New Orleans, Louisiana
Oh sweet victory. I've lived in New Orleans now for about four months and have not visited Jacques-Imo's Café until... now. Shame on me right? Albeit that my first visit was long overdue, I surely made up for it by going with a group of friends and trying a ton of different items from their extensive menu.
Jacques-Imo's is pretty unique compared to many other restaurants. It's rustic and full with New Orleans flare. In the entry way sits a bar decorated all around with paintings of famous buildings and areas in the French Quarter, brass bands and even the Saints quarterback Drew Brees. It's not every day that you get to take a peek into the kitchen, and here you actually get to walk right through it to get to the seating area.
Once you get seated, the hostess greets you with a nice plate of fluffy and buttery corn muffins, garnished with chopped parsley and fresh garlic.
As an appetizer we shared their ever so popular Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake. I have no idea how they make this thing, but it has got to be a must have when you come here. With each bite, you get a some serious flavor from the alligator sausage and a lot of the spices that are thrown in. The shrimp is just some extra lagniappe if you happen to get a piece with your fork full.
Here is another appetizer known as the Eggplant Jacques-Imo's. A tower of perfectly fried eggplant rounds smothered with a nice and creamy oyster dressing and wild mushroom cream sauce. This appetizer was pretty heavy, but also incredibly delicious.
With each entree, you get the choice of two sides. Sides that can range from potatoes in any way possible all the way to, corn maque choux and country greens. Pictured here are four of the sides we chose: the Corn Maque Choux, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Coleslaw and Butter Beans and Rice
First entree was the Tuna with Oysters and Mushroom Sauce. The tuna was sushi grade, had a really nice sear all around the piece of fish and basically raw on the inside. The sauce draped over the top accompanied it very nicely. This picture is only half of the serving. A pretty nice thing that they do here is that if you tell them prior to ordering that it will be shared, they will plate it separately for you.
Here was a major highlight of the night, and it was the Grilled Duck Breast. The duck comes with an orange-soy glaze, shiitake mushrooms and pecans. The duck was cooked medium, and had a little bit of chew to it, but the orange-soy glaze took the cake. It brought a delicious Asian spin to it that unbelievably appetizing. I'm pretty sure you could serve it with any meat and make it taste good.
My entree of choice was the Roasted Boneless Stuffed Quail. You actually get two birds on one plate, and they're both wrapped in bacon. Not only that, they come stuffed with foie gras and served over a bed of nicely cooked mushrooms. Talk about a party in your mouth. The bacon wrapped around the quail gave it some extra fattiness for the meat that's generally lean. It also probably helped it to be very tender; enough to cut through it with your fork. And the foie gras stuffing was so good that they could probably have it served as an entree on its own.
A pleasant surprise was the dessert at the end of our meal. This was a trio of three small Chocolate Cheesecakes, Coconut Bread Pudding and Crème Brûlée. The cheesecake was surprisingly light but had a lot of depth in chocolate flavor. The bread pudding was covered with coconut shavings, but other than that, the flavor of coconut didn't overpower it at all. The Crème Brûlée was excellent. The custard was still nice and evenly chilled, and the torched sugar on top made a world of difference in sweetness and texture.
I highly recommend dining here, if you have the time and money. A ballpark price for each entree is around thirty dollars and certainly worth every penny. Make sure you make reservations ahead of time if you have a group of five or more. They tend to be busy all the time and you could be waiting a good bit for a table.
Jacques-Imo's Café - 8324 Oak Street New Orleans, Louisiana