For as long as I can remember, people have been buying me at auction for charity events. In the very early days, I would go to your house and cook for you, making what I heard was an unbelievable mess. These were small dinner parties that everyone enjoyed. But I was also auctioned as a host of dinner out somewhere, just a foursome. It always amazed me how much I went for, and also how long it took to schedule these.
We went with a very nice couple to Arnaud’s. He is an exotic animal veterinarian, she works in orthodontics. They have no children, so a popular subject of conversation was off the list. Instead, we talked about travel, and Mardi Gras, something near and dear to their hearts. And mine, since I was born on Mardi Gras. They liked that. Mary Ann didn’t want to talk about sick animals at all.
We also talked about the bottle of Krug champagne I brought from our collection, and of course the food. It was unanimous. We all love of Arnaud’s. I was happy to see that the soufflé potatoes are back. For a while, every time I got these at any of the old restaurants I love, they seemed to be hard and crispy and not soft in the middle, which is the defining character of this unique treat. The Hollandaise was perfect, but not the potatoes. On this night, it seemed to return to normal.
I got my usual Oysters Arnaud, which is irresistible to me. These are five oysters, each of the house specialties in a sampler. There is Bienville, my favorite, Rockefeller, Oysters Kathryn, named for the Casbarian’s daughter Katie who now runs the restaurant with her brother, and Ohan, the late Archie’s father, and family patriarch. The last is Suzette, with bacon and bell pepper and pimiento. This was my meal, which is what I usually get here. (A link to the recipes is below.)
MA got a small salad that she found particularly good, and what is jokingly referred to as part of the Arnaud’s “happy meal”, the Amandine preparation of fried fish. The doctor stuck with his favorite, Veal Wohl, which did not include crawfish that evening. Instead, they swapped it for Shrimp Arnaud, their version of remoulade. (And maybe my favorite.) The crab cake and veal on this sampler platter remained the same. More crabcakes were at the table because that’s what the doctor’s wife ordered.
I was especially pleased to discuss dessert, particularly Bread Pudding Fitzmorris, and two were ordered. The doctor remarked that he doesn’t usually order it, but liked it especially well. I agreed, of course. It’s my favorite dessert anywhere.
813 Rue Bienville New Orleans
Dinner nightly 6pm
Sunday Brunch 10-2