Two Saturday nights ago my boyfriend and I decided that it had been far too long since we had been on a proper date. The last time we went somewhere really nice, just the two of us, was back in September to celebrate our five-year anniversary. Date night with other couples is always fun, but sometimes it’s nice to have dinner alone, and then meet up with friends for drinks. Vizard’s, a small restaurant in our neighborhood, seemed like the perfect place. And after having my eye on it for months, we finally made our long awaited reservation for two.
Located on Magazine Street in between Robert and Soniat Streets, vine-covered Vizard’s is a little difficult to spot. Look for the vertical white sign donning the restaurant’s name, or just keep your eye out for the big glass windows emitting a warm glow and allowing a peek inside at the happy diners. We arrived around 6:30 and were seated at the restaurant’s best table–in the corner right by the window–which allowed us a view of the entire restaurant as well as a glimpse of Magazine Street. For an otherwise odd-shaped and small restaurant, I found the seating to be conducive to conversation and even slightly romantic. My only atmosphere complaint is that I was a little cold, but hey, that’s what I get for going jacket-less to dinner.
Upon receiving the menu, our waiter informed us that Chef Kevin Vizard had temporarily changed the menu from the normal three-course menu to tapas style portions. We were okay with this, although it did come as somewhat of a shock since Vizard’s doesn’t strike me as the type of place to serve small plates. Everything on the menu was $16 and under, so we decided we’d get two “appetizer-ish” things and two “entree-ish” things to share. This worked out well for us but I can see how some people would have left the restaurant hungry.
We began the meal with a bang by ordering a bottle of Bordeaux, the Vizard’s House Salad (full of pecans, blue cheese, and apples–always a winning combination), and the Mussels with Chorizo in Tomato Broth. It’s hard to put into words how wonderful these mussels were, but here’s my best attempt. The hearty and spicy chunks of chorizo, savory tomato broth, and the ethereal sea saltiness from the mussels created a depth of flavor that was as inviting as a cool pool on a hot summer day, and as comforting as curling up with your favorite blanket next to a warm fireplace in the winter. A lot of times I find that mussels are overcooked, becoming very chewy and rubbery, which ruins the whole pleasure in eating them. But these mussels were anything but overcooked. In fact, the Vizard’s version has officially set the bar significantly higher than it was previously, because now I really know what perfectly cooked mussels should taste like.
For our entrees we shared the Half Nelson and the Vizard’s Cut. Both were recommended by our waiter, but only one took home the crown. The Vizard’s Cut was the most expensive plate we ordered at $16, and featured two round pieces of tender rib-eye steak, served with asparagus and some truffled “tater tots.” The meat, for lack of a better description, was completely melt-in-your-mouth amazing, just as a good cut of rib-eye should be. This dish was everything we expected and more. The Half Nelson, on the other hand, was the one disappointment of the evening. We felt as though the combination of fried eggplant, crabmeat, mushrooms, and Bearnaise was all too familiar, and nothing “wowed” us about this dish. Don’t get me wrong: it was good, but I just thought the sauce overpowered all the other flavors, and we found ourselves wishing we’d ordered the BBQ Shrimp cooked with Abita beer instead.
We skipped the ever-tempting creme brulee for dessert and went with the Root Beer Float, complete with whipped cream and a cherry. It tasted just as one always should and our inner kids were grateful for this decision.
Dinner at Vizard’s ran us around $120, which is a little more than we like to spend on a date night. But since we hadn’t dressed up and gone somewhere new in a while–plus we’re always eager to support businesses in the neighborhood–we wrote it off as a necessary expense. After dinner we met up with friends for drinks at the Delachaise and most likely laughed off every calorie we consumed during our meal. Thanks to the hostess for setting us up with the best table in the house, the Chef for preparing a delicious dinner, our waiter for taking such good care of us, and our friends for providing the comic relief. One can only hope for every dinner date to turn out so well.