Welcome to Mardi Gras week on Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen! I’m going to highlight all the delicious food and great times we had on our recent trip to New Orleans, Louisiana (or NOLA for short). There was no better escape from the Calgary cold than to head south for the Family day long weekend. We enjoyed warm, humid temperatures, some great historical Southern places, great art, great jazz, questionable antics, beautiful cocktails, and outstanding food. My only complaint? Six days in the South was definitely not long enough!
The only restaurant that I had even attempted to make reservations for before leaving home was GW Fins. I had originally wanted to go there on Valentine’s Day but I procrastinated making the reservations and when I finally tried they were booked solid February 14 through to the 16th. There was a window of opportunity on Thursday, February 13th which was our first day in NOLA so I grabbed the reservation. Reading reviews of GW Fins from home was making me salivate and I knew we just had to try this place out.
Upon arrival we were shown to our table and the service from then on was absolutely amazing. I did wonder at the efficiency of this place…we were in and out the front doors in less than an hour. Somewhat rushed but also very satisfied. It sounds strange, I know but the quality of food and service were impeccable and our dining experience was over way too soon. I was only a bit disappointed because we had been up since 3:30 am Calgary time and we really just wanted to fill our stomachs and get to bed.
First and foremost if you are looking for fresh fish and shellfish this is the place to go. The dishes we ate were simple in flavour, not really standing out in any way but only having great balance and allowing the freshness to shine through. I checked the restaurant’s twitter account and was greeted by a photo of a huge whole halibut that became my dinner that evening.
We began the evening by ordering a genuine New Orleans Crab Cake. Our first of many in NOLA and eventually we learned to order more than one. I think we may have shocked the server with the voracity of our fork movements. The fresh jumbo lump crab was delicious when paired with the jicama slaw and tamarind coulis. Salty, sour, sweet…a very nice balance.
We couldn’t leave without trying the Blue Crab Potstickers. I had heard rave reviews about these bad boys and wanted to try them for myself. Fortunately there were more than one and we each had one whole potsticker to ourselves. I made sure that the kids tried them along with the pea shoots and pea shoot butter. Peas and seafood? Yes please!As I mentioned, I ordered the insanely fresh halibut. What I failed to mention is that the dish was aptly named ‘Scalibut’ and consisted of a wedge of halibut topped with a layer of sliced scallops. The scallops adhered to the surface of the halibut to make a faux fish scale pattern. It was a spectacular combination, especially served atop the lobster risotto and more of that delicious pea shoot butter sauce.
As I had been studying up on local foods I had heard of a couple of interesting local fishes that I knew we needed to try while in NOLA. Sheepshead is a super ugly fish, characterized by it’s very sheep like teeth. It is really odd to see such a fish up close (google)so I ‘m really glad the head didn’t come with the plate! Sheepshead are readily available around the Mississippi outlet and in the gulf through the winter and early spring months. Both Hubby and kid number one enjoyed this Parmesan crusted Sheepshead with asparagus, more jumbo lump crab meat ( you can never have enough crab!) and some meyer lemon. The fried capers were undoubtedly one of Hubby’s new flavour favorites.
Kid number two decided to play it safe with this Red Snapper. The skin was crisped up really nicely and the shrimp etouffee underneath was absolutely divine. She was pretty happy with her choice though of course her brother needed to finish her huge portion.
Since we were heading back to the hotel to sleep we decided to skip dessert and keep a little room in our stomachs for digestion. We definitely enjoyed our first dinner in NOLA and looked forward to the rest of our trip’s dining experiences.
808 Bienville Street
New Orleans, LA. 70112