original muffaletta. BUT this rendition of the muffaletta was amazing, and is something I would certainly boast as a local triumph. The creamy soft cheese, spicy and porky sopressatta, garlicky pesto, mild olives and crunchy bread all combined to create a symphony of flavors in the mouth. A lot of the time, I think cold cut sandwiches can be somewhat replicated at home. This one though, has some magical secret that will probably prevent me from making it as well at home.
Truffled Gulf Shrimp “Louis”
with Iceberg Lettuce, Asparagus, Smoked Bacon, Chopped Egg, and Louisiana Citrus
Monte: I’m not sure if Victor and I have ever actually ordered a salad at a restaurant. We don’t eat a lot of leaves when we’re eating out. This one was pretty good though, with a dressing that had a great sweet shrimp flavor profile without any residual salty or briny or fishy notes.
with Grilled Vegetables, Shoestring Potatoes, Glazed Pecans, and Creole Meunière Sauce
Monte: I’m not an expert on cajun/creole cooking, but this dish embodies what I think cajun/creole cooking should be. The smokey, peppery, and spicy flavors were all pretty powerful without overwhelming the dish. The nutty pecan and sweetness of the meuniere sauce added to the depth of complimentary flavors to the tender drum and rounded out this wonderful dish.
with Corn-Fried Tomatoes, Watermelon Preserves, And Cole Slaw
Monte: A pretty southern dish conceptually, and executed very well. The fried green tomatoes felt unnecessary taste-wise, in the sense that it didn’t add that much to the dish other than a crunch. The mahi mahi flaked well though, and I loved the sweet peppery sauce and slaw.
Sweet Barbecue-Glazed Salmon
with Andouille Potato Hash, Crispy Onions, and House-Made Worcestershire
Monte: This dish was much more one-dimensional than the other dishes, but it was damn tasty. The sweet barbecue sauce just overloads the dish and each bite is barbecue flavor heaven, with the sweet crunchy onion rings to boot.
Emeril’s Salmon “Pastrami”
on Toasted Sesame-Sea Salt Bagel with Shaved Red Onions, Fresh Tomato, and Caper-Mascarpone Shmear
Monte: This pretty much tasted like how it sounds. The flavors of cured salmon and pastrami were just melded into one dish. It was really creative, although the bagel was kind of dense and filled me up. Then again, we had allllll the other dishes that had filled me up too haha.
Emeril’s Banana Cream Pie
Graham Cracker Crust, Caramel Sauce, and Chocolate Shavings
Victor: This was the best banana cream pie that I’ve had in my life… by far.
Monte: A great way to end the meal. The pie was sweet without being overly so, and the banana flavor was really refreshing. The chocolate and caramel just added some extra decadence. We ate a lot, but it’s easy to eat a lot when the food is good. BAM!!!!! :]