Summer Dining Events
Are Hot and Cheap
I am not a fan of heat and humidity. If that sounds about as obvious as saying, “I am not a fan of paper cuts,” you, like me, are mystified that there are people who prefer our current climate to someplace more moderate, like Qatar. (It’s a dry heat). Even my wife, who claims to love summer, has had about enough of it by this point.
One thing I do appreciate about the summer is that a lot of restaurants offer deals to encourage locals to dine out during what is otherwise the doldrums for the industry. We’ve just had Coolinary New Orleans in August, of course, and from September 12 to 18 the same folks who organize that event (The Louisiana Restaurant Association) will bring us Restaurant Week New Orleans.
What is Restaurant Week New Orleans? I’m glad you asked!
During this week-long celebration of New Orleans cuisine, participating restaurants in the New Orleans metro area will offer special prix fixe menus. Restaurants will offer a two-course lunch for $20 or less and a three-course dinner for $39 or less. Some restaurants will also offer a three-course brunch for $39 or less.
Around 70 restaurants are participating and you can see the list here. Each restaurant has a separate page set up that includes (for the ones I checked out, anyway) the menu and a way to make a reservation online. Though the press release I received suggested the restaurants would “range from fine-dining establishments to neighborhood favorites,” it’s pretty heavily weighted towards the former. It makes sense, given the format of a 3-course prix fixe meal.
The week following, from September 16 to 24, GW Fins will hold its Lobster Feast. Similar to the Restaurant Week deals, it’s usually a 3-course prixe fixe menu, but this year it’s a la carte:
Choice of — Lobster Bisque or Lobster Dumplings
Choice of — Lobster Roll on Housemade Brioche or Lobster Salad with Avocado/mango/papaya
Choice of Baked Lobster topped with DeJonghe herb butter or Lobster Pot with clams and mussels in a rich lobster broth
GW Fins’ is one of those restaurants I visit a couple of times a year and always wonder why I don’t dine there more often. It’s one of my favorites, and there’s really no better place in town for seafood. I wish the place was open for lunch, but the last time I asked chef Flynn, he was pretty clear it wasn’t in the works. That aside, if you’re interested in the Lobster Feast, you can call 581-3467 to make a reservation.
I have the time and energy to share one final dinner with you, and this time it’s a one-off as opposed to a week-long event. This time it’s being hosted at a restaurant that, to my shame, I have yet to visit: Angeline. I did get to taste chef Alex Harrell’s food a month or so ago when he and chef Isaac Toups collaborated with Tujague’s chef Marcus Woodham for a bourbon dinner, and it was outstanding. But I’ve also heard Angeline ranks among the best joints in the city by people whose opinion I respect, so I’m hoping to get a chance to check it out soon.
But for now, I can at least alert you to the following dinner, and by “alert you,” I mean “cut and paste from a press release because that is the most efficient way to convey the information to you and I am very tired”:
On Monday, September 12, chef Matt Bolus of The 404 Kitchen in Nashville will join chef Alex Harrell in his kitchen at Angeline in New Orleans for a special five-course dinner benefitting Southern Foodways Alliance, a member-supported organization that documents, studies and explores the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. Harrell and Bolus will collaborate on each course as the dinner follows the iconic Route 61 from Nashville to New Orleans, known as “The Blues Highway”:
1st Course – Nashville, TN – Hot Soft Shell Shrimp
2nd Course – Memphis, TN – Chicken Fried Beef Cheeks
3rd Course – Natchez, MS – Rabbit Man Farms “Hot Tamales”
4th Course – New Orleans, LA – Squid Ink Paella with Carolina Gold Rice, Gulf Seafood and Angeline chorizo
Dessert – Chicory coffee Budino with Beignet Crumble
I was not aware that Route 61 was known as the Blues Highway, but then again I doubt that would be foremost on my mind if I attend this dinner. More likely it’d be the food and drinks, because that’s how my rolodex shuffles, kids. (Please make that a thing people say, I’ve never made a thing people say, and I want to make a thing people say).
The dinner starts with hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail at 6 p.m., and costs $80/person with an optional $35 “beverage pairing” that I assume means “wine and cocktails,” because that is typically the way these things work. If you are uncertain, you should first recognize that I just spelled “hors d’oeuvres” without having to look it up, and if that doesn’t convince you, call 308-3106 to confirm my assumption (or to purchase tickets). I’d call early if you want to attend; this one will likely sell out.
I will end this edition of Haute Plates on that note, and by hoping that you stay cool and dry if that is how your rolodex shuffles. (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE).