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Review: Roosterfish

Grilled Crostini from Roosterfish

Grilled Crostini from Roosterfish

I have a general rule when reviewing a restaurant that I dine there at least three times. But I’m willing to make an exception for pop-up restaurants since the menu changes weekly.

You gotta love social media. Without it, it would have taken me much longer to find Roosterfish — New Orleans’ latest pop-up place by chefs Evan Benson and Cory Bourgeois.

It just so happened a friend of mine on Facebook liked the Roosterfish page last night. Me being the nosy foodie I am checked it out, salivated over the menu, texted a friend, hopped in the car and headed over.

Roosterfish pops up in the Tartine kitchen located at 7217 Perrier St. They’re popping up every Tuesday starting at 6 p.m. with a menu featuring seafood that’s expected to change weekly.

Last night’s experience is a great sign of things to come.My friend and I ordered six small plates to split.

Octopus Ceviche from Roosterfish

Octopus Ceviche from Roosterfish

First up was the Grilled Crostini with Lima puree, leek onion compote, buratta and truffled honey. Honestly, this dish had me at truffled honey and buratta. While I wish the bread were a little more crisp, all the flavors worked great together. Especially the truffled honey I had such high expectations for. The buratta was top notch as well.

Next up was the Octopus Ceviche with cilantro, watermelon and ginger soy citronette. This is by far the best ceviche I’ve had in New Orleans. It’s always surprised me with all the fresh seafood available that more restaurants aren’t doing spectacular ceviche in this city, but Roosterfish got it 100% right. It was vibrant on the plate, composed well flavorwise and had just the right amount of sweetness, saltiness and acidity.

Shrimp Dumplings from Roosterfish

Shrimp Dumplings from Roosterfish

Following the ceviche, the next plate was the Mussels with smoked tomato, chorizo, chilis and roasted garlic. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of mussels. I find them to be too much work for too little flavor, but these were good. I would have to mark this dish not applicable since I don’t have enough experience with mussels to know good from great.

Following that dish was my favorite dish of the night: Shrimp Dumplings with corn coconut soup, ancho bubbles and cilantro oil. Wow! I was ready to lick the bowl clean. The corn coconut soup made my eyes roll back. The shrimp dumpling was also one of the best I’ve ever had. To me, it was the perfect homage to dim sum just prepared in an updated way. I’m gonna do my best to recreate that corn coconut soup. Two major thumbs up on this entire dish.

Next was the Seared Gulf Fish (Drum) with brussel leaves, truffled cauliflower and beurre noisette. This dish, for me, was the low point of the whole experience. The cut of my fish was too thick so I didn’t get the crispiness I was hoping for. Additionally, the brussel leaves were a little overpowering for the subtlety of the drum. That said, the truffled cauliflower was a winner in my book. Notice a pattern with the truffles?

The final dish was the Lump Crab Gnocchi with smoked mushrooms, sage and sweet pea puree. A great finish to the savory portion of the meal. The gnocchi was light and pillowy, but the crab meat could have used a little seasoning especially combined with the pea puree. Still a good dish all around.

I should have been stuffed by this point, but how was I going to resist a slice of Lemon Icebox Pie? It’s just not in my nature. And I made the right choice. The pie had one of the best homemade graham cracker crusts I’ve ever had and the lemon filling was the perfect consistency. I didn’t want it to end.

Mussels from Roosterfish

Mussels from Roosterfish

Overall, I’m extremely glad I got the urge to go to Roosterfish. It won’t be my last time. I’m very excited to see this place continue and succeed because it’s that good. Do yourself a favor and mark your calendar for the next Tuesday you can and make the trip over.

Roosterfish is located at 7217 Perrier StS and open on Tuesday for dinner from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Be sure to like the Roosterfish Facebook page or follow @Roosterfishnola to stay update on their menu and news.

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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Eatin'

 

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Recipe: Coconut Shrimp Curry

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Coconut Shrimp Curry


I’m pretty sure is the third curry recipe I’m posting, but the stuff is just so damn good. This one is a sort of a hybrid of coconut shrimp and Thai curry, hence the name Coconut Shrimp Curry.

Curry is so full of flavor, it’s quickly become one of my favorite dishes. And it’s not that hard to make — especially with the assistance of a food processor.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Coconut Shrimp Curry blends shrimp, vegetables, pineapple and toasted coconut in a Thai curry.


Ingredients:

For the curry sauce:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, minced
  • 1 TBSP dried chili flakes (less if you don’t want it too spicy)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
  • 3 TBSP fish sauce
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 TBSP light brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Gulf Shrimp in Coconut Curry

    Gulf Shrimp in Coconut Curry

  • 1 TBSP ketchup (or tomato paste)

For the curry:

  • 1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1/3 cup dry toasted coconut

Directions:

  1. Place all curry sauce ingredients in a food processor and process well. Alternatively, whisk the ingredients together and stir well to combine.
  2. Pour sauce into a deep pot and heat over medium-high heat until boiling, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium. Add the vegetables, pineapple and shrimp, stirring to mix. Simmer until shrimp look plump and turn pink.
  4. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm while you toast the coconut.
  5. Toasted Coconut in Curry

    Toasted Coconut in Curry

  6. Place dry shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened) in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat. “Fry” the coconut, stirring continually until it turns golden-brown and is fragrant. Then turn off heat.
  7. Add half of the toasted coconut to the curry and stir to combine.
  8. Taste for salt and sweetness, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough, and more brown sugar if you want it sweeter. Also, you can also add chili sauce if you’d like it spicier.
  9. To serve, transfer curry into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the rest of the toasted coconut on top of each dish and serve (over rice if desired).

As I live in New Orleans, I’m lucky enough to have access to fresh Gulf shrimp. They really make this dish stand out from using frozen shrimp, but you gotta use what you have access to. I recommend fresh over frozen any day.

As this is a curry, it goes great over rice, but it’s good enough to eat it without. The choice is yours. Enjoy this Coconut Shrimp Curry!

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Cookin', Entrees, One-Pot Wonders, Recipes

 

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The ABCs of Festival Season in Louisiana

French Quarter Festival

French Quarter Festival Sign

It’s festival season in Louisiana! For those unfamiliar with what exactly this means, it means it’s time to indulge in good food, listen to amazing music, hang out with great friends and just celebrate Louisiana life. Although we generally do this all year long. In fact, festivals go on in every month down here.

To put you in the festival spirit, I’m sharing my Louisiana festival knowledge (and I’ve learned a lot from researching this post) — from Abita to Zydeco.

Abita — One of the best beers to come from Louisiana. It’s no surprise it’s readily available at most of the festivals in the state. More importantly, festival season coincides with Abita Strawberry Harvest season — a beer brewed with local strawberries.

Bands — From local musicians to international acts, bands from all over come to play the festivals of Louisiana.

Crawfish — It’s no secret we love us some crawfish in Louisiana. The food reflects that. From crawfish pie to crawfish bread to just plain boiled crawfish, you can’t go to a festival without ordering something crawfish-related. And in case you’re wonder, there’s a whole festival dedicated to mudbugs called the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival.

Crawfish Gumbo

Crawfish is always popular in Louisiana.
Photo by Jon Sullivan

Daiquiris — Festival fun aside, it gets hot. And there’s no better way to cool off than with a frozen daiquiri. Bonus points if it’s made using real fruit.

Etouffee — A delicious Louisiana dish made with seafood or chicken, rice and a spicy gravy. A cousin to jambalaya. You’ll probably find both at any festival you attend.

Flags — Some festivals are so packed you have to make your own meeting point. That’s when a flag comes in handy. Just set up your chairs, attach your flags and tell your friends to gather under your flag. The more unique it is, the easier you are to find.

Gueydan — Every year in August, the folks of Gueydan hold their annual Duck Festival.

Hot Sauce — You’ll find it at every festival food vendor. Whether it’s Tabasco, Crystal, Louisiana or another brand, don’t forget to add it to your food. And yes, there is a Cajun Hot Sauce Festival.

Steamboat Natchez

Cruise around the Mississippi River aboard the Steamboat Natchez during French Quarter Festival or JazzFest.

International — Louisiana festivals aren’t just for locals, they attract visitors from around the globe. Lafayette even hosts a Festival International de Louisiane.

JazzFest — The biggest and probably most well-known festival in Louisiana. For two weekends each year, the New Orleans Fairgrounds are transformed into a humongous festival with a variety of musicians, tons of food vendors and lots of arts and crafts. JazzFest regularly attracts hundreds of thousands of people.

Kids — All the Louisiana festivals are fun for the whole family.

Lecompte — Known for the Lecompte Pie Festival, this town’s festival has my favorite festival slogan: “A slice of Louisiana is waiting for you.”

Money — Get out your wallet. Festivals are fun, but they aren’t all that cheap. Especially when you want to try a lot of dishes and have a few drinks. Most are free for admission, but if not, that will set you back as well.

Natchitoches — Home of the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. Lots of lights and holiday cheer at this festival. If it looks/sounds familiar, you may recognize it from the movie Steel Magnolias.

Oysters — Another of Louisiana’s treasured foods. Shuck ’em and enjoy them on the halfshell or find them cooked into a gumbo.

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake with fresh Louisiana strawberries at the Pontchatoula Strawberry Festival.

Pontchatoula — Home of the best strawberries on Earth so it makes since that Pontchatoula is host to the Pontchatoula Strawberry Festival. You’ll find strawberry drinks and desserts galore at this one.

The Queens — A festival isn’t complete without a beauty queen to reign over it. This is the South after all.

Rayne — Home of my favorite festival theme: the Rayne Frog Festival. When you’re at a festival about frogs, how can you not have a good time?

Shrimp — Seafood is king in Louisiana and shrimp are at the top of the seafood list at most festivals. There’s even a Shrimp and Petroleum Festival in Morgan City.

Tevas — These ugly-ass sandals are all over the place at most festivals. If you have a pair, my apologies, but they just aren’t flattering — on anyone.

Umbrella — Sure, you may need it in case it rains, but what you really need it for is to generate shade of some sort.

Variety — You’ll find this in every aspect of a festival. The music, the food, the people, the theme, the rides. Most festivals have a little something for everyone.

Watermelon — Is there a better summer fruit? No wonder the town of Farmerville holds the Watermelon Festival every year.

Xylograph — X is always a hard one, but a xylograph is a wood carving. You’ll find them at most arts and crafts areas of festivals. Take home one with your name on it…literally.

Yambilee — Sweet potatoes are also abundant in Louisiana and Yambilee in Opelousas showcases the bright orange tubules.

Zydeco — The famous Cajun music is guaranteed to be playing at a stage near you when you attend a Louisiana festival.

Do yourself a favor and visit Louisiana and one of these fine festivals. I promise you’ll have a great time.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Livin'

 

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Review: Superior Seafood

Oysters Superior

Oysters Superior

Superior Seafood is the latest venture from the group behind Superior Grill. Maybe I’m alone in my thinking, but when I think of Superior, I think of drinks. Specifically, drinks that get you shit faced. The food is always an afterthought. Am I right?

That said, the menu at Superior Seafood is a beast. Fresh catch specials, sandwiches, hot apps, cold apps, soups, salads, steaks, it seems to never end. With a menu of this size, it would take months to sample everything so I’m sticking to what I’ve had.

By far, my favorite thing I’ve had is the frozen pomegranate mojito. The team behind the famous margaritas may have one upped themselves with this new frozen concoction. To make things better, the mojitos (pomegranate and plain) are 2 for 1 during the happy hour (4-6 p.m.). Getting wasted on a budget — always a plus.

Marinated Crab Claws

Marinated Crab Claws

Drinks aside, the best food item I’ve had is the Marinated Crab Claws. The claws are served cold in a marinade that has a subtle kick — I’m pretty sure it’s horseradish. Whatever it is, it works. I might have to stop in for these regularly.

Next, I moved on to the Oysters Superior platter, a sampling of Chargrilled Oysters, Oysters Bienville (shrimp stuffing with bacon and cheese) and Oysters Rockefeller (spinach and Herbsaint). All three of the oyster variation were very good, but just short of excellent. I didn’t get enough of the oyster taste I was expecting.

I did get the oyster taste I was hoping for with the raw oysters. Superior Seafood sources them locally so you know they’re worth shucking and slurping.

Tuna Tartar

Tuna Tartar

The Tuna Tartar was decent, but I’ve definitely had better. The toast overwhelms the subtlety of the tuna, but the wasabi and avocado due add to the tuna itself. I would highly recommend ignoring the toast that accompanies the rest of the dish.

A dish that fell completely flat for me was the Shrimp and Grits. I will commend Superior Seafood for using milk or cream as the grits based versus water (lots of restaurants make that amateur mistake). I can also forgive the fact that one of my shrimp wasn’t fully shelled (it happens). What I can’t forgive is serving peeled shrimp that haven’t been deveined.

To me, that’s a little lazy and would have helped the dish out some. The tasso cream sauce accompanying the Shrimp and Grits was also very watery, almost soupy, and just didn’t add anything.

All things considered, I’m sure I’ll be back for dinner, but I’m not in a rush. I would rush back for happy hour to drink and nibble on some of the apps. Either way, Superior Seafood is a welcome addition to St. Charles and Napoleon for a spot that had been empty since Katrina.

Superior Seafood is located at 4338 St. Charles Ave. and is open daily at 11 a.m.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Eatin'

 

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Review: Kim Son

Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls

If you live in New Orleans, it’s possible you’ve never heard of Kim Son. It flies under the radar as far as Vietnamese places go and it’s located off the beaten culinary path. If you do know about Kim Son, you know it’s one of the best go-to places for Vietnamese and features one of New Orleans’ most expansive menus. Even Cheesecake Factory would be put to shame by the number of offerings.

I only stumbled across Kim Son because one night Pho Tau Bay and Nine Roses happened to be closed. Since then, it’s become my number one spot for Vietnamese. As a bonus, they also have a ton of Chinese dishes if you don’t want Vietnamese.

Pho with Medium Rare Beef Flank

Pho with Medium Rare Beef Flank

Kim Son has the best pho I’ve ever had, some of the best tofu I’ve ever had, and the salt baked items (shrimp, scallops, lobster, tofu and squid) are out of this world.

I can never go without having something salt baked. Usually, it’s the shrimp, but when I feel like splurging, I go for the lobster. The seafood itself is baked (though I think it’s fried) to an amazing crispy texture. Plus, the sauteed onions with ground black pepper and chili flake send things over the top.

Another favorite of mine is the Pho with Medium Rare Beef Flanks. The beef comes out medium rare, but cooks in the hot broth releasing even more juice into the broth and taking in the broth flavors at the same time. That’s my favorite version, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Salt Baked Shrimp

Salt Baked Shrimp

The make-your-own beef spring rolls make a great app to share at the table. You customize your spring rolls by adding in cucumber, cilantro, lettuce, carrots and other garnishes.

You also can’t go wrong with any of the tofu dishes. Try the tofu curry in the clay pot or the tofu with eggplant. Kim Son calls it “bean cake,” but rest assured, it’s tofu.

I haven’t had time to make it through the whole menu (that would probably take years), but everything I’ve ever had has been outstanding. It’s consistently fresh, never greasy and always tasty. Other Vietnamese places have great dishes, but none of them can match Kim Son’s overall effort.

Kim Son is located 349 Whitney Ave. in Gretna on the Westbank and is open Mon. through Sat. from 11 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Eatin'

 

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Review: Neptune Oyster (Boston)

Neptune Oyster Bar

Neptune Oyster Bar

First things first, being a Louisiana native, I’ve always considered myself a Gulf Coast oyster purist. For years, I was convinced they were the best on the planet. Sadly, while I love the Gulf Coast, Neptune Oyster in Boston has reversed my stance on where to get the best oysters.

Located in Boston’s North End, Neptune Oyster looks unassuming from the outside. When you get inside it’s full of hustle and bustle in a very confined space, but as fresh as this seafood is, the location could be a back alley and it wouldn’t matter.

After reviewing the oyster and seafood offerings from the raw bar, I decided to get a mix of oysters from all over the country. Oyster #1 was a Wellfleet oyster from Wellfeet, Mass. Described as medium, very high salt and with a sweet butter finish, it’s sounded like a good bet. And it was. I could taste all the elements in the description. Before I continue as I should definitely point out that the descriptions Neptune Oyster provides are very accurate. So trust what’s on the order sheet.

Oysters at Neptune Oyster

Half Dozen Oyster Variety

Oyster #2 was a Katama Bay oyster from Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. My reason for ordering it was because of the description as having a “buttered popcorn finish.” Once again, spot on. This oyster had a very buttery taste that I really enjoyed.

Oyster #3 was a Glidden Point oyster from Darmariscotta, Maine. Listed as having a citrus finish, this was probably my least favorite of the half dozen. It had the lowest flavor profile of all the oysters I tried so I don’t have much to say about it.

I also don’t have much to say about Oyster #4 (a Peacock Cove oyster from Cumberland, N.B.). I was barely able to pick up on the “hints of champagne” listed in the description. Maybe I need some actual champagne as an accompaniment instead of my Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer.

Oyster #5 was by far my favorite — a Kumamoto oyster from Willapa Bay, Wash. The description suggested “hints of honeydew melon.” Sounds insane, right? It was insanely accurate. I definitely picked up on the honeydew melon flavor.

Oyster #6 was my second favorite — a Kusshi oyster from Deep Bay, B.C. Listed as having a “cucumber finish,” this oyster also lived up to its description. I can’t tell you how pleasantly surprised I was that the descriptions matched the oysters’ flavors.

Lobster Roll at Neptune Oyster

Lobster Roll at Neptune Oyster

For my main course, I had a cold lobster roll (Neptune Oyster also has a hot version using clarified butter instead of mayo). I couldn’t leave Boston without having at least one lobster roll, and I’m glad I ordered one here. The roll was buttery and grilled to perfection while the lobster itself was plump, fresh and rich. When combined with the light mayo and the roll, it was bliss. The fries were also very good. Probably the best I had during my trip so don’t over look those. Add some Tabasco to your ketchup and you’ve got a great meal.

I’m a little disappointed I discovered Neptune Oyster so late into my trip, but at least I found it. It’s one of the premier oyster bars in Boston and probably one of the best on the East Coast period. It will definitely be a stop I make next time I return to Boston. Neptune Oyster had the best and freshest seafood I had during my stay.

Neptune Oyster, located in Boston’s North End at 63 Salem Street, opens daily at 11:30 a.m.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Eatin'

 

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