Jot this down in your travel notebook, your vacation planner, your dream journal, or last year's Jazz Fest ticket: reserve a table for Sunday brunch at Patois next time in New Orleans. If you're into local, good, and hidden, Patois is your dream spot. The brunch menu (not to mention the dinner version) is so good, you'll spend about 15 minutes deciding what to order while you're nibbling the biscuits and muffins from the bread bowl. We looked over many brunch menus before deciding to meet up at Patois, and I think it was one of the best brunches we've had in the city.
Paul and I have eaten at Patois three times now; the first dinner was two years ago, and we instantly fell in love. Not only did we have amazing food, we had the best waitress ever--I think her name is Jody, if I remember correctly. I didn't see Jody there last Sunday, but I'm happy to report that my very favoritest dish I've had at Patois, the Sizzling Octopus, is still on the dinner menu. I recommend this dish wholeheartedly, and I wish I had a photo to share, because it's a bright mosaic on a plate: dark magenta baby octopus, black olives, green mint, and rosy radishes. Ah, swoon!
Patois has a lot of rabbit on its menu, including the brunch version: rabbit and andouille gumbo, with an extra-dark roux, and fried Mississippi rabbit, which Paul ordered (I tried it--fantastic). The octopus doesn't make it onto the brunch menu (too early for most folks, I guess), but there are still so many delights. The seasonal soup was pumpkin with lump crab and pumpkinseed pesto. You know I was all over that one.
Paul slurped up the Moules Frites, served in a savory, tomatoey broth. Anyplace offering a good bowl of mussels & fries will eventually be visited by Paul, by the way. He's magnetically attracted to them.
Then, there were the Grits and Grillades (slow-cooked, thinly pounded veal), a classic dish you'll find on most New Orleans brunch menus, but Patois makes it so much richer and darker. The gumbo was just as dark as the grillades gravy:
I had the very cute sauteed chicken breast (pictured at top), glazed with a sweet, sticky sauce, over black-eyed pea succotash and some fried okra. I loved the earthiness of the succotash against the sweet syrupy glaze. Kind of like chicken and waffles got an extreme makeover.
Patois really understands what people want: we, the people, want everything to be really, really good--not just sometimes, not just mostly. Always. I've had three stellar meals there, and I'm going back for more.