Commander’s Palace (update), New Orleans, 3/21/22

exterior – 1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

It’s been almost 7 years since I’ve been to Commander’s Palace.  The last meal was so disappointing I haven’t wanted to go back but enter Chef Megan “Meg” Bickford, who has worked in the kitchen since 2008 but in Oct. 2020 became Executive Chef, following the 18 year reign of Tory McPhail.  She has livened it up and tonight’s meal was the best I’ve ever had at Commander’s.   It has been in the Garden District since 1893 and is still owned by members of the Brennan family.  Chefs such as Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse have worked there to present leading-edge haute creole cuisine.  The large building has a patio/bar area in back which is overlooked by the upstairs Garden Room.  Downstairs is a more traditionally elegant room.  Service was great, attentive and friendly – something its struggled with in my past visits.

Facility

Frankie shared restaurant details
exterior
kitchen
kitchen
kitchen
bar
patio
patio looking at bar and garden room above
fountain in patio
downstairs dining
interior
Frankie posed with table decoration
menu cover
menu

 

Food

Our table was not ready when we arrived and so we got to walk through the kitchen and look around the pretty patio adjacent to the bar.   When seated they started off with a nice touch of bringing a black napkin to replace the white one on the table if you had on dark pants.  Then comes their famous garlic bread to munch on while you look over the menu.  It was hot and totally coated with chopped garlic and butter.  It was great.

garlic bread
wine
Frankie admired the charger plate

 

The Crawfish Boil Corzetti contained Breaux Bridge crawfish tails, hand stamped herbed pasta, crawfish boiled vegetables and grilled artichoke hearts in a spiced vichyssoise with sweet potato crisps.  It had a bit of spice with tasty fresh corn. The fried crisps added a fun texture and taste component to the yummy dish.

Crawfish Boil Corzetti
closer
Frankie wanted to engage

 

A fresh loaf of New Orleans style bread and whipped butter came with it.  This is good alone but even more important to use to mop up the rich, flavorful sauces on the dishes. Another part of what made the evening so special was the visit with Manager LaVita Bryant who made it her mission to stop by and visit with every table and check and see if all was going well.  It’s little touches like this that make the evening special.

bread presentation
bread and butter
Super friendly and happy Manager LaVita Bryant and Frankie

 

The Pecan Crusted Fish was sheepshead that evening.  It came with prosecco poached jumbo lump crab over spiced pecan crusted fish, roasted corn, asparagus, grilled kale and melted leeks with whiskey spiked crushed corn cream. The perfectly cooked fish came with lots of wonderful crab meat, some radish slices, kale, corn and delicious pecans.  This had tons of flavor and texture and was an incredible dish.  The fish used changes regularly.

Pecan Crusted Fish
closer
turner
Wonderful Captain Jade Armand and Frankie

 

Commander’s Bread Pudding Soufflé has all the richness of Creole bread pudding  whipped up into a light soufflé and finished tableside with warm whiskey cream.  This has always been my favorite dessert here and this one didn’t dissappoint.  It’s yummy goodness is pushed to another level when the rich creamy sauce is added to the hot souffle.  It’s sticky sweet and not to be missed.  (It must be ordered 20 minutes ahead, which our wonderful server took care of).

Bread Pudding Soufflé
adding sauce
Frankie swooned

 

Ponchatoula Strawberry Shortcake featured Johndales Farm strawberries dusted in cane sugar over a warm buttermilk biscuit with Chantilly cream. The very flavorful strawberries were on the bottom and topped with the Chantilly cream and then the luscious biscuit.  All parts were excellent.  This was an amazing version of strawberry shortcake.  Simple, yet done exceptionaly well.  It too must be ordered ahead as the biscuit is baked to order.  Yum x2.

Ponchatoula Strawberry Shortcake
turned
Frankie liked the ladies room door

13 thoughts on “Commander’s Palace (update), New Orleans, 3/21/22

  1. I’d be hard put to name a restaurant I’ve liked more. thanks for your post!

    1. You’re so welcome! I’ve been on and off with this one for awhile but the new chef has made it a great place again. Times back I was stuck on them for the .25 martinis at lunch! Can’t do that as well anymore. Lol!

  2. Thanks for the update. The last time I went was unspectacular (under previous BoH) and I nearly died under the previous, rigid dress code regime…

      1. I hope to get down there soon. I was going to apply for a job down there but I realised my liver would last about 4 months! 😀

  3. I went there maybe 30 years ago and the service and food was impeccable. I didn’t go again until 2019 and wouldn’t have thought it was the same place. It was very disappointing.

      1. I had dined at Antoine’s not long before and also was disappointed. When I posted my Commander’s report a good friend of mine who’s also a lifelong New Orleans foodie said she feels a lot of these old New Orleans restaurants are getting by just on their name. I agreed. But I can tell you that’s not the case with Brennen’s on Royal St. Or Arnaud’s on Bienville. Be sure to give them a try next time you’re in New Orleans.

      2. Brennen’s was wonderful one time in recent past and just okay the next time. Different chefs both times I think. I agree with your friend that many of the old timers are making on their reputation, except Galatoires that continues to put out consistent quality seafood. Their other proteins are iffy. Maybe it all depends on the day you go!

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