Since our trip to New Orleans was to celebrate our anniversary, on our final night in Crescent City, we decided to fancy it up. So I did a little research into some of the finer dining in town — which meant abandoning our stomping grounds on Bourbon Street, of course. And when people think New Orleans cuisine, they still think Emeril. BAM! Since we were staying on Bourbon, getting to the posh Garden District, home of all those old school mansions and Emeril’s Delmonico steakhouse, meant taking a trolley ride! YAY! We’d been in town four days, but had yet to leave the French Quarter, so the trolley was super-fun. We hoped the St. Charles line for a 15-minute slide through town, cutting through the business district. And then we were there.
We were early for our 9 p.m. reservation, but the restaurant wasn’t crowded on a mid-summer Sunday night, so they seated us right away. While the restaurant was housed in a cool building — clearly 18th century architecture in the traditional style — the beiges and creams of the decor were a bit snooze-inducing.
Luckily, the menu woke us up! As we perused, they served us up some corn bread spiked with jalepeno. Sounds yummy, but I’ve made this before — and mine was better. Emeril’s take was a bit dry, and he could have kicked it up a notch if he’d added real corn kernels along with the jalepeno, as I do in my annual Thanksgiving rendition. Still, we were hungry and the uber-attentive waitstaff kept it coming, so we broke bread.
Navdeep ordered exactly what I’d picked out for him when checking out the menu online: a Moroccan-spiced lamb steak. I stuck to a more traditional cut. Both were perfectly cooked — a difficult challenge when you’re ordering medium-well to well. We know, sacrilege. But we’re brown people, and we like our meat cooked through.
The best part, though, was dessert. We ordered this deep chocolate flourless cake confection topped with a healthy dose of super-crunchy, stick-to-your-teeth toffee, and served up with a biting espresso ice cream. Plus cappuccino for me, and espresso for Navdeep, since that’s what he likes to drink. We felt like proper grown-ups on a proper grown-up date while we eavesdropped on the table of eight chattering not far from us about the latest Hollywood film shooting in New Orleans.
On the way back, we pondered, for a minute, walking like the New Yorkers we are. But the lure of the trolley — for all of $1.50 — was just too tempting, so we hoped it again and headed back to our Bourbon street digs, where we nabbed another $2 jello shot before calling it a day. All in all, a true fancied-up New Orleans night.
VISIT: Emeril’s Delmonico Steakhouse, 1300 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans; 504.525.4937