Commander’s Palace has been on this blog several times, but this time we were back for lunch. The menu is smaller and cheaper and they still off 25¢ martinis which come in several variations. No wonder they had a good crowd but it also turned out to be KingsDay, which is the start of Carnival Season and so there were tables of people dressed and ready to start the celebrations. It seemed like private parties were being seated upstairs. There is a limit of 3 on the drinks “cause that’s enough” and it truly is. They also have $5 deals on a couple other cocktails. One caveat is that you do have to purchase an entrée. The food was fine but mostly the ambiance won me over this time.
Everyone starts with some warm garlic bread slices. This time they were not piping hot and the bread was a tad dry even though it was drenched with butter. It usually is better than this.
They also bring a loaf of New Orleans style bread and softened butter to your table. It was fine but un-needed.
Caramel apple glazed pork belly was crispy pork belly with a tart and crisp salad of spiced New Roads pecans and Granny Smith batons, sweet potato creamed stone ground grits and finished with a lacquer of sticky smoky caramel apple cider jus. The pork was tender and good and the grits slightly sweet with the addition of sweet potatoes. The apples were cut into thin strips about the size of the scallion pieces. It was tasty.
Shrimp and Tasso Henican contained wild Louisiana white shrimp, tasso ham, pickled okra, sweet onions, five pepper jelly and Crystal hot sauce beurre blanc. This was our server’s wife’s favorite thing to get so we figured, give it a try. The pepper jelly was very good with the plump moist shrimp while the ham added a touch of savoriness to the dish. This plate had tons of flavor. It was interesting that the okra had no slime to it after the pickling process.
Seared fish “Haute Creole’ is sea salt-lemon butter poached redfish over warm salad of spicy and bitter autumn greens, bruléed shallots, confit fingerling potatoes and Louisiana satsumas. There were a number of nice sized perfectly cooked fish on the plate. Some of the potatoes could have used a minute more of cooking but the rest all went together well.
Wild White Shrimp and Grits contained toasted garlic and lemon seared Gulf shrimp with roasted peppers, sweet onions and grilled kale over stone ground grits with charred red pepper paint and New Orleans style barbeque butter. The huge shrimp did taste like they had barbecue sauce on them. It had a few vegetables thrown in but basically it’s their version of shrimp and grits. I liked it better than others I’ve had since it did have more spiciness.
Ponchatoula Strawberry shortcake was made with the first of the season Louisiana strawberries marinated in sweet strawberry puree with a warm fluffy buttermilk biscuit, powdered sugar and Chantilly cream. These strongly flavored berries were cut into bite-size chunks in their juice. They melded into an amazing biscuit that was sweet and buttery and then to top it with cream – this was a plate of heaven. Delicious.
They call Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé “The Queen of Creole Desserts.” It is finished tableside with warm whiskey cream. It has long been a favorite of mine but the quality varies. Today’s was an average rendition, very good. sweet with great texture but the strawberries were the favorite dessert of both of us.