Welcoming Firstborn home with dinner at Mandina's
3800 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70119
When my firstborn comes home from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he's in his fourth year as a Nuclear Engineering major, he always wants "real food," and Mandina's is high on his list of places to get it.
(more after the jump)
Urbanspoon.com lists Mandina's as "fine dining," but while the food is wonderful, don't be put off by that fancy classification. It's really a neighborhood restaurant in the classic New Orleans style. With po-boys and entrees side-by-side on both the lunch and dinner menus, Mandina's is a great place to go for good Creole-Italian food.
We started with fried eggplant and onion rings, which the boys devoured instantly.
(apologies for photo quality, we were in the corner and lighting was horrid)
Firstborn had Redfish Courtbouillion. I was surprised by his choice. I don't think he knew "courtbouillion" was a red sauce. Still, he devoured it. (And yes, that's a MUFC kit he's wearing. Not just any MUFC kit, however, that's a full replica of Vandersaar's goalie strip, with name/number and all the sleeve patches. Firstborn is no MUFC poser, believe me.)
Kiddo had chicken parmesan. Can't go wrong with this dish. Classic chicken parm differs in a Creole-Italian place here from restaurants in other cities because its flavors are much, much more intense. More garlic, usually a cayenne kick.
I had Creole Eggplant. This is one of the daily specials for Saturday, and it's absolutely my favorite thing at Mandina's. I've managed to create a pretty good approximation of this casserole at home, and the family loves it as well.
Mrs. Yatpundit had a big shrimp salad with remoulade dressing. Mandina's remoulade is spicy! Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. No photo of her salad because she already hates it when I take photos at the table.
Now that firstborn is of Legal Drinking Age, we went through two bottles of wine, both Cali. The first was a riesling, the second a sauvignon blanc. Both worked well with my eggplant.
Given how much Christmas treats and other junque we have at the house, we passed on dessert.
Dinner for four, including the two bottles of wine was $150. The wine was about $50 of that total, so if you don't do alcohol with dinner, prices at Mandina's are more than reasonable. Service was worthy of the 20% tip I left.
Just don't forget, Mandina's is CASH ONLY. They have an ATM if necessary, though.