My wife and I have finally outgrown the apartment we’ve been renting in Mid-City for the last three years. We’re going to miss Mid-City and our neighbors, but we’re pretty happy about the house we’ve purchased in Broadmoor. It’s bigger, it’s got a second bathroom, and the backyard is big enough for a pretty substantial garden.
Shortly after we closed on the house, I picked up some pizza from Ancora
, which is one of my favorite restaurants in town, and as I was sitting at the bar sipping a negroni and waiting on our food it occurred to me that our new house puts us in close proximity to the Freret Street restaurant nexus between Napoleon and Jefferson streets.
In addition to Ancora (which, seriously, I love so much) that block is also home to High Hat Cafe
, Sarita’s Grill and the Wayfare
, which is right up there on my list of top places to get a sandwich in New Orleans. Then there’s Cure, of course, a fairly new joint serving traditionally-made bagels called Humble Bagel
, and the Company Burger
. A little farther down the block are Dat Dog
, Liberty Cheesesteak
, Origami Sushi
and a place I’ve been meaning to visit for quite a while, Mint
I made it to Mint for a quick lunch recently, and while one meal isn’t really enough to fairly judge the place, I was pleased with what I had. I think I decided to start with the bacon and crab Rangoon because of the bacon, and because the atmosphere at Mint suggests they might just be doing something interesting with “classic” dishes even where “classic” means “sort of trashy stuff created in the 50s to sell vaguely Asian food to Americans by adding cream cheese.” The crab Rangoon at Mint is not genre-defining, and there wasn’t a hell of a lot of bacon or crab on evidence, but it was pretty good regardless. When I dipped the fried wontons into the sweet-spicy-tart dipping sauce, I was okay with the relative blandness of the cream-cheese filling. I guess another way to put it is that if you like crab Rangoon, or even if you don’t, this place does some pretty damn good crab Rangoon.
The beef sate vermicelli bowl was better. The dish is simple: thin cuts of chile-marinated beef served over thin rice noodles with cucumber, lettuce, cilantro, chopped peanuts and a shredded carrot pickle that normally is an afterthought, but which in this case I swear had floral notes and was delicious. I missed the beans sprouts that would also normally come with this dish, but apart from that I was very happy with it.
There’s a full bar at Mint, and of course they do craft cocktails because this is New Orleans and it’s 2014. There’s a pretty good selection of beer on tap and in bottles and the wine list is better than you’d expect at a place where the entrée I just mentioned cost all of $8.
Mint is not going to make me forget 9 Roses, Tan Dinh or MoPho anytime soon, but that’s not really a fair measure as those are among the best joints for Vietnamese food in town. I’m happy Mint is in my new neighborhood, though, and I expect to check out the rest of the menu over the next few months.
Incidentally, in the event you, my loyal and generous readers, are interested in sending me a house-warming present, you may make checks payable to Haute Plates Light Industries and Heavy Metal Rock and Roll Company, LLC, we accept dollars, yen, euros and bitcoin. To be clear, Haute Plates Manufacturing and Llama Farming Cooperative will accept slightly bruised peaches, expired Schwegmann’s coupons, careless whispers and very bruised peaches, if you know what I’m saying. (If you know what I’m saying, please email me, because I don’t).
On that note…