Haute Plates Feed Lot and Ball-Peen Hammer Works, Inc. hereby announces that all prior announcements were the result of fraud, error, coercion or some other vice of consent, and that control of Haute Plates shall not, upon your author’s death, devolve to Hedy Lamarr, who it appears has predeceased me by several decades.
In a stunning new announcement, Haute Plates announces that Haute Plates shall pass, in perpetuity, to an anonymous beneficiary whom Haute Plates shall identify only as “Ladypossum.” You must trust Haute Plates that “Ladypossum” shall hold our various enterprises safe in her tiny, tiny hands.
In other news: I made it back to Brennan’s recently for lunch. I’ve been meaning to give the dinner menu a try, because it looks very interesting, but it’s tough to get out at night with kids.
Actually, that’s not true. It’s ridiculously easy to get out; you put the small ones in the appropriate car seat and drive off. It’s the destination that’s the problem. For my birthday last year, for example, we ate at Ancora. It’s a pizzeria, and it tends to be loud, but between our three kids we still felt like we were making a scene. (Also: Ancora’s website appears to be offline, and I called to make sure it hadn’t closed in the last two weeks; then realized I was telling someone at a busy restaurant that their website was not working and I felt as though perhaps we both had better things to do…)
Anyway, lunch at Brennan’s was nice. I started with the crab and celery remoulade, which I’d had before and liked a lot. It’s a pretty dish, and light – there’s a Satsuma dressing that surrounds a disk of the crab and celery root, and that’s a combination I favor. Throw in some bitter frisee to top the dish off and I’m fairly guaranteed to be a repeat customer.
I had a second appetizer rather than an entrée to finish the meal, and this one I hadn’t tried. The New Orleans BBQ lobster is exactly what it sounds like, and exactly as good as you’d expect from a restaurant like Brennan’s and a chef like Slade Rushing. My waiter described it as “half a lobster,” and that may have been a stretch, but given the amount of bread I used to sop up the sauce, I was content with the portion size, even at $19. It’s a rich, rich dish, even with the confit lemon peel and a little bite of pepper in the sauce, and another one I’ll likely order again.
I would have been happy with those two courses, but I also got to try the roasted oysters for a second time, and again it was compliments of the kitchen.
I used to turn such gifts away, or at least attempt to, but in the last few years I’ve realized a number of things: nobody is under the impression I’m going to vary what I write based on a free appetizer; I am not a critic anyway; and I can add the menu price of the item to the server’s tip when I pay the bill. Also, I very much enjoy the roasted oysters at Brennan’s. They’re smoky, spicy and with a boost of savory-umami flavor from the toasted Manchego cheese that tops them; this is a great rendition of the dish.
I will leave a discussion of Lu Brow’s work behind the bar to my colleague and bear-lover Tim McNally, except to say that I very much enjoyed a gin and tonic in which both main ingredients were produced locally.
I still have to get back to Brennan’s for dinner, because there are so many things on that menu that I really need to eat, but until then I will be content with the occasional lunch.
A final note: District Hand Pie & Coffee Bar opened around a month ago at 5637 Magazine Street in a remodeled structure that I think used to house a barber shop. I’ve seen VW camper vans with more space than this joint, but they have a commensurately abbreviated menu – hand-pies and coffee, for the most part. There’s a very small seating area outside, just adjacent to Dirty Coast, but I think this may be a place to pick up and eat elsewhere. I’ve only tried one pie so far, the market vegetable, which had goat cheese, cauliflower, beet and greens inside a very tender, flaky crust shaped like an empanada.
The coffee they folks at District make is beyond my ken, so I can’t really comment on that, but the pies are as good as the donuts they make at their original joint near the corner of Magazine and Jackson Ave. If you haven’t checked either of the two places out yet, you should. And you could also let me know what you think. You know, if it isn’t too much trouble…