"Fish in a Bag!"
I've been to Borgne
recently, for both lunch with a friend and a celebratory post-graduation dinner after kiddo's big night as Valedictorian and Golden Crusader at Brother Martin High School's graduation. We chose Borgne for the dinner celebration venue because they're open late (as NOLA restaurants go), seating all the way up to 11pm. Borgne is located in the newly-revived Hyatt Regency Hotel by Da Dome.
On the lunch trip, I started with Borgne's take on the French 75. For the dinner, we got a bottle of inexpensive #bubbles: Cavasegura Viudas, Brut Riserva.
Starters: on both trips, we got the Duck Poppers (above), and the Crabmeat Croquetas, and we added the Slow Smoked Pork Empanadas on the dinner trip. Alas, we killed the croquetas and the empanadas before I could get a pic!
There's an interesting side note on the Duck Poppers, though. They're duck wrapped in bacon, and for many, that's good enough. But look at what they're sitting in, and the sauce drizzled on them. That's Borgne's version of good-ol' fashioned "Pick-a-Pepper" sauce, and they're sitting in cream cheese! So, after you scarf down the poppers, you're left with one of the classic dishes found at parties in New Orleans. Invariably, someone not into doing a lot of work for their contribution to a pot-luck or some such will buy a block of Philly cream cheese, pour a bottle of Pick-a-Pepper sauce on it, and set that out with a box of Ritz crackers. It's easy and tasty, and Borgne's tapped into it.
Gumbo! Usually you see a seafood version, and/or a chicken-andouille version. Chef Brian Landry
does a shrimp-andouille gumbo, and it works nicely.
Fish in a bag! This is a wonderful homage to Restaurant Antoine's "Pompano en Papillote." The dish is fish with all the accompanying herbs and spices wrapped up in parchment paper, then baked. It's wonderful. When you go to Antoine's, you order the dish off the menu, but the waiter will yell out in the kitchen, "one fish in a bag!" Borgne uses sheepshead for their version, and that fish works well in the bag, tender and spicy.
Ten Clove Garlic Louisiana White Shrimp. You have to really like both main ingredients for this one to work for you. Don't worry, there are many other possibilities for those that garlic really isn't that into you.
Crawfish and parmesan over cavetelli. Yum!
Black Drum a la Plancha. Grilled drum in a brown butter sauce topped with pecans and crabmeat. The meuniere is more a hint than the sensory experience of a dish where that sauce is the main event, but this is compensated nicely by the nuts and crabmeat. Both the crabmeat and the pecans are sauteed in butter, so the total experience is just the right amount to complement the fish.
Other entrees at the table that I didn't get pics of: Oyster Spaghetti, which kiddo's girlfriend enjoyed, Grilled Gulf Pompano, which Ensign Firstborn had rivaled my drum. Kiddo had the Crabmeat and Pork Belly Hot Pot--a fascinating local take on a very asian concept. He destroyed it.
Chocolate Hazelnut Flan. Both trips, this was sinfully delicious. That's a piece of peanut brittle sticking out of the flan, and house-made ice cream on top.
Pontachoula Strawberry Crumble. Think classic blueberry cobbler, but with local strawberries and house-made ice cream. This was absolutely incredible. Very seasonal, so it might not be around again until next spring.
Churros with chocolate sauce! Can't go wrong with fried dough. :-)
We stuck with the cocktails on the lunch trip, but we had a Rhone white (primarily Chardonnay) from Gabriel Liogier, on the dinner trip. Ensign Firstborn chose this one, and it was a good choice. There are so many nasty Chardonnays out there, it's enjoyable to get one that's done right.
Service was great on both trips. The dinner outing was so late that the place wasn't terribly busy, but Borgne was packed on the lunch trip. Still, our server and the staff kept up with us, right down to a manager checking on us once or twice.
Bottom line: Chef Brian has left his mark on the Besh franchise. Borgne does great seafood, and is a place you'll want to put on your to-eat list.