For our final day in New Orleans we knew we had to go out with a bang, so we decided to treat ourselves to the Jazz Brunch at the renowned Commander’s Palace.
Know for its alumni of famous chefs and southern hospitality, Commander’s Palace was located in the heart of the Garden District and fit in right in along the stunning mansions found on the neighboring streets.
We were seated in one of the restaurant’s dining rooms, but not before cutting through the kitchen in order to get there. Each of the tables had several balloons as a centerpiece while a jazz trio was making its rounds around the room, taking requests from diners. It was quite a scene to say the least.
We started the morning off with some cocktails. This was brunch, after all.
I ordered the Adelaide Swizzle (rum, lime juice, bitters, soda water) while Rachel went with her go-to, the ol’ Bloody Mary. This time, however, the vodka was freshly poured into her glass from a bottle of Finlandia that was enclosed in an ice block!
Our waiter delivered our drinks then served us a basket of their complimentary garlic bread. It was delicious, but that could be because it was drenched in butter. Nonetheless, we went through it rather quickly, and, unsurprising, I asked for seconds. Shocking, I know.
Their brunch is a three course format where the price depends on what entree you order. You also have a choice of an appetizer or soup and dessert.
I kicked the meal off with their signature turtle soup after asking for the waiter’s recommendation. Once it was served, the waiter took a bottle of sherry and poured some in the bowl in the shape of a heart. Nice touch.
The soup turned out to be an excellent choice as the tomato base was rich and hearty while the pieces of turtle (and pork, as the waiter described before ordering it) really added to the overall texture. It was almost like a bisque, and I would not hesitate to order it again if I’m ever back in town.
Rachel decided to get poached oysters in a champagne cream sauce topped with caviar. She had been talking about getting oysters during the whole trip, and we never quite made it to ACME Oyster House, so this seemed like her last opportunity in NOLA to get some.
The dish was very different from what she had anticipated as the sauce was a little heavy, but the oysters were huge and unlike anything she had ever tasted. They were so plump that you could eat them with a knife and fork. Considering that she was expecting something more like traditional oysters, she might have ordered something else if the dish was described to her a little better.
For the main course, I ordered the Harris Ranch beef tips with poached eggs and grits. I hate to say it but I was honestly disappointed with the entree. It was not anything special as the beef did not necessarily stand out. In fact, it tasted rather bland and could have used some more seasoning. The grits were decent but the overall presentation really missed the mark.
I’ve seen poached eggs served a handful of times, but in this particular occasion, one of the eggs was already severed with the yolk running into the beef and grits below. Considering the elegant presentation of our first courses, it was kind of surprising to notice this gaffe.
Rachel’s entree was a crawfish, crab, and seafood courtboullion served with two poached eggs and cakes of goat cheese grits underneath. She asked for the hollandaise sauce on the side, which was probably a good idea since it was easily one of the richest breakfast dishes she’s ever had.
The combination of the eggs on the grit cakes with the seafood broth and various types of shellfish made each bite incredibly decadent. If she wasn’t already fairly full from the appetizer and garlic bread, she would have easily cleaned her plate, but the whole dish was just too much to handle. I helped a little but I was so full myself.
I concluded the meal with another southern staple, pecan pie. Commander’s Palace certainly redeemed themselves with this dessert. Between the accompanying vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce, and candied pecans draped atop, it was a delicious ending to a very filling brunch.
Rachel decided to go with the dish Commander’s Palace is best known for, and got the Creole bread pudding soufflé, served table side with a whiskey sauce. It had familiar flavors of a bread pudding, but it was so light and airy that it was almost hollow when she dug into it. She was definitely glad she had the opportunity to try it, but wasn’t so sure if it was worth the three dollar up-charge.
While Commander’s Palace is described as one of the places you must visit while in New Orleans, it may have been one meal too many, as we were beyond full by the time we were ready to head to the airport. Let’s just say we didn’t need to eat dinner that night.