Wednesday, March 11, 2015

NOLA Day 1: Muriel's Jackson Square

My first dinner in New Orleans was at Muriel's (@MurielsNOLA), a contemporary Creole joint, in the heart of Jackson Square.  The interiors on the first floor had an elegant and historical feel to it with antique frames and mirrors lining exposed brick walls.  For much of the seventeen and eighteen hundreds, the property was primarily a residence to the likes of the Destrehan and Poydras families, which explains its homey character.  

I can describe the service as charming and accommodating.  Our wait staff were also very knowledgeable with the food and drink menus making various recommendations throughout our meal.

Many of us took advantage of the table d'hote menu which essentially is a 3-course prix fixe (appetizer, entree, and dessert) for $39.95.

The turtle soup was one of our appetizers.  I was excited to taste this dish as it was my first experience with the soup and because many reviewers of the New Orleans food scene claim that it is a must-try specialty.  But, the first reason I was disappointed with the soup was because it was served relatively cold.  This could have been a function of our large party (there were 14 of us) since they were attempting to serve us all at once; however, it's still unacceptable.  Further, the soup was bland and flavourless despite the traditional pour of sherry on top of the soup right before serving.  I'm glad this was not my only experience of turtle soup while I was in New Orleans; otherwise, it would have skewed my opinion on this delicacy.

Turtle Soup

On the other hand, the shrimp and goat cheese crepe appetizer, was fantastic.  The crepe was crispy to contrast the warm goat cheese within.  The goat cheese itself was quite mild, perhaps mild enough for a non-goat cheese lover to appreciate.  The shrimp were fresh and tasty and the buttery cream sauce of chardonnay brought everything together.  The dish was topped with onions, tomatoes and bell peppers.

Shrimp & Goat Cheese Crepes

The pecan encrusted baby drum, one of our mains, was delicious.  The drum itself was cooked perfectly.  While the roasted pecan crust was an ingenious idea, I thought it would be crunchier.  The sauce was amazing though as it creamy yet foamy and had a lemon tartness to it.

Pecan Encrusted Baby Drum

Shrimp and Grits

The grits served in my shrimp and grits entree were deliciously creamy, airy and smooth - although I loved how some of the texture was retained. However, I wish I could say the same about the shrimp.  The shrimp seemed on the edge of going bad as the flesh tasted a bit moldy to me despite being in a flavourful green tomato relish.

On to dessert!  In my opinion, the desserts were the stars of the entire meal.  What really stood out was the bread pudding - it's a must-have.  The spongy and eggy bread was warm throughout and the candied pecans gave that crunchy element.  The caramelized rum sauce had a good viscosity to it and had the right amount of sweetness!

Pain Perdu Bread Pudding with Candied Pecans and Rum Sauce

Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Ice Cream Sandwich

In all, there were definitely enough favourites to warrant a return visit.  A great first dinner in the French Quarter!

Muriel's Jackson Square
801 Chartres Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116

Muriel's Jackson Square on Urbanspoon

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