Aug 12, 200912:00 AM
Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene
A great restaurant and a worthy cause
GW Fins' crab ravioli
Jay Forman photograph
Seafood-lovers in New Orleans who have not visited GW Fins are missing out –– the scope of fish offered is more comprehensive than a quality wine list. Chef and co-owner Tenney Flynn’s aim is to be the deep-sea analog to the high-end steakhouse, and his emphasis on seafood is paramount. His menu tracks the best of what is available and doesn’t force lesser-quality ingredients into a slot. Consequently, it changes constantly, though many of the preparation methods (grilled in a wood-burning oven or sautéed and then ladled with a light curry broth, for example) are employed with a rotating cast of finfish. Rounding out the menu are some terrific sides (mashed sweet potatoes with bourbon, bananas and vanilla bean, anyone?).
A recent visit included an amuse-bouche of a salmon mousse quenelle perked up with diced radish, whose clean, sharp flavor cut through the natural fattiness of the fish. Another dish of pompano was smoked over hickory. The assertiveness of the smoke flavor was smoothed out with scoops, slices and chunks of five different melons, including cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew. A new dish of crabmeat ravioli was garnished with delicate sweet pea shoots, and if golden king crab is in season, as it was then, treat yourself to a rare taste of the real deal dressed simply in a light Creole mustard sauce. The sweet taste of the cold-water crustacean will blow you away.
Ray Brandhurst Fundraiser Dinner
On Aug. 15 Le Meritage, in conjunction with the Slow Food Movement, is hosting a fundraising dinner for Ray Brandhurst, a seventh-generation Louisiana shrimper who was recently diagnosed with cancer. A regular presence at the Crescent City Farmers Market, Ray has a wife and two young children and is self-employed, so the local culinary community is rallying around him to raise money for his medical care. Fittingly, the four-course dinner highlights locally caught shrimp in a menu prepared by chef Michael Farrell. The cost is $75 and includes a wine pairing with each course. Call 504-522-8800 for more information. Guests can also enjoy an overnight stay at the Maison Dupuy for $69 per night. To make donations to benefit Brandhurst and his family, checks can be made out to Slow Food New Orleans, annotated "Brandhurst" and sent to P.O. Box 792311 New Orleans, LA 70179
808 Bienville Street
1001 Toulouse Street