In New Orleans high end restaurants aren’t just places to eat, they’re institutions. New Orleans is known for it’s delectable food but the service there is next level as well. Unlike most cities servers in New Orleans are trained, drilled and taught how to act in an extremely professional and pleasing matter. For them it’s a career not just a job. In return for their professionalism restaurants in New Orleans show the upmost respect to their workers paying top wage and protecting workers’ families during trying times.
Knowing this, mostly from watching Anthony Bourdain, when I was in New Orleans I just had to visit the hallowed halls of one of these famed institutions. Having only a few days I could only pick one and for no reason in particular I chose Commander’s Palace and boy did it not disappoint!
The journey to Commander’s Palace starts before you even get there with how you dress. For some events a suit and tie is a must but for a typical day darker jeans without rips, stylish shoes(I don’t think Yeezys count), and a button up shit is the minimum required. This is the best I could do and luckily it was fine.
Upon arrival you’re greeted by an expansive light blue mansion stretching for half a block. At the entrance stand happy valets and a smiling greater. With a smile the greeter will wave you through open doors, walk you through the kitchen, and seat you in one of the restaurant’s many colonial rooms.
Once seated a waiter will come, again with a smile, explain the menu and give you plenty of time to order. Watching patiently from a distance but in a way that doesn’t make you feel too rushed. In New Orleans servers are never too far away but at the same time they aren’t too pushy. It’s truly an art!
For my order I ordered fried alligator as a starter and a salmon steak as a main. Before any of this could arrive first came the bread. It was warm, extremely fresh and the butter was beautifully heated for easy spreading. My mouth melts just thinking of it.
Unlike past dinners I did not fill up on bread and before I knew it the alligator arrived. Coated in a honey sauce with a slight tingle to it the taste was like that of a slightly sweet sauce with a hint of honey coated over fried chicken pieces but due to the meat being alligator there is a bit more chewiness than chicken. Sadly, I’ve got no choice but to repeat a classic trope and admit alligator tastes quite similar to chicken.
Once the starters were done it was time for the main event, the salmon steak. Unlike many restaurants the steak was cooked to perfection. It wasn’t too cooked or too raw. The outside was well cooked with the inside representing a rawness like that of sushi. Each bite filling your mouth with a sushi like taste but not one that was too fishy. I’m at a loss to describe it but it was breathtaking.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever visit New Orleans but after visiting Commander’s Palace I’m hopeful I’ll make it back one day if for nothing else than the food! I’ve been to famous eateries, historic restaurants, Michelin Star restaurants, and Commander’s Palace takes the cake!