Aug 12, 200912:00 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

For seafood-lovers

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

Contact Info   

GW Fins
808 Bienville Street
504-581-FINS
www.gwfins.com

Le Meritage
1001 Toulouse Street
(504) 522-8800
www.lemeritagerestaurant.com
 

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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

about

Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived here his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.

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