Mar 23, 201711:50 AM
Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene
An Opening on Oak and a Closing on Baronne
I get a lot of requests for restaurant recommendations. Sometimes those requests come from people I know, and sometimes from complete strangers. I do my best to respond fully, but I can’t always spare the time to go into great detail. I think most people understand that, and don’t hold it against me.
I mention this because I have a couple of friends from college coming into town in a few weeks, and they’re pretty sophisticated diners. I have no problem recommending restaurants, and I don’t feel any guilt if someone has a bad meal at a place I’ve suggested. Every restaurant has off nights, and sometimes I make recommendations to people I don’t know very well who could be devoid of taste. But I do want to give my friends the best possible experience while they’re here.
Speaking of which, I first got a taste of Chef Carl Schaubhut’s food when he was running the kitchen at Café Adelaide, in the Loew’s hotel on Poydras Street. I remember being impressed by the overall polish of the food. He had come to Café Adelaide from Commander’s, and he’s also one of the two chefs (with Jeanne Pierre Guidry) who opened Bacobar, in Covington a few years ago.
I’ve only tasted a couple of appetizers at the DTB, but both were very good. Chef Schaubhut sent out an order of the mushroom “boudin” balls that come with a smoked-tofu mayonnaise and pickled collard greens.
I also tried the cauliflower rillettes, which come as a disk of fairly dense cauliflower and brie mousse, with a fennel-raisin preserve spread on top and garnished with an herb and pea shoot salad. Is it rillettes? No. Was it tasty? Yes, and I’d order it again.
Despite the fact that I’ve had very limited exposure to the place, I was impressed enough that I’ll be recommending the place to my friends when they come to town. I’ll make that recommendation not only because the place was well laid-out, the menu was interesting, the drink program is run by a consummate pro (Lu Brow), but because DBT seems to me to be the sort of place you take people from out of town if you want them to get both the spirit of our local food and the inventive approach they might otherwise be used to when it comes to fine dining.
I am a bit sad that I had to cut a sentence that included the phrase, “culinary milieu,” from my discussion of DTB, but not as sad as I am that Cleaver & Co. has, at least for the time being, shut down its shop on Baronne Street. I did not shop there frequently, but each time I went, I came out with something delicious. About eight months ago, I picked up a piece of “Wagyu” beef sirloin that I cut into strip steaks. This meat was so good that it was almost impossible to screw it up. I think I took the steaks to medium, rather than the medium-rare temperature I prefer. But when I tasted the meat? Far too good for mortals.
There are other sources for that kind/grade of meat, and I will visit them, but I’m sorry to see Cleaver & Co. fold its brick and mortar doors.