Thursday, November 12, 2009. Overcooked At Vincent's.

Written by Tom Fitzmorris November 12, 2009 06:24 in

Dining Diary

Thursday, November 12, 2009. Overcooked At Vincent's. I learned yesterday that Sid-mar's--the seafood house in Bucktown that was first destroyed by Katrina, then evicted from its site by the Army Corps of Engineers, will reopen--but in normal Metairie, instead of the very abnormal Metairie that was Bucktown. You don't get much more normal than a space on Veterans Blvd. Specifically, the site of Gimchi, which could not persuade Metairaneans to eat Korean food. I thought I'd better drive over there to check that out, since I couldn't raise anyone on the phone. Indeed, Gimchi is gone.

I remained in the vicinity for dinner, and wound up at Vincent's. A table of four left shortly after I arrived (should I check my deodorant?), and thereafter I was the only one in the place. What has happened to this formerly packed house? Competition has heated up a lot, with Austin's expanding a little more every time I look at it, and Cypress staying popular. But there's got to be more to it than that. If I were venturing theories, it would be that Vincent's kitchen overcooks almost everything. But that's nothing new, and a lot of New Orleans Italians like their red sauce really cooked down and their pasta soft.

I started with artichokes Vincent, a sizzling collection of artichoke hearts, shrimp and crabmeat. The waiter, who knew me, brought another artichoke dish for me to try. This one was a panneed (a little too much) artichoke bottom, set on a plate with some cool, salad-like items. Nice, and different.

On to cannelloni. I haven't had it here since the short-lived North Shore Vincent's closed. Vincent always claimed his cannelloni was the best in town. But there's that overcooking again. The sauce is reduced too far, and too thick. The Alfredo sauce surrounding it was richer than I remember it. The effect put me in mind of that overwhelming cannelloni I had at Anthony's Fornino a week or so ago. If a rich taste is good, it doesn't follow that a richer taste is better. This was beyond my limits.

Vincent wasn't there, but he works unusual hours. He tells me he likes to show up when the dinner service is finished, and then cook stuff into the wee hours of the morning. This is where his terrific crawfish bisque came from. Say! We should be seeing crawfish soon. I'll come back for that.

*** Vincent’s. Metairie: 4411 Chastant St. 504-885-2984. Creole Italian.