Once all that is done, you can get down to eating. First to arrive at our table was a bowl of gumbo which is belongs more to the barbecue world than Acadiana. A smoky chicken carcass, and often a smoked stock, create a broth with the viscosity and complexity of a barbecue sauce. Close your eyes as you take a bite of the rich potion and you might just find yourself dreaming of outdoor cookouts and platters piled high with juicy BBQ chicken and crispy links of sausage.
The boudandouille is a play on sausage en croute with the two most popular sausages of Southwest Louisiana stuffed into a pastry shell. Served with a lavender laced mustard and caramelized onions, the dish failed to assert any one true identity. A much better use of your appetite is with an order of the Oysters Gabie. Traditional baked oysters get a welcome upgrade from a lemony artichoke base. A crispy topping of bread crumbs creates a succulent cocoon for the oysters just to warm up to the idea of being eaten.
Imagine yourself at a duck camp. It is late at night, perhaps the second bottle of bourbon has been breached. People are getting hungry, stories being swamped. Wandering into the kitchen you may find the detritus of some leftover roasted duck, some duck skin, and gravy. In the freezer are some fries. You put two and two together and end up with take on debris fries. Gabrielle elevates that idea with rich duck, crispy duck skin, shoestring, hand cut fries, mushrooms and an orange jolted jus with incredible results.
Or you could go with the plank of drum lightly blackened and served atop an Herbsaint laced spinach dressing. Riding shotgun is a plate of fried oysters. It will become hard to tell where Oysters Rockefeller ends and Blackened Redfish begins. There in all its glorious history is reference to two of the iconic dishes of New Orleans's restaurants. Dishes that went all the way around the world, and yet settle here, harmoniously. But eat the oysters tout suite lest they wilt.
Polish all of this off with a bottle of Cotes du Rhone and a heaping dessert of berries and tender shortcake gilded with a creamy, vanilla topping. On the way out, popping your had into the kitchen will reveal Greg working as expediter, saute, grill, and fry cook. He will be moving furiously but smiling at the opportunity to once again cook his food for people. That sight alone is worth the trip.
Gabrielle: Is It Worth It? Absolutely.
438 Henry Clay Avenue
Dinner is served Thursday - Saturday. Call 899-6500 for a reservation.