There were quite a few restaurants on our Must Dine at This Trip list. A few were places we had heard about from TV shows or print media and had never eaten at. But only one was a restaurant where we actually knew the Chef, Stephen Stryjewski; and that one was Cochon. Chef Stephen has partnered with renowned award winning chef and restauranteur Donald Link at this restaurant, Cochon Butcher, Pêche and probably others that I am not aware of. So our first priority was our reservation there. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Stephen but that did not deter us from dining at the Chef’s Counter. And we were so glad we went!
We were seated opposite the gorgeous stainless steel wood burning over and got to watch the quick paced staff in action. Observing cooks Jack and Billy was like watching a well choreographed dance! The restaurant was buzzing and packed with diners having a good time and enjoying great food. And judging by how quickly orders were flying out of the kitchen they turn over the seating several times in an evening. A great advantage to sitting at the Chef’s Counter was seeing what dishes other guests had ordered so our decisions were made more easily.
We chose to make a meal of small plates and dessert and asked our server to just bring one dish at a time. First up were the Wood Fired Oysters with Chile Garlic Butter. It was so incredibly good that I could have devoured several more servings of that alone! Thankfully we were served a little lagniappe (an extra treat) of raw oysters with sauce mignonette to give my oyster addiction a little added boost. The wood fired oysters were just barely cooked but it was the spicy chile butter that stole the show making us want oysters, more oysters please.
The next dish that we tried to eat slowly to make it last longer was the Crawfish Pie which was so loaded with the little mud bugs that we were in heaven. And no tedious peeling necessary. Just yummy, sweet, succulent crawfish tails tucked into flaky pastry served with a beautiful chutney. Be still my heart.
We followed that with a palate cleansing Mushroom Salad with Deep Fried Beef Jerky and Lemon Vinaigrette. The title pretty much covers everything except it doesn’t really prepare you for the mountain of impossibly thinly sliced ‘shrooms, fresh parsley leaves, mint, shallots and tissue paper thin slices of kumquat that are perfectly anointed with the citrusy dressing.
For our final savory dish we chose the Pork Cheek Country Captain with Raisins, Turnips and Almonds. It was divine. Slowly braising the pork cheek rendered it tender and full of flavor which was enhanced by the perfectly balanced additions. Rich and delicious the dish was the perfect selection for the savory portion of our meal.
Or was it? Our server handed us the dessert menu which teased us with offerings such as German Chocolate Cake, Strawberry Oatmeal Pie, Pineapple Upside-down Cake, Banana Pudding and Lemon Poppy Seed Chiffon Cake. But somehow there was a totally different dish that taunted us throughout the evening. Those Smoked Pork Ribs with Watermelon Pickle had lured us in. So we just felt compelled to order them for dessert. You heard right. We ordered ribs for dessert. And did not regret one single, messy, ridiculously delicious bite!!!
930 Tchoupitoulas St, SUITE B
New Orleans, LA 70130