WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
A handsome mansion dating back to the 1830s, the setting of Annadele’s is comparable to what you’d find in a River Road plantation house, complete with expansive, well-planted grounds. The pleasant surprise is that the food is some of the best on the North Shore.
Annadele’s kitchen has moved forward in recent years, but it’s style is distinctly Creole and traditional. The quality of the groceries shows in critical items like lamb chops, quail, steak, and fish–all fresh and of high intrinsic merit. The antique dining rooms, surrounded by the lovely grounds, are perfect for this kind of dining.
Parts of the house (originally called Monrepos) predate the Civil War. The town of Claiborne grew up around it, but in the long run Covington became the center of things, and the main roads passed Monrepos by and left it isolated in an invisible corner of the Bogue Falaya River. In the late 1800s, it was the home of New Orleans Mayor Walter Flower. His daughter was Corinne Dunbar, who opened a famous restaurant on St. Charles Avenue. Under the name Annadele, it became a restaurant in the 1980s. It didn’t work out, and remained closed for a long time in the 1990s. After a long-running controversy, it opened as a restaurant and bed-and-breakfast under the aegis of Pat Gallagher, a well-known name in North Shore cooking in those days. Gallagher didn’t stay long-term. New investors came in just before the hurricane, and have improved the restaurant ever since.
The most scenic dining room by quite a bit is the brick-walled Garden Room which has windows giving out onto the grounds on three walls. The other rooms are pleasant enough in an antique way, but don’t have the same allure. Annadele’s is full of private rooms, including a very pleasant one for a small party in the wine cellar. The service staff is mostly young, but the presence of a couple of long-time pros lends smoothness.
Shiitake mushrooms, house dressing
Crab cakes, Creole mustard beurre blanc, green peppercorns
»Fried eggplant medallions, spicy Creole sauce
Fried green tomatoes, sautéed crabmeat
»Barbecue shrimp, onion and smoked shrimp cheesecake
»Grilled oysters, bacon, parmesan, truffle oil
Soup du jour
Annadele’s salad, cherry tomatoes, marinated cucumbers
Baby spinach chevre salad
»Strawberry salad, lettuce, vanilla vinaigrette, red onion, almonds
»Gulf fish meuniere, almonds or pecans
Grilled fish Fourchon, oyster mushrooms, roasted peppers, grilled green onions, crawfish-risotto
»Fish of the day, crunchy potato crust, shrimp, leeks, tomato
Seafood au gratin
Gulf fish Pontchartrain, sautéed shrimp and crabmeat
»Oysters en brochette, bacon, marchand de vin
Shrimp with linguini, tasso, spinach, artichoke
»Sautéed chicken Lafayette, mushroom and tasso cream sauce
Grilled chicken, tomatoes, artichokes, angel hair pasta
»Veal serena, lump crabmeat, angel hair, asparagus, béarnaise
Surf and turf (filet mignon, barbecue shrimp, crab cake
»Seared duck breast, blackberry demi glace, bacon, sweet potato hash
Pork osso buco
»New York strip, rosemary, shallot and truffle butter
Filet mignon, roasted garlic whipped potatoes, garlic butter
»Mixed grill Bogue Falaya (lamb chops and quail, mushroom and parmesan risotto)
»Bread pudding, warm whiskey sauce
»Vanilla bean crème brûlée
New York cheesecake, strawberry coulis
Flourless chocolate cake, warm chocolate soup
Vanilla ice cream
FOR BEST RESULTS
It once was possible to walk into this restaurant and get a table, but no more. Reservations on weekends are essential.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The dining rooms off the main hall are a bit noisy, and could use redecorating.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +2
- Consistency +1
- Value +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness -1
- Local Color +3
- Good view
- Good for business meetings
- Many private rooms
- Open Sunday lunch
- Unusually large servings
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations accepted
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Out of sight, out of mind. That’s a formula that has taken down many good New Orleans restaurants over the years. I keep worrying about Annadele’s in that regard, but there seems to be no need. The last two visits I made there had full dining rooms all over the place. The kitchen is very much up to this growing business, and continues to improve its offerings on ever visit.
Unlike La Provence and Dakota, who go after the same kind of business Annadele’s does, the menu here is so retro as to seem genteel. It’s perfect for the premises, which are stunning.
The only challenge is finding it. “Turn off Causeway Blvd. a block past the Popeyes” is not a seemly direction, but is the most accurate.