My dinner at Dickie Brennan’s Tableau was one of the culinary tourism features in my New Orleans Destination Guide.
There is no better way to celebrate a friends arrival (and birthday) than at an epic cocktail sloshed feast. Mike’s flight had arrived on time but his cab got stuck in the thick of New Orleans downtown traffic, Friday rush hour. After loitering in the hotel lobby I popped out on the street and saw him jump out of a taxi and power-walk towards me. “I’m starving,” he moaned. I had big plans for the birthday boy that night so we quickly dropped off his luggage and raced out to the French Quarter in search of satiation.
Located on picturesque Jackson Square at Le Petit Theatre, Tableau is acclaimed Chef Dickie Brennan’s newest offering to New Orleans. A grand staircase spans three stories of the restaurant, connecting private dining rooms, a wrap around balcony with views over Jackson Square and courtyard seating. Tableau and Le Petit Theatre share the courtyard so on performance nights one can find an enthusiastic theatre crowd enjoying sips at the restaurants bar.
Upon arrival we were whisked to front row seats beside the open kitchen. I could hear what seemed like an orchestra outside, buskers belting live jazz to packed crowds. Tableau’s menu, developed by Chef Ben Thibodeaux, showcases regional ingredients and classic French Creole dishes with a unique twist. Over the course of the next few hours Mike and I marched through the restaurants bar menu which offers a selection of sippers with cute titles such as “Just As Well” and “How to Stay Young Forever” (which I ordered for Mike out of necessity).
My memories of Tableau are nothing but a delight and would be the finest dining experience of my trip to New Orleans. I was elated. Perhaps it was the fact that my friend had just arrived to join me for the weekend or that it was his birthday worth getting excited for? The vibe screamed NOLA authenticity with staff that spread wide smiles and with much gusto rambled on about each of their favourite dishes. Highlights from the savoury side of things included a seafood centric Grand Royale, Duck and Andouille Gumbo, Eggs Benedict with Masa Fried Oysters (when’s the last time you saw benedict celebrated on anything but a brunch menu?) and BBQ shrimp n Grits.
I was delighted to have Dickie himself join us at the table to say hello, arriving just as we prepared to indulge in the restaurants sweeter offerings. As we whisked our fingers down the dessert menu I couldn’t help but laugh as what seemed like a choir formed around us, eager staff keen to pitch their favourite offering from the restaurants famed pastry chef. Word spread that Mike was celebrating his birthday and so my humming and hawing over what dishes to order became a pointless pursuit as six plates in homage to sucre were whisked under our noses. A chef’s hat was propped on Mike head for a photo op before we armed ourselves with spoons.
And so it was that we waddled out the door bound for Frenchmen Street while debating our favourites, “that Praline Monkey Bread Pudding was unforgettable, but the Frozen Lemon Meringue Parfait offered such a light air to such a memorable TGIF…”
Special thanks to the New Orleans CVB for hosting me as their guest.
milagro reposado, st germain, guava, lime, guava, bitterman’s habanero shrub
oryza vodka, solerno, cranberry, boston bittahs, blood orange, soda
How to Stay Young Forever
tuaca, aperol, grapefruit, sparkling wine, angostura bitters
hendricks gin, thyme syrup, grapefruit, lime
Just As Well
woodford, rosemary syrup, lemon, cranberry bitters
One More Star
oryza vodka, domaine de canton ginger liqueur, fraise de bois strawberry liqueur, lemon, peychaud’s bitter
Fried Eggplant Batons
dusted with creole powered sugar
crabmeat ravigote, shrimp remoulade, truffle crab fingers, oysters en brochette
Duck and Andouille Gumbo
chappapeela farms duck and local andouille served with popcorn rice
Asparagus and Seafood Salad
chilled asparagus, jumbo lump crabmeat ravigote, boiled shrimp, tomato, lemon-tarragon dijon vinaigrette
Blue Cheese Salad
spinach, celery, pecans, red onions, sherry-cane vinaigrette, square st. agur blue
fingerling potatoes, julienned ham, garlic, petite pois, roasted mushrooms, caramelized onion, creole spices
poached eggs, sauteed ham, toasted house made english muffin, lemon hollandaise, masa fried gulf oysters
BBQ Shrimp and Grits
jumbo gulf shrimp, new orleans style bbq sauce spiced with local beer, ground chevre grits
Tournedos Rossini Moderne
two 3oz tournedos, toasted croutons, seared foie gras, marchands de vin
crispy seared breast, braised thigh, bourbon-cherry duck jus
Praline Monkey Bread Pudding
brown sugar and pecans baked into a biscuit bread pudding with vanilla bean ice cream and butterscotch sauce
Frozen Lemon Meringue Parfait
lemon sabayon, italian meringue, cookie crust, fresh fruit
Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
traditional custard topped with caramelized sugar
Hot Chocolate Pot de Creme
dark chocolate custard infused with cayenne pepper, topped with house made marshmallow fluff and caramelized cocoa nibs
Tarte a la Bouille
rustic cajun sweet dough baked with vanilla custard, old new orleans spiced rum caramel sauce
Chartres Chocolate Cake
trio of warm molten chocolate cakes, creole cream cheese ice cream, cherry-red wine reduction