The Camellia Grill626 S Carrollton Ave
It’s rare that in a city home to such a unique and revered cuisine, people would seek out a classic greasy-spoon diner, yet the Camellia Grill has been a treasured New Orleans eatery since 1946. There are no tables, but rather one large counter that snakes its way through the whole restaurant. Because of this unusual seating arrangement, lines to get in are often long. Deal with it- it’s totally worth the wait.
You see, Camellia Grill are the purveyors of the greatest pie I’ve ever tasted. Big call, but I’m confident. Not only that, but the old school atmosphere and fantastically greasy breakfast options are the perfect antidote to a big night in the Big Easy. The hardest part of your day will be deciding which breakfast route you’re going to take. Will it be an enormous overstuffed omelette? Or perhaps a pecan-studded waffle? If you’re like me, you’ll kick it old school:
Eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, toast, coffee. No fuss, all good. See how this meal again conforms to the golden commandment of awesome food: “thou shall have a plate with a monochromatic colour scheme of beige”?
So as you can see, I’m not afraid of a hearty platter of saturated fats with a hefty side of greasy carbohydrates. To me that description is just synonymous with “delicious”. But even I have my limits and those limits involve the serving of permanently liquified “butter” as a condiment.
The cook at the Grill keeps a large plastic jug of “butter” right next to the grill, and 90% of the menu items are cooked in this viscous, salty and delicious mystery emulsion (SC- are you going to tell me off for using emulsion incorrectly again?!) The cook has a very liberal pour count with this giant jug-o-butter, but somehow the fact that it’s someone else adding it to my food makes it ok.
What I don’t understand is this:
You are looking at a condiment caddy with two pitchers of maple (flavoured) syrup and a dispenser of “butter”. Every plate of food placed in front of us that day at Camellia Grill already glistened with fat. I cannot understand who would then choose to add more to their plate, like a sauce. LIKE. A. SAUCE.
A pitcher of liquid butter. For you to add to your food. Like a sauce.
Have I made it clear how obscene I think that is? (PS, if you try it and you live to write about it, drop me a line and let me know how you liked it). I completely acknowledge that my skewed logic means it’s ok to eat this butter-product as long as someone else adds it to my food, but it’s my review and you can’t stop me from contradicting myself.
Let’s forge ahead to the highlight of my meal. Also known as ‘the greatest pie I have ever eaten’. Camellia Grill are pretty well known for their pecan pies. After my dining experience, I’m convinced it’s the method rather then the pie itself that is the key ingredient.
A wedge is cut from the main pie, and then flipped “face down” onto the same part of the grill used for hashbrowns, bacon and things of that nature. So your pie is now slowly warming and taking on the deliciously salty meaty flavours of the grill by osmosis (again SC, if your engineering brain is about to correct me on my use of osmosis you can just shut that down right now!).
Look at it there on the grill. Just soaking it all in. Beautiful.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that it’s around this point that the cook again liberally pours from the jug-o-butter on the grill around the pie. I think that’s where the magic happens. Some kind of voodoo transformation.
Served a la mode, I sincerely suggest that if you only eat one dessert whilst in New Orleans, this be it.