Thursday, October 18, 2012
New Orleans, Louisiana
Everyone knows who Emeril Lagasse is and that the man can flat out cook, but it's always a task for his restaurants to live up to his name, now that he's one of these "celebrity chefs." I had the pleasure to dine in the second restaurant he opened in New Orleans, NOLA Restaurant.
This restaurant brings in many of the occasional New Orleans Creole dishes but some may come with a Cajun, Southwestern and even a Vietnamese flare to them.
Our reservation was really late so unfortunately they ran out of their popular Crispy Smoked Duck and Mushroom Boudin Balls. We asked out waiter what his favorite was and he said that he orders Miss Hay's Stuffed Chicken Wings with homemade Hoisin Dipping sauce, every time. We ordered them and were not disappointed in the slightest. They were fried perfectly and once you bite into them, you instantly get the Vietnamese twist to it. This came out of left field for sure, I was expecting some kind of sausage or other kind of stuffing but you could really consider this as a chicken wing dumpling. The homemade Hoisin sauce was delicious as well.
I came here with my aunt in cousins so I was fortunate to try all of their dishes as well. We had Pan Roasted Salmon with Herb Couscous, Ratatouille, Red Chili Raita and Preserved Lemon Butter Sauce. The salmon was cooked just the way we wanted it (more on the rarer side) and everything surrounding it was very flavorful.
I told my visiting family that someone absolutely had to try shrimp and grits, because they haven't had them before. NOLA Restaurant's Shrimp & Grits comes with Sauteed Gulf Shrimp, Grilled Green Onions, Smoked Cheddar Grits, Apple Smoked Bacon, Crimini Mushrooms and Red Chili-Abita Butter Sauce. The grits were nice and creamy as they should be, and I really enjoyed the size and flavor of the shrimp. The Red Chili-Abita Butter Sauce added some heat to it and ...who doesn't love big chunks of apple smoked bacon?
I decided to try the Abita Beer Braised Pork Shank. I was expecting maybe a small portion of cut up pork shank, and not this Fred Flintstone sized piece of meat. I was pleasantly surprised when this got sat in front of me. It comes with Fresh Field Pea Succotash, Housemade Bacon and Sheaux Fresh Farms Okra Sprouts. The pork had a very good braise done to it so every bite around the outside had a very nice sweet caramelization to it. On the inside, it was so tender that you could pull it apart with your fork. The Fresh Field Pea Succotash had a very nice earthy flavor that paired really well with the shank.
And last but not least, dessert. We didn't have enough room to each get something we wanted so we decided to split the Creme Brulee Trio. One was Vanilla Bean with Fresh Berries, the other was Coconut with a Coconut Truffle and the third was Mocha with a Chocolate-Almond Biscotti. They were all pretty rich in flavor, and I really liked how the coconut brulee wasn't overpowering with coconut flavor.
We had a great time here, I really enjoyed the casual-fine dining atmosphere and the food lived up to the Emeril standard. I recommend on making a reservation here if you need a good place to eat in the Quarter.
NOLA Restaurant - 532 St. Louis Street, New Orleans, Louisiana