Friday, December 4, 2009. A Romantic Lunch At Keith Young's. Oysters Bienville? Mary Ann is planning to leave tomorrow for Los Angeles to spend some time with Jude. She and I share an unease about traveling, although it shows itself in different ways. She becomes uncharacteristically helpless when she's about the depart on a trip--particularly one on an airplane, and particularly one in which she's not sure her host really wants her there. While Jude is too good to his mother to ever say so, he has a full schedule of activities this weekend that aren't exactly the kind on which you'd bring your mother along. Dates, for example.
Mary Ann's reaction to this indecision is to become affectionate. Even she sees the irony in this. What makes her more loving is leaving town without me. But I'll take all the affection I can get.
Specifically, she wanted to have a heart-to-heart lunch at Keith Young's Steakhouse. That's a favorite for both of us, and with Christmas in the air, it seemed even more inviting. Even though we had to wait a few minutes for a table.
In that interim Keith Young drifted by. I asked him whether he had anything new and great for us to try. He gave me a look that implied that he was a bit too busy for creating on the fly. In fact, he already had such a thing on his mind. Before the rest of our order came a half-dozen baked oysters on the half-shell. The waiter couldn't identify them other than that they were new to him. They tasted like oysters Bienville to me. Very good oysters Bienville, at that. The more I ate of them, the better I liked--make that loved--them. Even Mary Ann, whose interest in dishes like this is tepid at best, ate one to humor me. The thought it was so delicious that she needed another.
The entrees were a steak salad for her and a pork tenderloin for me. The salad was topped with what looked like about eight ounces of grilled filet mignon--hard to believe, given the $12 price. The pork was a similarly good buy--$11. It was fanned out across the plate with a Creole brown sauce over it, a levee of mashed sweet potatoes, and green beans. Just right for the weather, tender and good.
Keith came out of the kitchen when things slowed down. "What did you think of those oysters?" he asked. I told them they were as good as any I've ever had, and better than most. In fact, I couldn't think of any way in which they could be improved. "Well, guess where I got the recipe? Your cookbook! I fooled around with it a little, but that's it!"
I thought they seemed familiar. How flattering is that? No wonder
I liked them!
Keith was less happy about what would happen that night. "We had over seventy reservations cancel for tonight, because they hear we're going to have snow, and nobody wants to be out on the roads!" he said. "If it snows, it won't be until late tonight. But what can you do about that?"
On the way home, Mary Ann was vexed by this new problem. Would she be flying out tomorrow in snow? The prospect was daunting. So she snuggled up a little closer.
Keith Young’s Steak House. Madisonville: 165 LA. 21 985-845-9940. Steak.