ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Among the most-loved restaurants are those whose customers believe that their goodness is known only to themselves. Secret restaurants, we might call them. The regular patrons are reluctant to talk about such restaurants, believing that the restaurant will become impenetrable if everybody in the world starts coming. In actual fact, that almost never happens, but the feeling is still comforting. All of the above applies to Cypress, whose location at the corner of two heavily-traveled arteries should make it better known than it is. But ssshhhh!
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Tucked away in the back of a complex of small strip malls, Cypress comes across as a pleasant surprise to all who go there–particularly first-timers. Indeed, the ambitious cooking does seem to be a few notches above what the place leads you to believe is the standard reality. Metairie has fewer white-tablecloth restaurants with good food than the population would dictate, and that fact keeps this good little restaurant busy.
The chef has a taste for the Creole flavors, and less interest in reinventing the cuisine from scratch. His cooking is a shade ahead of the palates of his customers–enough to keep them interested. Servings are too large, but that doesn’t prevent the use of quality ingredients. The menu is a bit unusual in that the entree section is almost entirely composed of meats and poultry. The seafood is mostly in the first course, but those dishes are the size of some entrees I’ve seen.
Owner-chef Stephen Huth worked for many years as the chef de cuisine at the original Vincent’s. His father had a salon that backed up to Vincent’s, and was ready to retire from the business. Father and son renovated the salon into a restaurant in 2003, pretty much entirely with their own hands. Stephen literally walked through a hole in Vincent’s back fence, to open Cypress. Far from being upset by this, Vincent Catalanotto helped Huth cut the hole, and in other ways.
The rooms are small and reached through a mini-maze of hallways. The service staff and the chef’s wife (who runs the dining room) could not be more hospitable. There’s enough community among the locals that first-timers stick out a little.
More ruminations appear in our Dining Diary. Click on any of the dates below for those reports, each written a few days after a meal at Cypress.
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Barbecue shrimp, rosemary biscuit
Grilled portobello, braised spinach, bacon, balsamic
Lobster ravioli, dill cream
Crawfish and crabmeat Parma (like a gratin)
Duck confit egg rolls, spicy soy-apricot glaze
Soup du jour
Roasted garlic soup
Chef’s fish selection, crabmeat butter, asparagus
Grilled Angus filet mignon, mushroom demi-glace
Pan-seared duck breast, duck leg confit, andouille-cornbread dressing, huckleberry glaze
Grilled salmon, garlic spinach, citrus beurre blanc
Rosemary chicken, mushrooms, linguine
Molasses glazed pork loin, four-cheese macaroni, baby beans
Rabbit sauce piquant, spicy tomato broth, andouille rice pilaf
FOR BEST RESULTS
Order one course fewer than you ordinarily would. Splitting appetizers and salads will not leave either of the sharers hungry.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
To my appetites, the menu is a bit off-balance on the side of rich and filling. A few lighter dishes would be welcome.
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 +1
- Consistency +2
- Value +1
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color
- Unusually large servings
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations recommended