Every year Mother’s Day rolls around and restaurants brace themselves for the mid-morning onslaught of iced tea refills and suggestions that the air conditioning be turned up, down or even sideways. This year, why not stray from the ubiquitous Mother’s Day brunch and treat Mom to something different?
It is difficult to find restaurants that serve dinner on Sundays, but local favorite, La Crêpe Nanou, recently opened their doors seven nights a week. A streetcar ride uptown to Robert Street will deliver you to the stylish hotspot. A large orange cat named Little Man occasionally guards door. Eccentric, artsy moms will feel right at home among the gorgeous orchids that hang from the ceiling, and the collection of art by local painters and photographers. The Gratin de Fruits de Mer is a perfect starter for a small party with decadent bits of shrimp, crabmeat and fish baked in lobster sauce and cheese. The classic fondue – alpine cheese melted with kirsch and white wine – is served with fruit that’s not from the sea and is a kitschy delight for large tables. Bananas covered in warm, melted Emmenthaler will change your life. Though the restaurant takes its name from the myriad crêpes – my favorite is the Crêpe À La Crabe with lump crabmeat and creamed spinach in Mornay sauce—they’re best known for mussels and pomme frites. Steamed in garlic, cream and white wine, the simplicity of the broth delivers a wealth of sapidity that captures the heart of French Provençal cuisine. In other words, you’ll want to dive into the remaining liquid perfection after the mussels are long gone. For dessert, tell Peggy Guggenheim to leave her sunglasses on and watch the Crêpe Suzette – orange cream and grand marnier flambé – light up the room.
Looking to take mom for an exceptional meal without doling out the big bucks? Every Wednesday at Coquette, all wines by the glass are only $5. On Thursdays, cocktails are only $5. Located at the corner of Magazine Street and Washington Avenue, Coquette is a small bistro and wine bar with a big heart. The menu focuses on seasonal and local foods, while the wine list reaches out to the farthest corners of the earth. Housemade specialties abound, from the freshly baked bread to the pork rillettes that are great for sharing, served on a board with toast, cornichons and piquillo peppers – subtly spicy and sweet. You won’t want to share the fava-bean fettucine though, a fresh addition to the spring menu. Stab into the yard egg that tops this small plate and let it drizzle over the thin strips of ham and tenacious beans that perfectly balance the tender housemade pasta. Better yet when paired with a crisp, floral white wine like the Zolo Torrontes from Argentina. Chef Michael Stoltzfus has a gift of pairing flavors in a way that seems so easy, but skillfully transforms our concept of what makes a memorable meal. Take for instance the local green salad with candied pecans and goat cheese. Sounds like just another salad, right? Well, those little pecans – salty, sweet and, dare I say, deep fried for a nanosecond – are reason alone to visit Coquette. Outside seating is available.
Reservations are a must.
On the other hand, for the luxurious mother who doesn’t wake up unless it’s time for champagne and diamonds, you’re in luck. For the entire month of May, Ralph’s on the Park is hosting a five-course Veuve Clicquot dinner. The menu, darling, features a duo of lobster bisque and cauliflower soup; Tuna Three Ways: Carpaccio, Tartar and Cold-Smoked with Sweet Chili Sauce; Short Rib Cannelloni with a Caramelized Onion Foam; Pan Roasted Lobster over Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Butternut Squash Dumplings, Oyster Mushrooms, Toasted Pecans and Passion Fruit Gastrique; and finally, Strawberry Pavlova with macerated Louisiana strawberries in a crispy meringue cup. You don’t have to get the wine pairings, but Mom might never forgive you, kind of like the time you put a fuchsia crayon in the dryer with the white load.