Monday, March 16, 2009


Friday night, long week. Vietnamese, Pizza, or ___? We could not figure out what we wanted. You know the feeling. Then, how about Wolfe's on Dumaine and Rampart. Imposing yet welcoming space, gorgeous bar. Tall columns and impressive windows, banquette running the length of one wall. Begin meal with an absinthe and vodka tonic at the bar and some chitter chatter with Chef Wolfe, settled in.

The menu is divided into appetizers, medium plates, and entrees. Since we were two and only two, we decided to just bounce around the menu and sample. But first let's discuss Chef Wolfe. Tom Wolfe grew up working as Emeril's sous chef for almost a decade. The man knows food and restaurants. The original Wolfe's was on the lakefront. Other restaurants followed and now he has renamed Peristyle, Wolfe's got it? An honest, hardworking man, Chef Wolfe makes each guest feel welcome. He loves talking food, drinking, and hearing stories about the Pope. Naturally we hit it off.

I am not a big fish fan, the food not the band. So the amuse bouche of strawberry cured salmon, creme fraiche and caviar tested my nerves. However, I found myself really enjoying it. The oily density of the salmon was muted by the delightful citrus cure of the strawberry. The creme fraiche, caviar, and Maras Farms sprouts salad added some textural and palate cleansing properties. All photos by Lindsay.

Next up was probably our favorite dish of the night, Sweetbreads. Big chunks of tender glands, cooked perfectly with cubes of potatoes and demi glace. More often then not you find small sweetbreads with more breading than sweetbreading. Not here.

Seared Grade "A" Foie Gras with a berry compote and toast points. Delicious. Now I would have liked to maybe see the berries pureed into more of a sauce, Lindsay liked it the way it was. In talking to Chef Wolfe abou it, I brought this up. His response, "it said compote on the menu, not sauce." Touche. Notice the artistry of restraint in this photo.
Duck rillette salad with radishes and balsalmic glaze. Beautiful plate, the rillette was a little salty, but then again it is rillette. The little rounds of french bread were topped with just scared by the heat brie.
Crabmeat, horseradish mayo, and beet salad with drizzles of olive oil. Classic flavors right there. And it gave me an idea for a dish to try at home once summer comes. Always a good thing to have happen. The salad on top is fennel fronds, some chervil, and parsley.

Ohh and they paired each course with a glass of wine. Which was pretty bad ass. I think they knew I knew Peter. We got drunk. Last course was steak tartare with a fried quail egg, capers, hard boiled egg, parsley, and red onion. I love steak tartare. And what we did not finish, I had them wrap up to put in an omelet the next morning. But of course I forgot it.
The tartare was paired with a complex, earthy Burgundy. We ended up drinking a whole bottle.
Dessert was a cheese course and a green apple and taragon sorbet. The former was served at the proper temperature and the later used herbs deftly to cut through the sweetness of the green apple. After dinner, we sat at the bar drank some Grand Marnier and Nocello and swapped stories with Chef Wolfe and his staff till almost two in the morning, which is one reason why my writing sucks today. The bill for us came to about $80 a person with tax and tip. The night, however, was priceless.

So next time you are wondering where to eat, give Wolfe's a try. Peter and I agree that Chef Wolfe is the most underrated chef in New Orleans. Chef Wolfe will be there cooking your food and giving you the same service given to us, I promise you that.


Hungry Celeste said...

What a LURID color: was the beet & crabmeat dish tasty, or just shockingly pink?

Rene said...

Very tasty. Perfectly cooked beets, sliced about the thickness of a quarter. The crabmeat was a tad salty, but the beets were very sweet, offering a balance.
From what I understand its an old Peristyle dish, from Anne Kearney's days or perhaps pre-Kearney.

Peter said...

I agree with HC on the color of that beet dish, but I'm all for crabmeat with horseradish mayo. Other than that small qualm, everything looked and sounded amazing. Those sweetbreads look absolutely killer.

Anonymous said...

You are a glutton. How do you eat so much when others starve? You should be ashamed of yourself.

Faine said...

Looks badass indeed. I am somewhat appalled I have never heard of this place, ESPECIALLY if they are serving glandular sweetbread goodness. Are the prices nutso?

Crabmeat and beets are an awesome combination in my experience, although yeah, they tend towards lurid horror on the plate.