new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Boucherie Again: Mmm Duck Confit

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Boucherie Again: Mmm Duck Confit

8115 Jeannette Street
New Orleans, LA 70118-2851
(504) 862-5514

I've reviewed Boucherie before. Boucherie is, after all, one of my favorite neighborhood spots in New Orleans garden district. It's easy to see why the restaurant attracts crowds of local food obsessives: it offers high-end dining with interesting preparation methods, a highly seasonal menu, and surprisingly reasonable prices (especially in New Orleans, Land of the Expensive-Ass Dinner). Located in a tiny old house right off St. Charles, the dining room is classy but cramped, and reservations - or at least calling ahead- are very important indeed, unless you're the kind of person who is perfectly okay with mooning around waiting for your table to come up. That sort of thing happens to make my eye twitch and my tiny and desiccated heart fill with a profound and totally unjustified rage. You know, different strokes, blah blah blah.

We made this visit at the end of May, and thus our choices reflect that seasons menu.

Blackened shrimp on a grit cake with a bacon vinaigrette. In all honesty, I've never loved blackened foods. They always taste too salty to me. This was the case here, although the shrimp are nice and fat. I find it rather difficult to distinguish "grit cakes" from "unsweetened cornbread". Maybe someone can help me.

Steamed mussels with collard greens and crispy grit crackers are an eternal fixture on the house menu, and it's easy to see why. I really like the unique, vinegary broth the mussels are cooked in, and the rich vegetable flavor of the collards gives the mussels a distinct, but just subtle enough flavor. The crispy grit crackers are all right. Better when soaked in the broth for a bit.

Boucherie makes a fine duck confit, with crispy skin and a lovely, rich, interior. This was served with a fairly simple bread salad and a light reduction sauce. A good thing: no need to gild the lily with this stuff.

Smoked scallops are omnipresent here, but the dish seems to change twice a month. This go round wasn't all that successful: the scallops themselves were good and prepared correctly, but the pasta was overcooked and the smoky, slightly spicy cumin scented sauce was simply too robust for these tender little guys.

Service here is usually pretty good - hard to lose track of someone in such a small dining room. I'd suggest Boucherie for a casual-upscale near the Tulane campus - the eternally changing menu provides a pleasant change from Riverbend's endless armada of sushi and Lebanese joints, and you can feel fancy without starting up a side business in drug trafficking. Win win!

1 comment:

Rémy said...

I love love love Boucherie for all the reasons you posted. It's such an accessible way to have a "special" night since it's pretty difficult to get an off-the-charts-expensive bill. I heard they're incorporating Indian spices into the menu for the month of July; I've been out of town, but I'm dying to go investigate. Are you at home in California for the summer? If so, I'll take pictures so you can live vicariously...