Thursday, March 10, 2011
Our next stop on the journey took us to New Orleans. For a city that prides itself on its food and hospitality, the Crescent City Brewhouse failed on both levels. The Brewhouse Caesar Salad could just as well come from a bag at the local grocery store. Edible, but unimaginative. The bread they served up was tasty, but became increasingly unappetizing as a mysterious green substance was found contained therein. My Decatur St. burger was nothing more than a cafeteria burger that was very poorly disguised. To add insult to injury, the service was inattentive and haphazard. In the midst of our dinner, and without genuine apology, half of our table was stolen to give to another patron. We ended up having to borrow a chair from a nearby table to have room for our condiments, etc. If half the energy was invested in the food as was put into writing the menu this place could have been really good. We liked the decor and the jazz band, but not enough to erase the bad memories of this overpriced McDonalds. Seeing it as we drove by, tired and hungry, we had such high hopes. Too bad they were dashed like a bottle slipping from the hand of a reveler on Bourbon Street.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Fitting that our first stop on this adventure would be a place with "gastropub" in the name. Yes, it has been pointed out to me and I know that "gastropub" is a category and not a restaurant name. Nevertheless, the Haven lives up to its name and did not disappoint. We dined on a Friday evening at about 6:00 pm and the place was humming even at this early hour (reservations recommended). The open, airy seating lends itself to a vibrant atmosphere that leans toward loud. However, despite some difficulty in conversing, we found the buzz to be contagious. We started with the housemade potato chips with garlic aioli which were crispy and delicious. The sauce did not outlast the chips, but our server graciously brought us a refill which also served as a great dip for the Pommes Frites as well. The next course consisted of the Honeycrisp Apple Salad which was copious enough to allow us to share. We then delved into a main course of jumbo prawns and the Haven burger. Both of these entrées exceeded expectations in terms of both portion size, presentation, and flavor. The housemade ketchup was a bit sweet, but we appreciated that it does not come from a plastic bottle. The only disappointment was the strawberry dessert that caught our eye on the menu was not available (and has since been removed), so we substituted the apple strudel which did not quite live up to expectations. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable evening and a place to which we would eagerly return. Hopefully the next stops on our journey are as rewarding as Haven in downtown Orange.