Tuesday, February 27, 2018

NOLA Seafood & Steakhouse

It's been quite a while since you've heard from us.  The log on this blog shows we last visited CAFE PASTA in mid-December.   For two months we have not been spending more and eating better.  We've just been spending.

Debbie had this little matter involving her right thigh and hip.  She had them replaced at a modest cost of $85,524.73.  You read that right $85,000+.   At least that's the bill so far.  Debbie believes there are more bills to come.  But we're not about to let a small medical expense eat into our dining budget.

I am drawn to New Orleans dining or as close as you can get without driving more than 1,000 miles.   I spent some time in Louisiana, went to college in Baton Rouge, and have visited New Orleans a few times.  The food and drink were memorable.  I feel compelled to check out any New Orleans style restaurant.

This time our dining adventure took us to NOLA at 1653 New Garden Road in Greensboro.  NOLA is the abbreviation for New Orleans, Louisiana.

Nothing on the wine and beer menu drew our attention.  We drank water.

The bread was unremarkable.  It was half a loaf with a carving knife.  There was no butter or olive oil.  I tried a slice and left the rest for the busboy.  I eat better bread for breakfast every morning.

This is the appetizer we shared.  It is CRAWFISH NACHOS.  You can't tell it from this photo, but the serving was large enough to easily be an entree.   The nachos were delicious - light and crispy.  The salad and salsa with sour cream in the middle were tasty and very fresh.  The crawfish (on the right and to left) were good but lacked the flavor I was expecting.  I ate all the crawfish and 90 percent of the nachos but left at least half of the salad untouched.  The menu listed this appetizer as "spicy".  It was.

This is Debbie's entree.  Debbie said nothing about the baked potato.  I guess there's not a lot to say about a baked potato. 

 I know it is red, but the other dish on the plate is BLACKENED AHI TUNA.   A slab of tuna is seasoned and blackened on the grill and then sliced.  The fish looks raw, but it was warm in the center with blackened edges  It was delicious, cooked perfectly with the flavor of tuna and the blackening shining through.  This may have been the best dish we were served.  I got a small taste of one piece of tuna.  It was exquisite.  If you are not bothered by the red color,  I recommend the BLACKENED AHI TUNA.  You can choose from a list of sides, so don't let the baked potato bother you.

This is Debbie's other side - a CAESAR SALAD.  She noted the ingredients were very fresh, but she said the salad put up quite a fight to keep from being eaten.  Apparently, the problem was too much salad on a too small plate.  A bowl would have been much better.  She had to transfer pieces of the salad to her tuna plate to get an edge over the salad.

This is my entree with the two sides I have chosen - coleslaw (top center) and french fries (upper right).  There's a small cup of tartar sauce beside the coleslaw and two small cups of Remolaude sauce.   The tartar sauce was very thin and watery, but still tasty.  The Remolaude was also good.  I didn't spend much time with the sauces. 

The coleslaw was supposedly homemade.  I don't know in whose home it was made, but they definitely know the coleslaw arts.   I ate all of the coleslaw.  The fries were good, but nothing extraordinary like the coleslaw.  I left a few fries on the plate.

My main interest was in the lower portion of the plate.  It is the  BLACKENED SEAfOOD TRIO.  On the left side is tilapia,  In the center is alligator bites,  On the right side is catfish.  All three were perfectly seasoned and then blackened.  The NOLA chef knows how to blacken fish.  

I initially picked the alligator as the best.  I thought the alligator gave Debbie's tuna a good race.  But, the more I ate, the closer the competition became.  I'd recommend any of the three as a single entree.

The fish were so good that I ignored the sauces meant to go on them.

Technically only one of the fish was seafood - the tilapia.  The alligator and catfish were from freshwater. 

We really had no room for dessert, but I like to sample a restaurant's full menu from appetizer to dessert.  This is BANANAS FOSTER CHEESECAKE.  I forced myself to eat it.  Debbie would only take one lick of whipped cream off her finger.  

Bananas Foster was invented in New Orleans in 1951.  It seems like you should be able to order Bananas Foster at NOLA, but it was not to be.  NOLA served what I would simply call banana cheesecake.  The cake was served with mounds of whipped cream and rested on swirls of chocolate.  You could see and taste bits of banana in the cake.  There was no flavor of 151 proof rum and banana liqueur.  And there was no ice cream as you find on real bananas foster.

It was very good cheesecake, but bananas foster by name only.

This is Ali.  He was our waiter.  Ali agreed to have a photo made of him, but he was very concerned about how his teeth would look in the photo.  Ali asked to see the photo to decide whether he approved of his teeth.  Ali said his teeth always look "too big" in photos.  Unfortunately, I didn't know how to show him his photo.  He just had to roll the dice on the appearance of his teeth.

What do you think?  Are Ali's teeth too big?

This is a sample of many pieces of art in NOLA.  It was all New Orleans themed - New Orleans musicians, buildings, street people.   It was all beautiful work.

As we were leaving NOLA, we were stopped by the owner who noted we were taking photos.  Our camera always catches attention.  I had to explain we photograph all our meals - there's nothing to fear.

He relaxed and noted we had admired his artwork.  He explained all the paintings were made by a New Orleans artist who was washed out during Hurricane Katrina.  I said I had mistaken some of the paintings as photographs that had been re-touched.  I regret not taking some close-ups of the many paintings.

Debbie and I both rated NOLA higher than NEW ORLEANS BAR AND GRILL

Cost for dinner with tax, tip, title, dealer prep, and handling fees was about $81.00

Here's a map.  Maybe it will help if you feel a hankerin' for New Orleans dining.

Click images to enlarge