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Sep 24, 200912:00 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Bayona

Last weekend I had an all-around excellent meal at Bayona and upon leaving had to ask myself why I don’t go there more often. I was surprised to be reminded that it has been around for 18 years as even today it gets mentioned in the same breath as restaurants on the cutting edge.

The restaurant seems both old and new at the same time, partly because of the menu. The left side features the signature dishes, such as Susan Spicer’s Garlic Soup, and the right side gets changed out frequently with such new dishes as an andouille-stuffed rabbit roulade.

In addition, the patio’s charm is timeless, and going into fall, the appeal grows as the weather cools. The dining rooms have undergone renovations, including a cushion-like cladding on some walls that helps mute sound.

I had a unctuous crabmeat, leek and mushroom gratin for an appetizer, which came baked in a flaky puff pasty shell. Another appetizer of seared scallops came with Israeli couscous –– notable for its larger, almost pea-size grains –– which adds a lot of textural surprise. For entrees, the Pacific salmon with choucroute and gewürztraminer sauce is one of the stalwarts on the left side of the menu but one I really enjoy –– the salmon can stand up to its brawny accompaniments. Another special of peppered lamb loin came sliced in medallions with mildly tangy goat cheese and a zinfandel sauce that was declared to be “the best lamb ever.”

For dessert, pastry chef Christy Phebus served up a delicious ricotta cheesecake with a pine nut brittle and blueberry compote, along with a silky chocolate-cherry pot du crème.


 

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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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