Ramshackly Eclectic

Mary Ann Fitzmorris December 17, 2019 22:20 Dining Diary

The little cottage on Louisiana Avenue near the river has always been an interesting place. It started in the restaurant world as Petrossi's, mostly a seafood place. In the 80s contemporary cuisine revolution locally, it resurfaced as a Southern Cafe operated by a gutsy woman named Iler Pope, who often traveled back to her northern Mississippi roots just to get certain ingredients for her menu. Iler Pope introduced Contemporary Southern food to this city. It was cutting edge and delicious, and soon Cafe Atchafalaya had a solid following and a lot of buzz. After a too-short tenure there, Iler became ill and quit the business. It passed hands a time or two, then it became just Atchafalaya when a young couple bought it and changed its fortunes dramatically. There have been a number of good chefs in and out of there, the greatness of the food rising and falling with the chef’s talents. Those highs were very high sometimes.


We have been less than regular here, mainly because old cottages are not my restaurant vibe. Tom is a huge fan. I have had some great meals here, but I don’t count the last one among them. I went on a Friday for lunch, or so I thought. Turns out it is brunch for lunch, and the menu was not particularly interesting, so I got breakfast food. But I get ahead of myself. 


Walking in it looked like a buffet in the bar. It was sort of a buffet. A Bloody Mary fixins' bar, and the fixins' were pretty elaborate. I am not a drinker of Bloody Marys, but I would imagine this bar would be an exciting thing for someone who is. There are a few tables in the bar, and then a step up will take you to a dining room before you meander to other rooms. 


We ordered Pimiento Cheese and Cracklins, and Boudin and Cheese Curd Boulettes over sweet corn, chow chow, creole mustard and garlic aioli. Also a meat pie that came with a pile of nice greens in a light and tasty vinaigrette, which was the best thing on the table. There was a Local Apples and Arugula Salad with candied pecans, biscuit croutons, apple brown butter and sherry sage dressing. I got a basic breakfast with Papa Tom’s Cream Cheese Grits and Atchafalaya Ham, which made me inquire about it. It was disappointing and seemed like a pastrami. The grits were creamy and special. A dish of jalapeno cornbread was good but not especially memorable. The salad was very satisfactory to the person who ordered it, and the cheese curd boulettes were fine. I had a bite or two of a red bean purée with some Asian oil drizzle and Pappadams. I don’t need to eat any of this again. And they don’t need us. The place was packed.


In short, I want to eat brunch if I am expecting to eat brunch. If I’m going to eat lunch, not so much. But that’s on me for not doing my homework. When I mentioned this to Tom, he said, "Why didn't you ask me? I could have told you that."


Atchafalaya

901 Louisiana Ave  New Orleans

504-891-9626

Brunch Thursday-Monday 10-2:30

Dinner Monday-Sunday  6-10pm

atchafalayarestaurant.com