Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Short Order Reviews

Bistreaux - After striking out with my first dozen choices for lunch for a party of 12 on a rainy Saturday, the casual dining option at the Maison Dupuy was the winner by default, in part because I had enjoyed a solid special event lunch at Le Meritage a few months before. But while Le Meritage aims high with lofty aspirations, Bistreaux seems to be a utilitarian option for hotel guests, with a menu that includes beef carpaccio, spaghetti and meatballs, red beans and rice, pizza, steak frites, and bangers and mash. Truffle french fries were an adequate delivery system for much needed grease and nothing more. The cochon de lait sandwich was as dry as the Mojave desert, and burgers had both the texture and appearance of hockey pucks. A glimmer of hope arrived in the fried oysters - plump, crunchy, golden brown globes - but by that time the ship had already sailed. - Bogey.

Manhattan Omelette at Camellia Grill.
Camellia Grill - Surprisingly, this may be the best kept breakfast secret in the Quarter. While the crowds hover outside Stanley for up to an hour before being seated, the staff at Camellia Grill are burning and turning every 30 minutes. The Manhattan omelette is the cure for everything that ails you – chunks of corned beef, swiss cheese, onions, and french fries folded in a creamy base with a browned exterior. Throw some cheese on the fries, of course. Even though you can now find better burgers around town with a blue blood pedigree, I am still a sucker for the classic diner version served here. The waiters still execute their duties with a sense of flair and congeniality which has always been a trademark of the original location in the Riverbend, except that the waiters in the French Quarter score extra bonus points for their ability to offer a hair of the dog along with your pecan waffle. - Par/Birdie.

Origami - Sushi was an inevitable addition to the Freret Street dining scene, and here it appears in an impressive renovation of the former location of Friar Tuck’s on Freret Street. (Not to be confused with the original location of Friar Tucks at the corner of Carrollton and Canal - RIP.) The interior is sleek with plenty of light colored woods and white chairs, counters, and table tops. We grabbed two seats at the sushi bar and immediately recognized one of the chefs from a past sushi life, and after opening the menu and reading through the list, I had to do a double take of my surroundings to make sure that I was not in Little Tokyo or Kyoto. The menu at Origami features a combination of the greatest hits from both, including the FEMA Roll from Little Tokyo and the Sara Roll from Kyoto, plus all of the standard fare. The execution of all of the sushi was adequate, and the fish was of reasonable freshness. There are a few twists and turns here and there, such as whole crab stick and teriyaki tempura in the Crunchy Roll and 100% tuna in the Dynamite Roll. Prices are neither significantly higher nor lower than anywhere else. Perhaps the most appealing feature of the restaurant is the refined, "grown up" atmosphere in contrast to the cozy/cramped style of Kyoto and high volume of the hibachi sideshow at Little Tokyo on Carrollton. - Par.


Pontchartrain Pete said...

Thank you for the validation, Peter. I cannot tell you how much grief I caught from all corners of the Twitter when I recently pronounced my profound fondness for the Camellia Grill bacon cheeseburger. It always hits the spot.

The Camellia Grill is a very easy seat to get and extremely reasonably priced for the Quarter.

Anonymous said...

heres the question on the sushi: do they laden all their rolls w/ gross imitation crabmeat w/ mayo? that seems to be the status quo in these parts.

Wasabi goes so far as to make their "Snow crab Roll" entirely imitation crab (pollock, etc). no opilio snow crab whatsoever. bleh.

Peter said...

Pontchartrain Pete,

Sometimes you just want a greasy diner cheeseburger and don't care that the beef doesn't come from Pat LaFrieda. And I completely agree with you re: the easy seat and reasonable prices at Camellia in the Quarter. Let's hope it stays that way.


You are correct in that the standard "snow crab roll" in New Orleans uses crab stick, a/k/a the faux crab meat made from scraps of white fish. Most New Orleans sushi restaurants mix the crab stick with mayo, but at Origami they use the whole crab stick sans mayo.

I don't think that I have ever seen opilio snow crab on sushi menus around town. Some do serve the local blue crab meat, and you can tell that it's the real stuff because one roll will run you about $12.

Thanks for the comments.

O said...

Daiwa is the best new sushi place in town, and their non-sushi entrees are just as good. Too bad it's on the WBank.

Anonymous said...

peter - sad thing is even the fake crab will run about the same. seriously, i ordered Wasabi's ~$14 "Snow Crab" speciality roll and got grocery store imitation crab meat. same junk they and every nola sushi joint ive been to puts in the majority of their rolls as filler...

its weak. i spent a few years on the west coast and appreciate fresh rolls w/ (gods forbid!) finely chopped vegetables w/ my fish. its a skill. one that is lacking, imo.

Martin said...

You guys must be young. The original Friar Tucks was on Claiborne.