Sunday, February 8, 2009

Commander's Palace - New Orleans

The Commander’s Palace, for me, a name that is synonymous with New Orleans. Like Café du Monde, Commander’s Palace has been a part of the New Orleans landscape for over a century. Founded in 1880, the Palace has been the training ground for some of Nola’s most prolific chefs, Paul Proudhomme and Frank Brigtsen in particular.

Brunch at Commander’s is no ordinary affair, mostly in part to the Dixieland Jazz band that will come and serenade you at your table.

It might seem a little disconcerting to have a trumpet blaring while dining, but the sounds of “Mardi Gras Mambo” can make the meal all the more savory.

Speaking of savory, the first thing you have at your table is a plate of the house garlic bread.

Covered in garlic, olive oil, butter, and a sprinkling of time, these little trenches of bread are irresistible.

While Commander’s takes full advantage of seasonal and local offerings, there are a few staples on the menu. One of those is the turtle soup.

Doused with sherry at your table, this is a fine example of Creole cuisine. Rich, unctuous and filled with small chunks of turtle meat, I enjoy this soup every time I stop by the Commander’s Palace.

I love brunch, and one of my favorite brunch specialties is eggs benedict. Thankfully, Commander’s had their own twist on the classic.

This cochon du lait is the perfect substitute for the usual slice of Canadian bacon. I was a little worried that the hollandaise sauce would clash with the rich pan sauce, but it was a symphony of flavor. I didn’t even have to send the plate back for a second try.

I’m not sure what was going through my mind when I ordered my meal, but I decided to preorder the Creole bread pudding soufflé. I think I did this because the soufflé required 20 minutes to prepare, and I was planning for the future. It makes perfect sense to me.

Beautiful isn’t it? The light soufflé is a work of art. Fortunately and unfortunately, the party is crashed by the addition of whiskey cream sauce.

Like the turtle soup, this bread pudding soufflé is a testament to the richness of Creole cuisine. Every last morsel should be enjoyed to its fullest.

Through all the years of attending one of the jazz brunches at Commander’s, I’ve never once had a bad experience. The wait staff is attentive, the food is fine tuned to perfection and I hope that the Commander’s Palace will never change.

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