Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bayona (New Orleans) 01/10

Dauphine St, in the French Quarter, was Calle de Bayona which is where this restaurant gets its name. It is in a 200 year old cottage which one enters from a former carriage way. It has several rooms. We were seated at a large white clothed table in a very pleasant area made more attractive by a large flower arrangement. When we arrived Susan Spicer, one of America's most renowned chefs, was greeting guests and after chatting with her we arranged that, rather than eating off the menu, she would organize a degustation meal for us. At the same time J.P. (Jennifer Pleasant I think) organized a wine flight appropriate to the dishes. Susan Spicer is involved with partners in several New Orleans restaurants and has a wall full of certificates and laudatory articles from reviewers and organizations across America. We had eaten here some years ago but were less interested in food at that time and had a fairly ordinary dinner. Not so last night. A tray of bread,
made especially for Bayona and including a house made brioche and a plate of pickled vegetables
preceded the first course. We both love bread, on more one occasion, when service was slow, we ate so much we could hardly finish the meal. This was artisan bread and excellent. Fortunately the courses came with good timing so we were not jaded by it. First we received a seafood combination.
Lobster, scallop and tempura prawn, with a small salad, in a light slightly sweet sauce were prepared with a light hand and perfectly matched the sauce and the wine. This was followed with a foie gras pate with pear, a finger of toast and a delicate nutty salad.
The contrasting textures of these ingredients enhanced the flavour of the pate which filled our mouths with a phenomenal sensation. The next dish was red fish, a hugely popular local fish. It has a softish texture so that it almost dissolves in the mouth and no fishy taste at all. Next was a boned quail in a light batter. This was a series of exquisite dishes, beyond all expectation until the last main course. This lightly cooked meat dish
was excessively salty as was the sauce with which it came.
Sandra had some very nice house made sorbets

for dessert whilst I had pithihiviers with ice cream.

Susan Spicer is a person who understands how to make dishes relatively simply with clear well matched tastes. The plates are attractively set out, not too fussy, not dominated by any individual component. This might sound easy but it takes talent to turn simple ingredients into divine dinners.
Finally we got the bill and it was exceptional too - exceptionally reasonable.
Score:17.25 /20

No comments: