Mat & Naddie’s
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
The sign outside looks as if it were painted for either a preschool or a late-1960s head shop (funny how those two had similar decor). The exterior is bright greenish yellow. What kind of restaurant is this? Would you guess an ambitious, sophisticated gourmet bistro in a league with Gautreau’s, Clancy’s, or Brigtsen’s? With a wine list to match? It is all those things, its kitchen so adept at rendering both classics and inventions that you either fail to notice the surrounds, or you actually like the scene.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Mat & Naddie’s is Uptown’s favorite kind of restaurant: a Creole bistro with imaginative (but not too) and delicious (very) food, in a funny old cottage whose interior decor seems almost accidental. All this gives the feeling that you’ve discovered a great restaurant nobody knows about, and this charms you.
The contrast between the frivolous exterior and the sophistication and imagination of the kitchen could hardly be greater. Every time I dine here I’m taken aback by it. The trick is this: the presentations are dialed back, while the gustatory aspect is optimized. Dishes can be original and familiar at the same time, with dishes built with infrequently-encountered ingredients. Although it isn’t a vegetarian restaurant, the menu contains more vegetarian and vegan dishes than any other I know of. The place often presents table d’hote dinners with paired wines at attractive prices.
The restaurant evolved from a catering business operated by Michael and Paula Schramel, whose children’s names were Nat and Maddie. After evolving by way of kidspeak, the name of the restaurant was born. In the 1990s Steve Schwartz–a sous chef for most of the restaurant’s history–bought the Schramels out. He added his own ideas and thereby made the cooking even better, keeping Mat & Naddie’s on a long-term upward trend.
It’s a 150-year-old cottage built from the boards of flatboat barges that had finished their one and only trips downriver. The main dining room is a long space with wavy floorboards and many windows. Freight trains passing just outside somehow become romantic. They also have an outdoor dining area on a deck lighted partially by Christmas-tree lights.
FULL ONLINE MENU
Soup of the day
Sweet and spicy pecan halves
»Sicilian olives, artichoke hearts, marinated ricotta salata cheese
Artichoke, sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic cheesecake, basil and spinach chiffonade, olive tapenade
»Shrimp and crawfish croquettes, pickled fennel, red onions, roasted garlic and balsamic emulsion
»Mat & Naddie’s pâté
»Roasted banana, green lentil-flour curry paste, cashew cream, cilantro-mint-tomato relish
»Grilled prosciutto-wrapped scallops and bitter greens salad, tomato caper basil vinaigrette, shaved parmesan reggiano
Maytag blue cheese garden salad, romaine, cucumbers, radishes, carrots and grape tomatoes
»Belgian endive and beet salad, walnuts, crumbled goat cheese, Creole mustard-cane syrup vinaigrette
Fried oyster salad, baby greens, green-onion rémoulade, applewood-smoked bacon, pickled fennel, and onion
»Bronzed Gulf fish, basil and shrimp risotto
Smoked shiitake mushrooms, Thai red curry stew
Brown jasmine-black sesame lunar rice cakes, squash-sweet pepper ragoût, garlic
Grilled Gulf shrimp tonkatsu (panneed), sticky jasmine rice, braised Chinese celery
»Grilled filet mignon, pommes frites, wild mushrooms, roasted broccoli and a beurre rouge
»Grilled venison denver leg “Norske,” cauliflower puree, two sauces: watercress and lingonberry
»Mushroom and Swedish Vasterbotton cheese roulade, porcini marinara puree, truffle oil garnish
»Veal saltimbocca, rasted cauliflower and broccoli, beurre blanc and fried capers
»Panneed white chocolate and almond bread pudding, banana brulee, rum caramel sauce
Chocolate truffle cake, creme anglaise, raspberry coulis
Chocolate peanut butter gooey battercake, creme anglaise, chocolate sauce and crushed peanuts
»Warm blueberry peach cobbler, oatmeal and brown sugar crust
Lemon ice box pie, chantilly cream and candied basil
FOR BEST RESULTS
Make a reservation; the place fills up suddenly and unpredictably. Ask about having a dinner paired with wines. They’re better at this than you might imagine, with a terrific list to pick from. Be aware of the funny dinner schedule, in which the place is closed on Wednesday and Sunday.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The dining rooms are a little drafty in cold weather.
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
- Consistency +2
- Value +1
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar +2
- Hipness +2
- Local Color +3
- Live music some nights
- Courtyard or deck dining
- Good view
- Open Monday lunch
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations honored promptly