Goodbye To Beef

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris February 13, 2024 22:34 in Dining Diary

If it’s Mardi Gras it must be Crescent City Steakhouse. That’s been Tom’s mantra for the last forty or so years. And for most of that time since I’ve been around I’ve been somewhere else on Mardi Gras... at parades with the kids, at parties, or at parties with the kids. And faithfully, for all these years, Tom has returned to The Crescent City Steakhouse to “say goodbye to meat.”

That first time at Crescent City Steakhouse, Tom sat alone in a quiet restaurant. Half a century later there is a four-

hour wait for a table at Mardi Gras. It is quite the party. I've joined him there for the past eight years and I can see what he sees in the party.

There is one thing that hasn’t changed through the years. The same excellence on the plate is still there today, just like it was when the Crescent City Steakhouse opened its doors nearly a century ago. The steak on the plate today was a gigantic thing, wrapped in bacon and sitting in a lake of sizzling butter with bits of parsley sprinkled about. The plate was so hot I was able to keep some slices hot throughout the meal.

We ordered three plates of the shoestring fries, a pile of uniformly thin, golden brown, greaseless sticks of potatoes, cut in-house, exactly the same as opening day in 1934.

This steak frites combo isn’t served as a combo, but both have been around since long before the words steak frites ever appeared on any American menus.

All of this is so simple. It is a formula that used to be everywhere: buy premium ingredients and do very little to them. That’s how everything here is done. The menu is small but adequate, and everything is delicious. The steak we had was so butter tender a steak knife wasn’t even necessary. Tom has always maintained that the steaks here are the best, and I have to agree. I found myself thinking as I ate that meal today that I had missed an awful lot of great Mardi Gras meals over the years.

It was a little meal of just a few things. We started with the wonderful garlic bread we used to see in restaurants around town. Soft French bread with butter and chopped garlic and little bits of chopped parsley. These pieces are toasted around the edges and come to the table warm and chewy. Irresistible. 

A few orders of onion rings followed the garlic bread. These seemed extra crunchy today. They were a little different than usual. They are of course fresh cut and irregular, further proof that the food here is prepared simply, like the goodness of yesteryear.

The other thing we had on the table is, to our taste,  essential to all steakhouse meals. Creamed spinach here is prepared a little more old-fashioned than what we see today. There is American cheese melted on top, just like the melted American cheese on the crab meat au gratin at the now sadly defunct Bon Ton.

Normally we finish a meal here with either the bread pudding or Krasna’s Creole Cream Cheese Cheesecake. But Tom was

anxious to leave and so we did.

It was hard not to notice on the way out how very beautiful the place is, with the curtained booths along the wall, the tile floors, and the paneled walls. There were people crammed into every inch of the place, sharing good food and great time. And no one had to catch anything on the parade route.

Happy Mardi Gras and on to Lent. Goodbye to meat.