Guess what? I had a really good meal for my first birthday as a New Orleans resident (surprise, surprise). We went to a great little place in our neighborhood, Mat and Naddie's, which our neighbor Mark has been telling us we should visit for months. Mark was right--this place is a gem. I'm so glad it's in our neck of the woods.
The only cocktail I ever want to drink during a stifling New Orleans summer: the Pimm's Cup. I've been trying these at different locations to find my favorite. Mat and Naddie's was smooth, so I don't think they use ginger ale or 7-Up...maybe lemonade? The cucumbers always make me happy.
A nice sampling of olives, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, and fresh mozzarella to nibble. Everything was marinated in olive oil and herbs.
This photo doesn't do justice to these fantastic oysters, on the menu as "Grilled Oysters with Brie Cream and Shiitake 'Bacon.'" That's right--they make a "bacon" out of sliced shiitake mushrooms, I can only guess, by cooking it low and slow in a skillet until it intensifies its shiitakiness and dries out a little, like a mushroom jerky. Or maybe this happens in the oven. There's also a little garlic and pecorino-romano action going on here.
My fabulous entree, "Spicy Tempura Fried Gulf Shrimp Tonkatsu." This is one of the most exciting dishes I've had in New Orleans. The shrimp are butterflied and coated in a light tempura batter, and somehow remained outside-crispy and inside-silky the whole time I was loving this dish. I didn't know what Tonkatsu meant, so I asked the waiter if this was a good item to order, and he said it was one of the best things on the menu, which I totally believe. Apparently, Tonkatsu is a Japanese combination of fried pork served with something crunchy, like cabbage, and a sweet-spicy sauce. Mat and Naddie's serves their seafood version with a fresh bok choy slaw, sticky jasmine rice, and a sauce--it's one of the best sauces I've ever tasted--of red chile and a deep, complex sweetness, maybe plum, maybe lemongrass, a small piece of sun for brightness, a drop of dew from the Garden of Eden? I will meet this sauce again.
Paul's "Grilled Filet Mignon with Smoked Marrow Compound Butter." Nice. It looks like Paul was eating in another restaurant because this photo was taken with flash. But he wasn't! He was sitting across the table from me! Thank goodness, because I really wanted to taste this, and he was kind enough to let me. Rosemary steak fries (not too exciting), but (continuing from the menu description) "wilted greens and a Maytag blue cheese and bacon buerre rouge." ?!? Please, sir, I'd like some more. While the potatoes were a little too basic to stand up to the rest of the plate, the rest of the plate was divine: a smart combination of beefy, winey, tart, creamy, burgundy, and leafy.
Sorry to say we couldn't squeeze in a dessert to show you. I would've done it too, because I was so impressed with everything else I ate that night. To all my friends: come visit already, so you can go here too!