Thursday, November 3, 2017. Blake’s On Poydras. New restaurants keep opening in the Central Business District. Some of them are even good. The owner and chef of Blake’s visited the radio show a couple of weeks ago, and revealed the restaurant as a typical business-breakfast-and-lunch kind of place, with a Southern style. It’s nothing like Horinoya, the predecessor sushi bar at the location. (The owners of Horinoya retired about a year ago.)
My daughter Mary Leigh and I wound up at Blake’s, the result of our not being able to decide where we’d have dinner tonight. She lives in the neighborhood, and that made it easier. It was getting late in the evening, and Blake’s was winding things up for the day. They were ready to serve anything on the menu, however. That included an appetizer of salmon that has been poached in butter. This is an idea that was spreading a few years ago, and a good one. Butter is warmed up to a temperature in the low 100s, and allowed to cook until the fish is done. This creates a pale color but a nice texture and flavor. It’s a little subtle for my taste, but the use of wild-caught salmon will appeal to Mary Ann.
ML went with her default entree, especially for a basic diner menu: the house hamburger. Nice thick job that she said was good. In between this and the entrees is some gnocchi which tasted as if they had been made with sweet potatoes. Not a bad idea, if it wasn’t that. My entree was a special of the fish of the day. At $15–which is representative of the pricing here–it was a good bargain.
I wasn’t expecting Blake’s would prove also to be a good-looking restaurant. I’ve dined in that space many times over the years, and this is the best look they’ve ever had. The food is better, too. Overall, it needs a bit of polish. And I need to try their breakfasts, which are a major feature. And I wonder what it’s like here before Saints games, only a six or so blocks away.
Blake’s On Poydras. CBD: 920 Poydras. 504-679-0991.
Friday, November 4, 2017. Vincent’s, Metairie, And Its Unusual Dishes. As is true of most Italian restaurants, the menu at the Metairie location of Vincent’s is much bigger than you expect to find when you open it. One reason for this is that the restaurant itself is not very large. My table,for example, has four chairs. But a column in the spot where Chair Number Four would be throws things off. It’s a little cramped, but not enough to get worked up about it.
Vincent, a personal friend going back to 1977, always has a brain full of dishes he think I should try. Today: rabbit. How about the seared tuna with a highly varied (and good) garnish.
I ask, “how about the oysters Rockefeller?” “You like that?,” asks Vincent, dubiously. I get the Rockefeller anyway. It needs a different name, because the oysters are fried (and delicious,” but the sauce is not Rockefeller sauce but steamed spinach. I let it go. Then I get a salad, and that tuna special. It’s supposed to be a special, anyway, but it’s on the menu all the time. Says one of the waiters, “The tuna is one of the best dishes on the menu.” I believe him, and he proves to be correct.
I finish dinner with a slice of spumoni. And then Vincent and I exchange restaurant gossip. His son, who is in the upper echelon of Vincent’s management, comes over, but not for long. Hard worker, that guy.
In sum, Vincent’s lives up to what I’ve always said about it: a four-star restaurant in a two-star place. Always love the eating here, from the simple dishes to the complex.
Vincent’s. Metairie: 4411 Chastant St. 504-885-2984.
Vincent’s. Riverbend: 7839 St Charles Ave. 504-866-9313.