Edit ModuleShow Tags

Jan 21, 200906:16 PM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Lunch at Cuvée Takes the Bite Out of Dinner

I’m a fan of Cuvée and always enjoy the chance to sample the latest and greatest of Chef Bob Iacovone’s creative compositions. The menu is high-end, but Iacovone always finds ways to lighten it with touches of humor and witty allusions to comfort foods. Examples from menus past that come to mind include his Kobe-style Meatloaf, along with his Chicken “Club” Waffle, dressed up with praline bacon, blue cheese and diced apple.

Yet despite being a fan, I don’t get to Cuvée as often as I’d like. Happily, I was able to do so recently and take advantage of its limited lunch service (lunch is served on Wednesdays and Thursdays only). If those days work for you and you’ve got a little time, Cuvée is a real treat and the lunch prices take the sting out of the ones that accompany their dinner.

Iacovone is always tinkering with the menu, but some perennials on it include his Spiced Shrimp Napoleon. In this dish, the loosely-packed jumble of shrimp are split lengthwise, creating more surface area for the tasty white remoulade sauce. A touch of cayenne puts some heat in the background, and frisee and crisp slivers of mirliton add texture and crunch. Also good was an appetizer of Honey-roasted Duck Debris; an arrangement of silver dollar-sized Johnny Cakes, tender duck and diced apple drizzled with rosemary infused Steen’s Cane syrup. Coupled with the honey in the duck, it is a savory appetizer that features a lot of sweetness. For green options, Iacovone’s Chopped Salad goes beyond basic, getting special treatment by way of the inclusion of apples, Danish Bleu Cheese and (thank you) Praline Bacon embedded in a nest of lightly-dressed mesclun.

For entrees, his upgraded Grilled Cheese Sandwich is put together with tangy goat’s milk Boucheron cheese on brioche. Fig and apple butter round out the profile and add some sweetness, which ties in nicely with the sweet brioche. The richness of another entrée, the Cochon Du Lait Cassoulet, is offset by braised greens, whose bitterness balances the unctuous nature of the pork and the velvety texture of the white beans. Also good is his Duck and Chevre Ravioli, punched up with a gastrique, featuring a reduction of orange and fresh thyme. The citrus complements the duck quite well.

Iacovone’s creamsicle ice cream, which conjures up memories of orange push up pops melting in summer heat, is featured in his Triple-Stack Chocolate Moonpie dessert. So while the menu here is accomplished, touches like this make it fun and let the air out of what might otherwise be a stuffy environment.

Tangentially, Ken LaCour and Kim Kringlie, owners of Cuvée (who, prior to Cuvée, joined forces to bring us Dakota on the Northshore), have brought in Iacovone as a partner with Rambla in the International House. Rambla is the leading edge of a new wave of tapas-style restaurants currently sweeping through the area. With this fine group of three restaurants, we may be seeing the evolution of an influential new restaurant group spreading its roots in the New Orleans area.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene


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.




Atom Feed Subscribe to the Haute Plates Feed »

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags