Thursday, June 10, 2010
Gott Gourmet Cafe
3100 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70115-2351
The Gott Gourmet is located on Magazine Street's restaurant row, promoting itself as a casual spot for more interesting then average breakfasts and lunches. That's not exactly a rare gambit, but the marvelous thing about the Gott Gourmet is that it actually pulls this off. Seriously - how many casual lunch places claim to be vaguely different from one another, when in actuality this means attiring waiters in ill-fitting "tropical" garb and putting incongruous mango chunks on endless, endless Chicken Ceasar salads? You know that of which I speak.
That is not the Gott Gourmet, which really does feature interesting riffs on typical lunch-time fare. Sandwiches, wraps, salads, burgers, and a couple of soup options are all on the menu - observe the coronary inducing St. Patty's Day Massacre reuben-esque (haha i made a funny) sandwich, the real-deal Chicago hot-dog, or the cochon de lait Cuban panini. Loverly.
We tried the loaded gumbo which comes with an extremely untraditional dollop of potato salad in lieu of rice. It's an all right gumbo that does boast a large amount of "stuff" but very little in the way of soulful, smack yo-mama flavor: the kitchen needs to add a little more oomph to this stuff to really wake up the ingredients. A healthy amount of Crystal helps. Like the toast points served on the side.
The shrimp BLT wrap with tabasco buttered sauteed shrimp, mozzarella, bacon, roast peppers, avocado, roast tomatoes, chili aoili, and chipotle cream cheese was a total knockout - a combination of crunchy shrimp, smoky bacon, and creamy avocado, working in tandem with the spicy flavor of the roast peppers. The thing dripped everywhere and got on one's hands, which just added to the experiential deliciousness of the thing. Devourable.
This is the grilled vegetable salad with chicken. God speed to Gott for figuring out how to produce a grilled chicken lunch salad that won't induce narcolepsy, will indeed make the dutifully healthful orderer happy. The perfectly cooked chicken was served on top of fresh wild greens with a flavorful assortment of roasted portobellos, peppers, onions, squash, zucchini, carrots, and other stuff, accompanied by feta and honey-sherry salad dressing. An excellent flavor combination and a damn fine salad. Salud.
Tried the St. Patty's Day reuben-thing - featuring corned beef, horseradish cheddar, french fries, cole slaw, 1000 island and creole mustard on pumpernickel on another visit. This was good but really pushed the boundaries of richness. Sort of like standing in front of your arteries and daring them, just daring them, to clog up and kill you, just try something, vascular system, make my day. Maybe I just miss my sauerkraut. The fries are made in house here, double-fried, and are excellent.
The dining room is utilitarian but clean and fairly open inside. Service is conducted by somewhat surly hipsters with ironic facial hair. This doesn't bother me too much (that after all does describe the vast majority of my friends) but your mileage may vary. Perhaps avoid discussing your fondness for Nickleback and day time television at the table. You never know.
Conclusion: The Gott Gourmet is one of the best lunch picks on Magazine Street, and an absolute winner for excellent food that won't bankrupt you or your company expense account when 12:00 PM rolls around. I am most sad that I am leaving the city and will not get a chance to work through the menu. Pick up the slack in my absence, New Orleans.