Zagat recently listed Gautreau’s Restaurant as #1 on its list of Top 50 Restaurants in New Orleans. Over 17 years of traveling to NOLA together, we’d never eaten there until last night.
There’s no sign above the door to to let you know you’ve arrived at this restaurant in the heart of a residential Uptown neighborhood. While it may feel like a speakeasy, you can walk right in without a knock on the door. The dining room is intimate (some might say claustrophobic), a bit noisy and full of locals (an encouraging sign).
Our knowledgeable waiter provided helpful details about dishes on the menu which helped us limit ourselves to 2 and 1/2 courses each to avoid overindulgence. For an appetizer, Paul ordered a favorite recommended by Zagat, Seared Sea Scallops. Last night’s preparation came in balsamic brown butter with parsnip purée, roasted pear, and sorrel. The kitchen perfectly prepared the scallops, but the sauce was both literally and figuratively beneath them. ⭐️⭐️1/2
My appetizer of Foie Gras Torchon compensated for the poor showing of Paul’s scallops. My slice of foie gras came with cherries cooked in a port wine reduction, hazelnut granola, honeycrisp apple, frisée and toasted brioche — a well composed symphony of salty, sweet, crispy, crunchy and creamy goodness. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Paul and I split a salad course to compensate for all the rich foods eaten over the weekend: Butter lettuce with roasted grapes, Manchego, pickled shallots, and Marcona almonds in a balsamic vinaigrette. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
For our entrées, we ordered a Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands of California seen on several restaurant lists: Kosta Browne. A truly captivating earthy nose and a joy to drink.
We drank this wonderful wine with the Mozzarella and Oyster Mushroom Arancini and Roasted Chicken with Rosemary Jus.
My fork broke the crispy, crunchy shell of the arancini into the creamy rice and mushroom center. Each bite of arancini scooped through the bed of braised cippolinis, ricotta and eggplant-tomato ragu. A great choice for vegetarians. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Most menus in fine restaurants offer a comforting and homey roast chicken which you might pass up for something more exotic and adventurous. The entrée Paul ordered from this menu taught us a lesson: disregard this roast chicken at your own peril. The kitchen served split breasts with crispy, caramelized skin over garlic mashed potatoes covered in the rosemary jus with shiitakes. The white meat of chicken breasts never tasted so good. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
We honestly did not think we’d make it past our entrées. Faced with the decision, we chose a light dessert: the Citrus and Almond Pavlova, a crisp meringue cake served with blood orange sorbet and ginger yogurt mousse. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
If you’re looking to dine on food that honors French cooking traditions in a lively setting, call Gautreau’s for a place at their table.