Friday, December 28, 2012

Break the bread, for God Sake

“Break the bread, for God Sake”

Frequent Foodie Stop: Brigtsen’s

723 Dante St
New Orleans, LA 70118

Yelp: 4.5 / 5
Zagat: 28 / 30 

We Say: Go. And make sure to get the catfish

Winding down a cozy, narrow hallway, we started our evening at Brigsten's. After a strong Mint Julep and Margarita below a rustic, stained-glass window pane, we were led into the dining room - a quaint space with a fireplace and tables snugged together for a family gathering. The service is even more homey; no one was responsible for us, but rather the servers worked like a family to care, entertain, and inform. The meal was simply delightful. The first bite of bread  – warm, soft, perfectly crusted and brushed with a creamy, whipped butter – sparked our first Foodie Chat:

Bread is the most widely condemned word by weight watchers and food snobs alike; acclaimed to ruin your appetite, steal the meal, and make you fat.
For us, bread is the best indicator of a delicious meal to come. And, it should be the most basic and fundamental element of a review. Whether wrapped like a baby in white linen or delivered to you individually by that smiling waiter, bread is meant to be tasted and adored – if it weren’t, then restaurants wouldn’t go through such great lengths to differentiate themselves from say, the Pillsbury doughboy. Some are wheat, some baguette, some come infused with herbs, and some come paired with olive oil, whipped butter, or some fancy shmancy dip. In moderate amounts, bread will balance your meal, giving you just enough satiation to ensure that your meal is tasted rather than scarfed down.
And it’s not just the perfect beginning, but the perfect ending as well. Bread is the best tool for soaking up the steaming lemon caper white wine ‘soup’ sitting in your empty mussel bowl and scraping the last bits of your dark smoked cherry sauce idling on your plate after the duck is gone.

However and whenever the bread is served, eat it.

Back to the meal. We started off with the wild caught catfish, freshly and thinly mustard-fried with a fiery jalapeno cream sauce. We could taste every well thought out ingredient of the dish simultaneously without any one overpowering the palette. By far, the best catfish we’d both ever tasted. We split 2 entrees after catfish heaven - the duck and the seafood platter, both extraordinary and cooked with an attention to detail you won't find at most places. We opted out of desert and into food comas.