Friday, March 2, 2018

Tale of Two Restaurants with the Same Name

I love to eat.  So much so, I have been ordered by my doctor to shed a few pounds.  I don't know about you, but most of life's greatest moments revolve around good food and drink.  Think about a wedding.  What are you really excited about, the groom kissing the bride or the open full bar and the kick ass passed hors d'oeuvres?  I will only like you if you answer the latter.

So I get jacked for really awesome eats.  Yeah, I cook and like my cooking but I also love to taste and see what other brethren are doing locally, nationally and internationally.  That is how I become better as a chef,  To taste, see, experience new and awesome places.  They inspire me as a chef, and give me great ideas for new dishes and different ways to plate food.

So let me get to my first review.  And let me preface this by saying I am very sensitive to bad reviews.  They suck and I often times think they are full of s*^t, but that comes with the territory.  You ain't going to make everyone happy a 100 percent of the time.

I travel many weekends with my son for competitive soccer.  He plays on a USSDA team in Dallas.  Which essentially means the highest level youth soccer in America.  Very cool, but very time consuming.  We travel all over Texas and will do more this coming year across the great plains of the U.S.

One of the first trips of the season was to Houston, which we here in Dallas like to call the armpit of Texas.  Sorry Houston, but you mostly suck, except for some decent dines.

My son and I went alone and made it a boys trip.  Th year prior I was in hospital for most of the season and couldn't go to his games. So I wanted to make it special.  We went swag.  We stayed at  Highly recommend.  Very northern Italian/Tuscan vibe.  Big rooms, great bar, nice pool.  Loved it, as did my son who thought he was pimping it!

I made a reservation for after the game.  I knew he would have an appetite after running around for an hour and a half.  Win, lose or draw we were going to have a great night.

Well, his game was a bummer as we lost in the last minute of the game 1-0 to MLS Houston Dynamo.  Tough loss.  My son was bummed and dejected after the game but his spirits lifted when he asked if we were still doing dinner.  "Hell yes, the quickest way to get over a loss is too drown your sorrows with food and drink!"
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting and indoor
We went back to the hotel and got jazzed up and we he headed to  Yes the icon sister/brother restaurant of the iconic Brennan's in New Orleans.

I love the old established restaurant that has been around for years,  It had a reputation for excellence and an environment that suited that quest.  The restaurant was in a brick building, just outside the downtown area.  We were greeted by a very pleasant hostess and she swept us into the main dining room where they put us in the corner so we could have full view of the beautiful room. We had the lovely high back chairs that you could literally fall asleep in even without the aid of a cocktail. As you can see from my son's picture he was having a blast.

The service was great from the moment we arrived to the moment we sadly said goodbye.  The waiter was very warm and not snooty considering he was not going to get the biggest bill with only one adult and a child.  He seemed to enjoy serving my son.  We looked over the menu like vultures looking for its dead prey.  We were both ravenous.  The long drive, the long game, the long wait for dinner time to arrive.

After eating two baskets of garlic bread, having a nice glass of sauvignon blanc we decided to make our choices.  We ordered

Brennan's Texas Wedge Salad - my son

Houston Cured Bacon Lardons, Deep Ellum Blue Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes, 10/15 Shoe String Onions with a Smoked Jalapeno Buttermilk Dressing 
Bourbon Apple & Pecan Salad - me
Gala, Fuji, and Granny Smith apples, Tabasco Pecan Brittle, Maytag Blue Cheese, and "Bulleit" Spiced Cider Vinaigrette 

Hunter's Honey Roasted Duck - my son
Creole Fried Rice, Sunny Side up Quail Egg, and Mirliton Squash with Bird Dog Whiskey Glaze

Deviled Crab Stuffed Snapper - me
Indian Creek Mushrooms with Wilted Green and a Charred Chili Cream Sauce

I finished with Creole Bread Pudding which was just delicious and my son got their famous Banana's Foster served table side.

Bananas Foster

Both salads were just great.  Perfectly fresh, great textures, perfect amount of acidity and fat.  Great size, not too much but not at all small.

The gulf snapper was fresh and rich with the crab and the chili cream sauce.  My son's duck was gorgeous with its caramel bark and creamy quail egg.  I was surprised he ordered such a complex dish but he loved every bite.  It was all hot and perfectly executed Cajun cuisine.  It was easy to see why they were still packing the restaurant after all these years.  It was professional throughout.  This was what I wanted and expected.  It wasn't nouvelle cuisine, it was creole comfort food done prepared well.  I was thoroughly impressed by the execution of the staff in the front and the back of the house.  The flavors and the menu definitely resonated with me and gave me great ideas for our clients needing a Cajun feast.

Sadly, their is another restaurant by the same name but in New Orleans, that did not fit the bill......Part Deux.....