DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Thursday, March 2, 2017, Part Two.
A New Pizza Place Needs More Time.

The Marys meet up with me for dinner. The Legacy Kitchen string of restaurants is of interest. It’s a small local chain from the same guys who have the New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood eateries. Each of the five or so Legacies has a menu mostly different from those of the others, which right there is innovative.

The first of the Legacy places is near the first N.O. Hamburger outlet, on Veterans across from Dorignac’s. The second is in the ground floor of the Renaissance Arts Hotel. Others have opened on the West Bank and the CBD. The other local Renaissance Hotel’s restaurant space had been, among other things, MiLa. MiLa’s chef and proprietor was Slade Rushing, who is now executive chef at Brennan’s on Royal Street.

That Legacy Kitchen centers its menu on seafood generally, and oysters specifically. We have some grilled oysters and some on the half shell. I have a blackened redfish, and ML gets a salad. (MA eats only two oysters.)

The servers wore the most informal uniforms I think I’ve ever seen. The guy taking care of our table was helpful, but there wasn’t enough interesting food for him to talk about. Everything we had came out lukewarm, and it was downhill from there. The place has the distinct feeling of a generic hotel café, which is, I suppose, what it is. The place also looks a bit beat up, but I think that was intentional, a decorative statement.

The check with tip for this came in at over $100. Very disappointing. But it must be said that the place is quite new. On the other hand, longevity has not turned the other Legacy Kitchens into great restaurants.

Friday, March 3, 2017.
Bistro Orleans Returns.

One of the radio sales guys caught me in the hallway and said that Orleans Bistro would shortly resume its advertising on my show. Although a fair number of listeners are put off by the HD change, the sponsors seem to feel okay about it. That’s how my show has always functioned. The sheer numbers of listeners has never been enormous. However they do show up at the sponsors’ restaurants, and drop my name or that of the radio station. The job gets done.

I haven’t been to Bistro Orleans lately–partly because it’s easy to get caught in carnival parades this time of year. But I was in the mood tonight for their oyster-artichoke soup and some further seafood. After all, it is a Friday in Lent. The entree is a special from out of the 1980s: panned veal with pasta with a creamy parmesan cheese sauce. I think all of this could be improved by lightening down the richness of the sauce by a factor of two or three. Add to that the volume on the big plate (it’s big enough for three or more) and the eating is in overload.

On the other hand, this is the day for the Des Allemande’s fried catfish special, and that alone is worth the visit.

Bistro Orleans. Metairie: 3216 West Esplanade Ave. 504-304-1469.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
New Pizza Place. Not All Have Wood-Burning Ovens.

Mary Ann called our friends the Fowlers to check on their availability for dinner. It took us a few minutes to consider the range of possibilities. Will we dine somewhere fancy, or an easy-going café? A couple of people on the radio show, told me that the new pizzeria in Mandeville is pretty good. This was enough of a nudge in that direction, so to Duman’s Artisan Kitchen we go.

You see that word “artisan,” and what comes to mind immediately is the kind of pizza with a wood-burning stone oven, and a large array of top-quality ingredients. Let’s just say that the evidence of the pizza itself did not satisfy the expectations. And it was a more
expensive than we thought it would be. Ah, it must be that bugbear of the Too New To Be Reviewed forces in action here. We’ll come back next year.

Duman Artisan Kitchen. Mandeville: 821 Girod St. 985-231-7663.


Sharpened Salmon

I saw some beautiful center-cut fillets of fresh Scottish salmon early in a tour of the supermarket one day. As I wove in and out the aisles, a recipe formed. Thinly-sliced ham, I thought, would add an interesting flavor dimension. A crust broiled on top of the salmon would give some textural interest. But what will the crust be made of? Mustard and herbs crossed my mind, to which were soon added bread crumbs and the ham, which my brain by now had sliced into ribbons the size of fettuccine. It was all marvelous. If only I were this creative every day.

Resist the temptation to use Creole mustard for this. I love the stuff, but the crust should sharpen, not bludgeon the flavor. Instead, check that jar of gourmet mustard you bought a year and a half ago but never opened. Especially if it’s flavored with herbs and has a light color but a thick texture. It might be perfect, regardless of its components. A German Riesling would be the perfect wine with this, its light sweetness offsetting the sharpness of the glaze.

  • Glaze:
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice, strained
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. herb mustard (use your imagination here)
  • 1 tsp. dill
  • 1 tsp. dry tarragon (or 2 tsp. fresh, chopped)
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • Crust:
  • 2 oz. (about 4 thin slices) cured, smoked ham (Chisesi, if you live in New Orleans), sliced into ribbons the width of fettuccine
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt-free Creole seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. German (or other sweet) Riesling wine (preferred; or whatever white wine you have handy)
  • 4 center cuts (crosswise) of salmon fillet, skin on, about 8 oz each

Preheat the broiler and broiler rack to 500-550 degrees. Set the shelf so that fish on the rack will be about four inches from the heat.

1. Mix the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Mix the crust ingredients in a second small bowl.

2. Spread the glaze generously over the tops of the salmon. Top with the crust ingredients. Drizzle the tops of the fish with olive oil and sprinkles of wine.

3. Place the fish skin side down on the preheated broiler rack. Broil until high spots on the crust are a convincingly crusty brown.

4. Remove the fish with a slotted turner and serve immediately.

Serves four.

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