Since moving to New Orleans, we've had lots of visitors--close friends, family, high-school buddies, friends of friends--and they all want good food. It's one of the main reasons people come here: the food. You know you're gonna get it, and you know it'll (usually) be really good.
The question of where to go for it has been an ongoing project for the past two years--taking photos, notes, writing reviews, compiling lists so we'd have a good base of places to suggest to visitors, whether we were accompanying them or not (the list is kept here, online, so I won't lose it). During our first year, we ate out in as many different places as our budget allowed, but stuck mostly to the mid-priced restaurants in our neighborhood; one of those places was Boucherie, in the Riverbend.
I haven't been to Boucherie in about a year, since we moved to mid-city. But our friend Jonah was visiting this weekend, and we took him there for dinner on Saturday night--one of the best dining decisions possible to make in the city. The food is so good there, and the prices are so appetizing, I just want to eat everything they offer. It made me remember the first time I ate there and tried one of their famous "grit fries"--I wish I had a photo to show you, but that was back when I consistently forgot the camera--and realizing that Boucherie was a restaurant of innovation, but the decisions made about the food were smart, consistent, and tempered. I knew I would be back again and again, and I was guessing that I'd experience a similar pleasure at other restaurants. I was right. I'd put Patois, La Petite Grocery, and Dante's Kitchen in the same league with Boucherie, but Boucherie wins overall because their prices are the most lovable.
I'm gad I can share photos from this visit:
goat cheese and eggplant terrine with a homemade chappati and beet root mustard
watermelon and creole tomato gazpacho with tuna ceviche--this was so perfect and refreshing--highly recommended!
steamed mussels with collard greens and grit "crackers"--mussels go with greens so well, and make such a delicious broth, I don't know why every place doesn't serve them this way. Let's start a law.
seared tuna over a basmati rice fritter and sweet-and-sour okra, bordered by an Indian-inspired spicy sauce
smoked scallops atop creamy maque choux and oil-cured peppers--my favorite plate of the evening. The scallops were seasoned expertly and the maque choux was rich rich rich.
This experience has also made me feverish to try places that have been on my list for too long. Tell me what you know about them:
Green Goddess--the menu is a bit like a mystery novel but I hear great things about the food
EAT--looks simple but promising
One--I've heard it's good, although the menu looks like it might be trying too hard to be filling gourmet expectations. We'll see.
Mondo--I just really really really really want to go there.
Now--what am I missing? Tell me what other places are good and not overpriced and would make me really happy I went there. I'll totally give you props.