Tuesday, November 2, 2010

First Look: Dominique's on Magazine

Things have been busy on the front. Between real job (lawyering), fake job (blog), other fake job (Hogs for the Cause),  fake real job (offBEAT gig), and real fake job (MVB), I have been as busy as a beehive of activity. Last week Lindsay asked to be taken to dinner, "Someplace new, where you won't know anyone who wants to talk to you." I am not sure, but that may have been a well-placed backhanded compliment.

As you know, restaurants have been opening around New Orleans faster than a speeding Superman. Rue 127 has opened in the old Arabesque space. Both Peter and I went to high school with the chef, Ray Gruezke, so that took Rue 127 out. Haven't been to Oak yet, but was not in the mood for a wine bar scene. Dominique's fit the bill to a T. A new restaurant but run by accomplished restaurant operators, here Dominique Macquet and Maurico Andrade (nee of Emeril's), with a menu that just sounds delicious.

First off the room is well-decorated in whites, creams, and light colored woods. The building, like most along Magazine, is a converted double shot gun. In the center of the room, two old support beams (could be fireplaces) are painted white and adorned with tiny, twinkling tea lights. Plus there is a long booth anchoring one end of the room. Lindsay got to sit in the booth and look out at the room. I sat in the chair and looked at her. We both had great views.

We decided to put together a tasting menu and each picked three appetizers. To begin, Lindsay got the lobster and celery root salad. The lobster exuded the taste of the deep, cold ocean which sets good seafood apart from average, while the celery root provided crunch and carried the basil aioli. A great way to eat lobster if you must. My first course was the pork belly, which benefits nicely from a fennel cure. It is served in a perfect cube on top of a circle of watermelon and with a little bit of demi glace encircling the plate. You pop the whole thing in your mouth, and the result is a cacophony of flavors that all work together in perfect harmony. There is the fattiness of the pork, the anise flavor of the cure, and then a subtle note of sweetness and acid from the watermelon.

Next up, royal red shrimp ceviche and the fried chicken with macaroni and cheese. The fried chicken is a three step process. First, the chicken is poached in duck fat (score). Then it is coated in flour and breadcrumbs and fried gently. Finally, it is roasted. This last step helps to wick away any grease often associated with fried chicken. The waittress pointed this out to us and said, "It is actually a very light tasting fried chicken to keep that figure in check." Obviously she was trying to flatter me. The chicken is served with a little puck of macaroni and cheese whose crusty exterior hid a molten flow of pasta, cream, and cheese. An outstanding dish, in my opinion.

The shrimp ceviche packed a serious acidic punch while the whiskers of habanero brought the heat. What was remarkable is that although there were some strong flavors in this dish, the briny taste of the shrimp was not lost.

Next, tartare. The cool chunks of finely chopped wagyu coated in a slick dressing spiked with a noticeable amount of ginger took this dish in an Asian direction. But a note, is Wagyu necessary here? One of the joys of eating Wagyu, Kobe, etc... is that at a certain temperature the fat softens just a bit into a luxurious indulgence. Not sure that happens with tartare. Regardless, a good take on a bistro classic. Lastly on the savory side came the sweetbreads with chimichurri and pommes puree. I like sweetbreads to be plump and firm, not thin and wispy. Unfortunately these were the latter. The potatoes were magical though.

Desserts were a platter of cheese from St. James Cheese Co., particularly enjoyable was the barnyardy Tomme de Bourdeuax, and a selection of sorbets. The sorbets were a tad icy and syrupy. Good wines as well. With a wine list that is laid out in a simple fashion based on style of wines (Bubbly, Classy Broads, From the Earth, etc...) and priced on the lower end. We had the 2007 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc "Beeswax Vineyard" and the 2007 Jean Louis Tribouley 'Les Bacs' from Languedoc-Roussillon.

Overall, we really enjoyed our night at Dominique's. It fit the bill perfectly for a date night. Great food, lively ambiance, intimate setting, and just the right vibe. Check it out, but don't take my word for it. At the conclusion of the meal, they brought out a shaft of sugar cane adorned with a vibrant blue green tuft of cotton candy. "I'd come back just for this,"" said Lindsay.

Address: 4729 Magazine, New Orleans, Louisiana 70115

1 comment:

frog said...

You should mention prices, if not of each, at least of the whole dinner? I did enjoy the description, especially of the view.