My procrastination nearly led us to starvation. Here we were at 6:45 on Valentine’s Day and so far from home with no place to eat on the biggest restaurant night of the year. We were walking back to the hotel from God knows where….possibly a pub, when we stumbled upon the Louisiana Bistro, a mere two doors down from the hotel entrance. There was a couple waiting patiently for the 7 pm opening and a single older gentleman waiting as well. Being curious, I asked the couple if it was their first time at the restaurant. The man replied with a very deep Louisiana accent, “Heck no, but any place that has ‘Dirty Bird’ from the ‘Bitch Please’ menu and I’m there!”. Okay then. Turning to the single gentleman I asked the same question. He replied, “I come here every Friday night, it’s that good.” Okay then. Message received. I sent the rest of the family to clean up at the hotel and waited around with the locals for the restaurant to open. After they had been seated I was asked if I had a reservation. I replied in the negative and was told to wait while the server checked directly with the chef. Yes, this place is small and very similar to the feel of a bistro in Paris and there are not many covers per night. I was told (somewhat bluntly) to get my family here within 15 minutes or the reservation would be gone. This was almost enough attitude to get me to reconsider, but we were pretty strapped for dinner.
Luckily, while back at the hotel, I was able to impress upon them the need for speed and we arrived back at the restaurant with minutes to spare. I’m pleased to say we enjoyed the rest of the night and the serving staff were really nice and personable.
We started the night with a crab cake, or rather crab ball. It was served on top of the most delicious Sweet Corn Maque Choux. Sweet and spicy. I must learn to make this corn as it was the perfect accompaniment to the crab cake (having a similar but spicier flavour to the tamarind sauce at GW Fins on the previous night).Of course one crab cake wasn’t enough..we had to try the Boudin Balls made of traditional Louisiana pork sausage. One taste and I knew these balls celebrated all the goodness that a pig can give. To quote Arthur Hoggett, “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.” Luckily, these delicious Boudin Balls came in groups of three.I was still really intrigued by the mention of ‘Dirty Bird’. I tried to guess the identity of the ‘Gooey dark sauce’ mentioned on the menu but the server only winked at me and with a mischievous grin encouraged me to see for myself. I like a good mystery as much as the next person so I ordered it. The duck confit was so delicious, moist, and flavourful; the duck was treated with respect and confited to perfection. It sat upon a raft of haricots verts and dirty rice (of course). The mysterious goo? You’ll just have to try it for yourself! By the way, it took us a while to get the ‘tongue in cheek’ local humour but the ‘Bitch Please’ menu symbol was ‘BP’ which also stands for a well known oil company. The Dirty Bird and dark mysterious goo was meant to playfully emulate the ducks covered in oil from the BP oil spill in 2010.The kids weren’t really too hungry so they opted for a lighter dinner. Kid number one had a garden salad with blue cheese which he gobbled up and kid number two decided to try gumbo. Bear in mind this was the first time she had ever tried it so when it arrived and it looked like an insipid dark goo, she panicked. She did give it a good try but it wasn’t really her thing. I think you have to be raised with gumbo to enjoy it. Hubby had the Creole Surf and Turf. On his plate was a thick, almost baseball sized prime cut steak which was so tender and flavourful. As if that wasn’t enough, it came literally covered in crawfish tails. Apologies for the really crap photo! And, you can also see Hubby’s favourite NOLA drink in the photo; a Mint Julep. I must mention here that the cocktails at Louisiana Bistro are really top notch.Initially we had no designs on dessert but the kids each had light meals so we thought it might be a good idea to end on a sweet note. Hubby had a flourless chocolate cake with a raspberry reduction. Kid number two ordered her very first bread pudding. Might I add I was very proud of her for branching out and trying another new dish especially after the ‘gumbo incident’. I ordered the Creole cream cheese ice cream with balsamic sauce. I’m not sure what Creole cream cheese is but it definitely has a different flavour than any other cream cheese I’ve tasted. Last but definitely not least Kid number one had a bourbon float. Yup, with real bourbon….which he apparently really liked. Go figure!
We enjoyed the food and hospitality here so much that we made another reservation for Sunday night right away. Sure, the place is a little pricey but we did enjoy the food (except the gumbo) and it was evident to us that Chef Mars takes great pride in his creations. The small size of the bistro ensures that while there are not many patrons per night, all of them go home well satisfied.
337 Dauphine St
New Orleans, LA 70112