Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stella! (New Orleans) 09

"Stella! is an intimate restaurant located in the French Quarter of New Orleans where Scott Boswell, Executive Chef and Owner, is leading the local dining scene into a bold new era of dining, with exciting, Global-Modern cuisine influenced by world flavors as well as his Louisiana roots.
With elegant and newly renovated rooms, a thoughtful and award winning wine program and a knowledgeable and friendly staff, the stage is set for the arrival of truly unique and flavorful dishes. Scott Boswell’s star is rising with a rather loud elegance that is all his own. The Louisiana native and chef/owner of New Orleans’s hottest restaurant, Stella! has a vision of bringing his globally inspired flavors to markets where they’ll be fully appreciated."
Promises promises - that's what his web site says So how was it really?
It was fantastic.
You enter facing a bar with a large, elegant room to the right and a smaller room seating about 18 to the left. This more sparsely decorated room lined with dark wood walls on three sides and bare brick on the fourth side has a pleasant sophisticated atmosphere created in part by the adequate but dim lighting provided by a huge chandelier and a fresh flower setting

and a candle on each double clothed table. Before the meal we were offered a crunchy ?Kimche prawn in a champagne mango sauce.

Very unusual and quite lovely. I started with a lobster egg truffle
($20) which the waitress warned me was very small, and it was, but very tasty too with a couple of good slices of black Burgoyne truffle which had excellent texture for this dish but no discernable smell or flavour. A great starter and one I might try to emulate. The foie gras appetizes ($22)

was 'out of this world'. It had been deveined, marinated in wine, gently poached and was presented cold beneath a small toast. Unfortunately this photo goes nowhere in expressing what the dish was like.
The texture and taste could not have been better - a dish to remember and rave about. Why take a photograph of bread?
It's to remind me that each time we asked for bread they put it in the oven and a five minutes later served it piping hot For mains I had duck five ways. ($34)

Hot won ton foie gras, another taste sensation, Miso duck soup, just super, Sezchwan seared breast, glazed leg, and stir fry duck with vegetables greatly enhanced with slivers of ginger. This was a quite excellent meal. The even better meal, however, was lobster. ($44)

With all the shell removed there were two lightly breaded claws and plenty of lobster meat accompanied by the most delicately prepared baby root vegetables parsnip and turnip and potato alll in a superb light sauce. The dessert we finished with was a chocolate cheese sandwich ($11)

which worked exceptionally well the chocolate sweetness blending beautifully with the mild soft savoury cheese. (De Lyse de Bourgogne) A small plate of Mignardise

arrived to finish the meal. Once again the only coffee on offer was with chicory. Scott Boswell was happy to chat with us. I was surprised that in his c.v he worked at La Rochelle which allowed him to work with “Iron Chef French” Hiroyuki Sakai in 2004. Additionally, his pursuit of culinary excellence has lead him to learn alongside U.S. and international top chefs including “Iron Chef Chinese” Chin Kenichi, “Iron Chef Japanese” and current “Iron Chef America” Masaharu Morimoto, and Chef Eric Ziebold. Seeing his career in stages, Boswell considers all these educational experiences evolutionary to his cuisine. And a bit more from his web page: Boswell believes in the stars or what he calls his culinary destiny. He endeavors to reach beyond the senses to create a culinary performance in everything he does. His work at Stella! along with his international experience and reputation has given him a global platform with opportunities on the horizon that will allow his creativity to reach greater heights.Scott Boswell is all about “food that shouts with a uniquely global voice.” What more can I say?

Score: 18.5/20

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