This is my written review of a dining experience in Oct 2006. Also a link to the pics
ABOUT AND BEYOND
Muriels Jackson Square
New Orleans LA 70116
A couple of my acquaintance and me were afforded a complementary dinner through
the good graces of the publicist for this venue who I know. It was not a busy
night so we may have gotten a little better service than usual and it is not
often the General Manager comes over and introduces the Executive Chef to a
table. I am upfront with my readers when I am being given a freebie. My theory
is that if the restaurant serves me better food and service than a regular
customer and I report it as the standard they are cutting their own throat.
Customers brought in by my review will leave with a bad taste in their mouth
sometimes quit literally and then bad mouth the restaurant for quite awhile.
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of free advertising.
When we hit the table so did the breadbasket. In this case a wrought iron
spiral contraption holding a paper cone of Black Olive bread and also Honey
Wheat with a side spiral for the butter container. Both had a decent crust and
tender crumb. An amuse bouche of a flash fried Oyster with a Creole remoulade
sauce appeared next. This practice is common in the better New Orleans
establishments. It consists of a one or two bite item that stimulates the
appetite and shows off the kitchens skill and is free. This one proved quite
tasty. My friends wife ordered the Duck Galette for appetizer. She received
in a puff pastry crust filled with duck confit, sauteed sweet onions, and Port
Salut cheese surrounded by a port wine reduction. My taste showcased excellent
flavor and texture. The onions and cheese tempered the earthiness of the duck.
My friend opted for Shrimp and Goat Cheese Crepes. Cheese filled crepes topped
with shrimp in a buttery sauce of Chardonnay, onion, tomato and bell pepper.
The sweet sauce and shrimp contrasted well against the tart and tangy cheese. I
had Seared Foie Gras. Pieces of duck liver atop a crouton accompanied by
sauteed pear slices and cherry gastrique (reduced cherry juice). The tart fruit
sauce help cut the rich and unctuous liver while the pear added a subtle
For an entree my friends wife got one of the specials. A huge Soft Shell Crab
lightly crusted and fried covered in jumbo lump crabmeat with a pan sauce and
green beans. It was truly phenomenal. Soft-shell crab has to be one of the
greatest foods God has put on this earth and these people treat it with respect
and let the flavor shine through. My friend ordered the Dijon Mustard Crusted
Salmon. They served it over sauteed cucumbers and brabrant potato in dill
Herbsaint cream sauce. All of these ingredients are classic accompaniments to
salmon and this preparation emphasizes why that is so. Does not hurt the filet
was cooked just right. The tangy mustard and anise flavored sauce cutting
through the fat of the salmon to bring up the flavor of the fish. I went for
the Slow Roasted Duck. A half duck braised until fork tender then deboned and
served over shoestring potatoes, wild mushrooms and roasted red bell pepper with
some of the braising liquid. Duck skin cracklings topped it. The earthy duck
proved greaseless and meaty tasting. The accompaniments fortified this flavor
and texture. It sat well with me and I enjoyed every bite.
Dessert followed with coffee. My friends wife opted for the Peanut Butter
Dome. A very upscale Reese cup with peanut butter mousse encased in dark
chocolate and laced with caramel and chocolate sauce, delicious. My friends
Pain Perdu Bread Pudding with candied pecans and rum sauce while simpler was as
delicious. I went for what is now a New Orleans classic, Creme Brulee. The
sugar crust was a bit granular and did not snap but the flavor profile proved
spot-on because of the use of vanilla bean as a flavoring.
While Muriel is not a Grande Dame yet, under the guidance of Executive Chef Guy
Sockrider she is well on her way. Situated on a corner of Jackson Square this
venue offers a lot.
Arthur "The Bear" Hebert
Omnivorus and Loving It