Our last meals in New Orleans were our hotel breakfast in the FOUNTAIN LOUNGE (http://therooseveltneworleans.com/dining/fountain-lounge.html) of the Waldorf-Astoria Roosevelt Hotel and lunch at yes, another John Besh bastion, LUKE (www.chefjohnbesh.com).
I must mention our breakfasts because they were truly amazing. The fruits, the eggs, even the Smoked Salmon, which I opted to serve myself on a buttered biscuit rather than a bagel and cream cheese, were all huge portions and priced accordingly. Luckily for us breakfast in included (all my clients get this benefit at thousands of hotels worldwide!); if not, the bill would have been over $75 daily for the 3 of us! The amazing EGGS BENEDICT with local Jumbo Lump BLULE CRAB also came with Canadian Bacon and divine homemade Hollandaise, but the highlights were the LOUISIANA SHRIMP & GRITS with a sunnyside egg on top of the superbly spiced crustaceans, Stone Ground Cheese Grits and Tasso Cream. If you are looking for something even more local try the CRAWFISH & BOUDIN Eggs Benedict, the cholesterol alone will overload your monthly allowance.
That said our final meal was at LUKE, a French bistro style informal spot in the Business District sporting an old style pressed tin ceiling and even older looking ceiling fans and tile floors. The service here, as in other places, is superb and Kevin was on his toes to make us happy. Samuel opted for the Burger and Fries with Garlic Aioli, but we were a tad more adventurous, starting with a 1/2 dozen Gulf Oysters. There are east and west coast ones here as well, but when in Rome.... At $9.00 these were salty, yet plump bivalves and not the big fat ones we used to get here years ago that were almost mealy. A Blanche de Bruxelles beer for Will and a tasty carafe of BRUNN Gruner Veltliner for me quaffed our thirsts.
Will chose the CROQUE MADAME (A Croque Monsier with Grilled Chisesi Ham & Emmantaler Cheese topped with a Fried Organic Egg) which arrived at room temperature. Within minutes a new plate arrived with an ADDITIONAL cone of those tasty fries, so now we had three orders of frites!
I opted for the Assiette de CHARCUTERIE as Kevin said they really make it special here, and he was spot on.
The accoutrements alone consisted of Stone Ground Fig Mustard, House-made Bread & Butter Pickles, Pepper Jelly, Pickled Watermelon Rinds and Fennel Marmalade. The meats included Rosetta Sausage, Pate de Campagne, Badischer Presskopf - hog's head cheese, Rillettes of Local Pork with Muscadet Jelly on top and the most creamy divine Pate of Louisiana Rabbit & Chicken Livers with Truffles!!! Lots of toasted baguettes were served, but I tried not to use so much so I could enjoy the quite large platter; remember, they have this size thing there.
We were all quite full, so when Kevin asked about dessert, we cringed. No matter, he whisked out a complimentary plate of Steamed Chocolate with Vanilla Ice Cream, Dark Chocolate Rice Crunch wafer (think decadent rice crispy) and Caramel Sauce, which we each tasted but alas could not finish. It was a great ending to a superb weekend of fun and food.