New Orleans, Louisiana
In the city of New Orleans, Commander's Palace is known to be one of the best landmarks for fine dining since 1880. Just recently, the James Beard Foundation crowned their head chef as The Best: South for 2013.
On this occasion, I dined with my family for a three course Sunday brunch.Something that is great about Commander's are the seating options around the restaurant. There are multiple rooms with different themes, that you may request upon your reservation. Our table was in the Garden Room, overlooking the courtyard. There is also a jazz trio that plays every Sunday brunch, and they are open to song requests as well!
First, the waitstaff brought us some garlic buttered toast, garnished with some dill. I also ordered a Brandy Milk Punch. It's Brandy with cream, vanilla extract and nutmeg, shaken until frothy. You immediately taste the brandy and the vanilla extract definitely cut away a lot of the dairy taste from the cream and you certainly get a hit of the nutmeg towards the end of every sip.
For my appetizer I chose the Shrimp and Tasso Henican, which was once featured on the cover on Saveur Magazine. It comes with wild Louisiana white shrimp stuffed with tasso (spicy cajun ham) tossed in Crystal hot sauce, served next to pickled okra, a five pepper jelly and garnished with pickled onions.
The shrimp were cooked perfectly and had a very nice kick of heat to it. The tasso that it was stuffed with didn't overpower the flavor of the shrimp but accompanied it with some extra savoriness. The pickled vegetables were delicious as well, and the pepper jelly added a sweet element to it all. My plate was definitely clean after eating it.
This was the Summer Melon Parfait, a plate of sweet Louisiana melons and tropical fruit with a lemony Creole cream cheese mousse, pistachio granola and a honey-rum caramel.
This was easily the lightest appetizer at our table, but one of our favorites. The pistachio granola was great, but joining it with the fruit only made it better. The lemon cream cheese mousse could probably be put on anything and it would taste good, that was definitely the highlight of this plate. Turning it to a mousse made it very light and airy.
For my entree, I chose the Pecan Crusted Drum, topped with prosecco poached Louisiana crabmeat, spiced pecans and a crushed corn sauce.
The fish was done very well; from the drop of my fork I could cut through it all. It stayed juicy and would flake, as it should. The crabmeat was also really tender from being poached and the creamy corn sauce brought it all together.
This was the Blueberry-Sugarcane Lacquered Quail. A Creole cream cheese, apple smoked bacon and jalapeno cornbread stuffed quail over wilted cabbage and blueberry Bocage honey.
The quail was done about as well as any game bird could be done. Nice and tender all around, had a wonderful glaze, and an unbelievable stuffing to go with it. It came with huge chunks of bacon and the blueberry honey added some subtle sweetness as well.
The Creole Eggs Benedict is a 12-hour barbeque spiced pork shoulder over cheddar and bacon biscuits with poached eggs, corn okra chow-chow and a chipotle hollandaise.
This dish was definitely the heaviest from the table. The pork had a good bit of heat to it and the poached eggs with the hollandaise were delicious. Sadly, the flavor of the cheddar bacon biscuits did get a little lost with all the sauce from the pork surrounding it.
For dessert, the Creole Bread Pudding Souffle is a crowd favorite here. They also add a warm whiskey sauce, tableside. Definitely a hefty dessert, but a great play on bread pudding.
I ordered the Louisiana Blueberry Shortcake, this consisted of Ponchatoula blueberries layered in a warm buttermilk biscuit with whipped chantilly cream and a dusting of powdered sugar.
It was a good thing that this dessert was light because I was definitely full from my meal. The biscuit was very light and soft, and the layers of blueberries and chantilly cream made it into a wonderful shortcake.
I highly recommend coming here for a Sunday brunch, the service is so good from top to bottom. Glasses were always full and the waitstaff are as friendly as you can find them anywhere. I wouldn't say this place is flawless, but it is pretty close!
Commander's Palace Restaurant - 1403 Washington Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana