Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New Orleans Touristy Tradition (Day 3)

Sunday we wanted to experience a New Orleans tradition, the Jazz Brunch.We chose to dine at Arnaud's. This restaurant is one of the classic style upscale restaurants in the French Quarter. This type of dining seems so out of place in the U.S. more like that of a French Bistro. New Orleans is lucky enough to have several of these old gems. The oldest being Antoine's and the most famous being Galatoire's and Commander's Palace.

I know this is marketed to tourists, but I was surprised at how much fun we had, how good the food was, and how many locals were eating along side our table. Our waiter, who had worked at Arnaud's for 18 years, was outstanding the type of waiter you rarely see anymore. This was not his job, it was his career. He was head waiter and had seen alot in his time at the restaurant. He noted most families in New Orleans only eat out at these institutions for special occasions. I can see why at this price point you can't do this every weekend. However, a huge family of locals celebrated a birthday at the next table with tons of oysters and multiple bottles of Dom Perignon!  

 We sat and enjoyed the atmosphere of the grand old dining room while being serenaded by a three piece jazz band. The men roamed table to table taking requests and playing old songs for the room. We had no less than 4 wait staff of various levels attending to our every need. This was a restaurant experience you dont really have anymore.   The Sunday menu is pre-fix of four courses with the price determined by your entree choice. You get an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. For our first course, we had the shrimp bisque and the classic shrimp Arnaud. The shrimp were poached and served in a spice remoulade atop a fresh tomato.

The salads featured the house dressing and were the perfect way to clean our palates and prepare for the entree. We chose the crab cakes and the savory crab meat cheesecake. The crab cakes were perfect lump crab lightly breaded and sauteed. They were a perfect balance of flavor and texture.    

The cheesecake was amazing. This is one of the signature dishes. We hesitated to order concerned about being overwhelmed by the flavor or the richness, but it was more like an extremely rich quiche. The crust was light and flaky. I would have eaten two pieces!  

For dessert we couldn't help but order the bananas foster made table side old school style. This was fun to watch and melted in our mouths.

Its hard to eat here and not have a drink or two. The bar at Arnaud's is known as the French 75 Bar. We had to try one. They were great! We also took advantage of the brunch theme and had a few Bloody Marys as well. I am sure it has changed from the old days and sure it is something that lots of tourists do, but the Jazz Brunch experience is not to be missed. We spent almost three hours enjoying our drinks the music and the meal. We strolled out to roam the antique stores on Royal street with a slight champagne buzz. Now that is a perfect Sunday!  

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