An Evening of Art: Boucherie

by Emily on January 13, 2011

I spent this past Saturday doing all of the things I love. We kicked off the morning with a delicious home-made breakfast, took the Beagle dog for a four mile walk to Audubon Park and back, had an afternoon lunch of Thai food and Be Sweet Cupcakes with my boyfriend’s family, and then spent the evening with my parents at Cole Pratt Gallery before heading to Boucherie for dinner.

Being the daughter of an artist, I spent most of my childhood and adolescent life attending gallery openings. On the first Saturday of every month, local galleries host open-houses to showcase their new collections and provide gallery-goers with the opportunity to meet some of the featured artists. Oftentimes, I get caught up in a whirlwind of conversation, more-or-less facilitated by the complimentary wine, and, as you might suspect, usually find myself on the subject of food. What can I say? All that talking, drinking, and art-ogling leave my mind fulfilled but my belly starved.

{Standing in front of our favorite John Stanford painting}

Since it was my parents first time to dine at Boucherie, once we were seated I took the liberty in ordering some small plates to kick off the meal. I ended up choosing two of my tried-and-true favorites, but these were also the two dishes I was sure they’d like the most.

Of course I ordered the Boudin Balls, and since there were four of us, our waitress suggested that we add an extra one to the normal order of three. As usual, the boudin was fantastic, it’s savory and spicy flavor complimented perfectly by the garlicky aioli. A consistent winner in my book.

We also shared the Collard Greens with Grit Fries, since my dad is a huge fan of greens in general. I swear the man hasn’t met a mustard, collard, or turnip green he didn’t like, but I think Boucherie’s version took him by surprise. The vinegar they use in this dish is also presented in cute little bottles on the tables, practically begging you to put it on everything. I’m not sure what’s in it, but it pairs wonderfully with vegetables and it makes these slow-cooked greens even more delectable than they already are. Those grit fries don’t hurt, either.

I urged Mom to order the Grilled Hearts of Romaine Caesar Salad and she thoroughly enjoyed it. As I’ve said before, grilled salad is surprisingly good, especially this one since the smoky flavor of the lettuce pairs beautifully with the shaved Parmesan and creamy, peppery Caesar dressing.

For my entree, I was set on ordering the vegetarian dish of seared turnips with wild mushroom lo mein–since I was rather impressed with November’s vegetarian option–but our waitress urged me towards the Scallops with Garlicky Broccoli, XO Sauce, and Sesame Seed Tuille. The scallops came with a gorgeous, crispy sear on the outside, the broccoli had a nice bite, and I loved the XO sauce, which was slightly spicy. An excellent suggestion and, quite honestly, exactly what I was in the mood for.

The boyfriend ordered the Wagyu Beef Brisket with Parmesan Fries. Tender brisket covered in a sweet and smoky sauce paired with crispy, flavorful fries covered in grated cheese. What more could you ask for?

Dad ordered the Mahi Mahi with Cauliflower Puree and Miso-Braised Swiss Chard and Mom got the Pulled Pork Cake with Potato Confit and Purple Cabbage Slaw (in the header picture). The small bite I had of the Mahi told me everything I needed to know. The fish was light and fresh-tasting, but meaty enough to feel like you were really indulging. I’m not a huge fan of cauliflower (it’s probably my least favorite veggie), but Boucherie’s pureed version had me second-guessing my aversion.

For dessert we all shared one piece of Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. It was big enough for the four of us to each have one or two bites, which is really all anyone needs. The fact that Chef Nathaniel Zimet thought to combine bread pudding and donuts is nothing short of genius and the result is a super sweet, doughy dessert that practically leaves your head spinning.

It was close to ten thirty by the time we left the restaurant and after having such a long day, I was pretty exhausted. Sunday’s rainy weather gave us the excuse to lounge around, only leaving the house to see a movie at the Prytania and eat cheeseburgers and chili-cheese fries at MVBurger later that night.

New Orleans is one of those cities where art and food are totally synonymous–one is certainly not the same without the other. I might not be able to tell you why painters choose to draw one landscape over another, or why chefs choose to pair certain ingredients, but what I can tell you is that the results are nothing short of magical.

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