NOLA brunch stop also needs lunch menu
Over the last few years, New Orleans has become a pretty routine drive for me. This doesn't diminish the fact that the 7- to 8-hour trip is followed by the same trip right back down to Gainesville, FL, just a couple of days later. The quick turnaround never leaves enough time to enjoy the city and its many MANY exceptional dining options. A quick Yelp or Google Reviews search will demonstrate the sheer number of incredible and diverse eateries in this one city.
This past weekend, another wedding beckoned my boyfriend, Thomas, and I back up to NOLA for another speedy two-day trip. However, this time we were determined to spend one of those days -- really just one chunk of the day -- dining out in one of our favorite cities. First stop of this Sunday morning was for my favorite meal of the day, brunch. There were a lot of places on my NOLA Eats list, but for many of them we were not quite dressed in our Sunday best, so I checked the list for a casual option that got rave reviews. Katie's Restaurant & Bar was the winner, a diverse NOLA-themed menu and having been featured on the Food Network's On the Road and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives sealing the deal.
Sunday at 11 am is certainly going to bring a crowd, and Katie's was no exception. Luckily the couples and families waiting for a table inside this small eatery on the corner of Iberville Street left a handful of tables outside open for the taking. I imagine it would have been a wait of 30 minutes to an hour if we hadn't decided to brave the Louisiana heat, which is very similar to Florida's. After scouring for a table in the shade, we sat and a server promptly brought us menus and water.
Although this was Sunday brunch, I had the impression that more lunch time options would be available, but only a few pizzas and po'boys were listed. The Crawfish Beignet, $9.95 (image above), sounded too unique not to try, so that was the first order of business. I was expecting a few smaller beignets but instead was presented with a large crisp bread encasing cheesy seafood goodness, all topped with a creamy jalapeno aioli that ran down the sides. Cutting into the large round bread confection revealed a heavily-filled middle of crawfish and warm mozzarella and provel cheeses immediately oozing out and coating everything in sight. The onions didn't make a heavy appearance, which I appreciated, and neither did the jalapeno slices, although I think I would have liked more of those.
The best part, other than copious amounts of melted cheese, was the crisp consistency coupled with the fresh-baked flavor of the toasted bread dome. I couldn't stop devouring it! Thomas ordered a cup of gumbo, which had a decent flavor but was lacking in the extras that make this a signature chunkier stew, such as the slightly spicy andouille sausage. FOLLOW THIS LINK for a complete Katie's restaurant menu.
The limited lunch items deterred Thomas from ordering anything except a Caesar salad, which was very tasty and refreshing. Meanwhile, I was having an indecisive morning in terms of food choices, so I settled on an entree I could not get back home: The Crawfish Frittata, $10.95 (image above). I was so looking forward to more of that fresh crawfish in a bed of egg goodness with andouille sausage. As the only vegetable included in the frittato was green onions and I am a veg head, I asked that some spinach and mushrooms being added in as well. I was presented with a plate-size, flat frittata with all the mushroom slices, spinach, and crawfish I could ever want. Yellow cheddar in a thick layer atop of this dish made me realize a heavy hand with cheese was a theme here. I was certainly not complaining about that! However, my frittata lacked one major ingredient: the sausage.
The whole point of getting this particular egg protein plate was to have two New Orleans staple foods among it: crawfish and andouille sausage. I guess Thomas' gumbo should have informed me that a lack of andouille sausage was apparently a theme here, too. There was not a piece to be found. I was very disappointed about that, in addition to the frittato being just OK. I try to order a frittato now and again and perhaps I expect too much of this egg dish because it always fall flat, no pun intended.
I also ordered a side of two biscuits, $2.95, and I had to remind the server that I ordered those. Food aside, I think the most upsetting thing was the constant stream of flies that swarmed over our food as soon as a plate hit the table. We were actually advised to cover our food with a napkin when we weren't eating it to keep them at bay. It made eating a chore. Anyway, I fell for the lunch menu when I first wanted to dine at Katie's, a long list of "gourmet po' boys" and delicious-sounding seafood and meat-filled appetizers, so I will try to come back when those are available. Who can say no to Garlic Feta Fries?