Friday, May 15, 2009

Green Goddess

Full Disclosure: Rene assisted Paul and Chris with the opening of Green Goddess. That should satisfy our journalistic integrity doctrine.

No, not the dressing nor the "medicinal" plant. The new restaurant is the brainchild creation of Chef Chris DeBarr, formerly of (most recently) The Delachaise, and Paul Artigues formerly of Surrey's. This new spot is in Exchange Alley across from the Pelican Club in the space which used to be occupied by Jazz Tacos. It's tiny, with just a handful of tables inside and out on the sidewalk. But the flavors coming forth from the open kitchen are monumental. Chris handles the afternoon-dinner shift, while Paul takes the reins for brunch and lunch. The restaurant should be open soon, but for now here is a sneak peek.

We started with Chris' version of crudités. Asparagus wrapped in serrano and then baked, cauliflower two ways, thinly sliced potatoes crisped in duck fat (wow), gridle-slapped radicchio, fresh radishes, and a "tortilla" of potatoes served with roasted garlic aioli and romesco.

Next came the South Indian Savory Lentil Pancake known as utthappam with tamarind chutney and dal relish. The ingredients may have been beyond my repertoire, but the taste and texture were just plain good.

"Spooky" Blue Corn Crepes with huitlacoche (a corn fungus which Rene has had some experience with before), porcini mushrooms, and brandy ragout. This was spectacular, with a meaty taste without cholesterol.

Crispy baked angel hair with jumbo lump crabmeat, fried shallots, and "confit" of lotus root in a green tea vegetable broth. Great dish overall but the lotus root was not for me as I thought the texture is very fibrous.

Bison meatloaf wrapped in bacon, the best twice baked potato I have ever eaten, and an encore appearance by those serrano wrapped asparagus.

Onto the desserts.

"Saturn Calling" - Chris' favorite dish of black rice pudding floating in a mango sauce.

"Il Budino Giandujo" - Italian for chocolate and hazelnut bread pudding.

Finally, the pièce de résistance: strawberry creme brulee with balsalmic sugar. This was flat out amazing.

As I am sure you can tell, these dishes are chock full of flavors and ingredients which until now were absent from the New Orleans dining. The menu also includes off beat juices such as cashew fruit, lychee, and sugarcane juice.

Green Goddess is something different for the Quarter. A restaurant which doesn't feel any impetus to put red beans and rice, trout meuniere, or cafe brulot on its menu. It is a welcome diversion. Check it out.


Anonymous said...

When is this place gonna open?

Peter said...

I think that they are still waiting on some city licenses before they can open to the public. Hopefully in the next 2 weeks.

Marymagdalene said...

Very, very long, Peter.

Green Goddess said...

Thank you for the kind review. We're opening this week, the week beginning 18th of May. we had delays due to some licenses which we are all sorry about. We had planned on opening at the very start of May. But the time was well used as we have now finished the entire restaurant so we'll have a very comfortable and intimate space for dining for brunch/lunch or dinner. With some small luck we'll be open by May 20-21st. Please call before appearing to make sure. Our phone number is 504-301-3307