1403 Washington Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Commander’s Palace is a veritable New Orleans institution, serving refined creole cuisine since 1880. Located literally across the road from Lafayette Cemetery Number 1– it’s hard to pick which of the two is the more popular tourist draw. Only in the Crescent City could a boneyard compete with a restaurant as a “must see” attraction.
On Sundays (provided you’re able to wake up early enough from your French Quarter night before) they serve a legendary Jazz brunch at an incredibly reasonable $39 for three courses plus a libation of the alcoholic variety. Aside from the incredible food, dining at CP’s evokes a bygone era of genteel refinery and impeccable service. It’s old school- where all diners at the table are served their meals at the exact same time, and a posse of waiters lift the cloches off the plates in unison. It’s the type of brunch you dress up for, a place where a jacket is still required for dinner. And all of this pomp and circumstance augments the experience.
My dear friend O (who was the genius behind my Dai Due bday present) booked the brunch for us, her husband S and her ridiculously cute son Jackson. I managed to snap a few of the dishes, but many other were simply begging to be eaten immediately and didn’t allow for me to pause and play photographer. Allow me to present some of the beauties:
Wild Blackberry Pain Purdue
Yup, it’s pretty much the fancy name by which french toast is known in Louisiana. But, this isn’t your ordinary “bread in egg” affair. Rather, it’s “crème brûlée French toast layered with candied pecans and brandy crème fraiche”. Offered as an appetiser course, I was concerned it may be a little too sweet but was pleased to find a light and airy brioche complimented by a clean crème fraiche.
Eggs Couchon De Lait
“Smoky braised pork debris over black pepper and rosemary biscuits with soft poached eggs, winter mushrooms & bourbon-bacon fat hollandaise”. This was S’s dish- he is usually king of smart-ass comments, but was rendered completely speechless while eating this dish. The combination of soft yolks and the intensity of the pork in the braising stock was incredibly rich, but the layers of flavour kept coming with each mouthful.
Braised Veal & Eggs
“Sliced breast of milk fed veal and white truffle scrambled eggs over a poblano grit cake, green onions and roasted mushroom veal fond“. Never would I have imagined myself eating veal before midday. But New Orleans does strange things to a person. This offering was probably the greatest source of food envy at the table.
Warm pecan pie & vanilla bean ice cream with melted chocolate, candied pecans and Fleur de Sel caramel sauce. It kills me to say it, but this pie looked better than it tasted. No, it wasn’t bad by any means, but it was pretty light on pecans and was completely obliterated in both taste and texture by the pie at the no-frills Camellia Grill.
Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé
“The Queen of Creole Desserts” finished Tableside with Whiskey Cream Sauce. How could anyone resist ordering this piece of culinary nostalgia? With doily on plate and all. Honestly, it’s worth ordering just to have a guy in a suit pour your cream for you.
Chocolate Mint Ice Cream
It’s pretty much what it looks like- ice cream in a fancy chocolate tuile cup. O ordered this one because she said she was too full to tackle a hefty dessert!
In addition to our three courses, we each had multiple adult beverages. The combination of alcohol and food coma left us struggling to make it back to our apartment, where we all sat on the couches for the next three hours with the top buttons on our pants undone. Bliss.
Special mention goes to Jackson for being brilliantly behaved for his first Jazz Brunch in his little shirt n tie. He made sure it was only after we had left that he indulged in the classic NOLA tradition of exposing one’s chest in public. His kittie got beads.