Jul 28, 201108:51 AM
Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene
Redemption, New Orleans Style
Photo by Jenny Sklar
A few months back, after eating a delicious scoop of pistachio gelato from Angelo Brocato’s, I drove past what I thought was a spectacularly beautiful church. The building seemed to be glowing orange right before my eyes. Once a church, and later Christian’s Restaurant, the century-old building is now Redemption Restaurant.
Recently, I finally had the opportunity to see Redemption from the inside. I chose to go for lunch instead of dinner because I heard better things about their lunch menu. The glowing light that I had seen beaming out of the orange stained glass windows months before was now coming into the restaurant at full force. During the day, everything in the restaurant is tinted yellow; as soon as you walk in you feel like you are in a sepia scene from a film noire set. Between the stained-glass windows, the old church architecture and the reupholstered pews that now act as booth benches, it is hard to miss that this building was once a church.
Redemption serves “Orleans Revival Cuisine” giving a little modern twist to age-old classics like gumbo, BBQ shrimp and grits, and crawfish étoufée. A large portion of their menu is devoted to seafood items (owners Tommy and Maria Delaune also own Tommy’s Seafood, a local seafood processing and distribution company).
On the recommendation of the waiter, I started with a rather large appetizer of “Prawns del Lago,” which is jumbo (and I mean huge) shrimp stuffed with crabmeat and served with Creole tartar sauce over a bed of miniature sweet potato chips. These gargantuan shrimp were panko breaded, fried and pleasantly crunchy, if slightly reserved in terms of letting the fresh seafood flavors come through. I also managed to find an errant shell or two—but, on the whole, the dish was very pleasing.
Their special of the day was comprised of superbly pan-seared redfish, topped with pecans and served with green beans on top of a mouth-watering heap of mushroom risotto. Every part of this dish was fantastic. Nothing was over- or undercooked. The seasoning was spot-on, allowing the redfish itself to be the star of the dish. It was on par with the best redfish preparations from all walks of the city’s kitchens.
The “Lamb Lollipops” were comparatively lackluster, a bit fatty (even for lamb) and slightly undercooked. Curious at the discrepancy, I did a little research and it turns out their original chef, Michelle Matlock, recently left the restaurant, and the kitchen is enduring the growing pains phase of adapting to new leadership. But in the final analysis, Redemption is definitely on the right track.
If you would like to try Redemption out for yourself, they are open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and for jazz brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Call (504) 309-3570 to make a reservation.