August 18, 2009

Commander's Palace: Southern Hospitality in New Orleans, LA

Everyone says that to really experience New Orleans, you have to get out of the French Quarter. So we hopped onto the streetcar and headed towards the Garden District.

We had made reservations at Commander's Palace, requesting the Garden Room. We felt special the moment we entered the restaurant. We were immediately greeted and led through the kitchen and garden to the Garden Room. Everyone stood aside and welcomed us. Even while we walked through the kitchen, everyone stopped what they were doing to let us through and say, "Hi" (including Executive Chef Tory McPhail).

The Garden Room was really pretty, brightly lit with views of the patio/garden.

The Martinis (including $0.25 specials!): We started off with:
Champagne Cocktail ($7): Popular since 1862, this drink combines bitters, sparkling wine, and sugar (we loved the sugar cube!)
Belladonna ($10.50): This martini was named for the nearby day spa (and really cool store). It contains blood orange vodka, Cointreau, fresh lemon juice, and cranberry.
Sidecar ($8.25): A classic made with brandy, Cointreau, lemon juice, and sugar.
Then we continued with 25 cent martinis:
Commander's Palace Martini (blue): vodka, white vermouth, blue Curacao, lemon garnish
Ray's Melon Martini (green): vodka, melon liqueur, blue Curacao, cherry garnish

We couldn't stop eating the garlic bread!

Turtle Soup ($7.50): It takes 3 days to make a batch of this soup - and it's added with sherry at the table. It was very tasty and thick - reminded us of chili (meaty, rich, and nicely seasoned).

Summer Melon Salad: Red and yellow watermelon, cantaloupes, shaved Vidalia onions, sugared pecans, toasted coconut, arugula, and Planter's Punch vinaigrette. This was a very refreshing salad and we enjoyed the combination of textures.

Smoked Tomato and Roasted Pepper Soup ($7.50): This was very flavorful and we enjoyed the tang and spice to it. It tasted spicier with every bite.

Chili Spiced Black Angus Flank Steak ($20): Carved garlic crusted beef with basil chimichurri, sherry braised mushrooms, and spicy red pepper sauce. We loved that it came with a grilled cheese sandwich of pepper jack cheese and homemade olive bread. The steak was perfectly cooked.

Black Pepper Seared Shrimp ($16): Louisiana Gulf shrimp sauteed with garlic and black pepper over sweet grilled corn, smoked Creole tomatoes, baby spinach, basil sauce, and roasted sweet pepper butter.

Creole Blue Crab Salad ($21): Our friend said it was the best crab salad she's ever eaten. It's made with Jumbo Blue crab meat marinated in Creole ravigote with house-made bacon, charred chilies (nice smokey taste), crispy capers, avocado (love the creaminess - it was better than the mayo that's usually in a crab salad), and lightly dress with Old New Orleans rum-Creole mustard vinaigrette.

Roasted Peach and White Chocolate Bouchee ($8.50): This new dessert on the menu takes 20 minutes to prepare but it was well worth the wait. Sliced Alabama peaches and house-made mascarpone layered in a French puff pastry shell, white chocolate pastry cream, and spiced mayhaw (fruit abundant in Louisiana that looks like a small crabapple) honey. It was so good! Tastes of nutmeg and cloves in the honey went well with the light and fluffy puff pastry and silky pastry cream.

Our leftovers.

Commander's Palace is located at 1403 Washington Avenue in New Orleans, LA.

p.s. We happened upon a couple of famous landmarks (photos below) around the restaurant. They're worth a visit when you're in the neighborhood.

We thought this was the prettiest house (2707 Coliseum St) in the neighborhood. It was around the corner from the restaurant. We later learned it was the house in the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons". It's also on sale for $1.975 million (down from just under $3 million earlier this year!)

We also walked around Lafayette Cemetery No 1. Located at 1400 Washington Ave (across the street from the restaurant), this cemetery has been seen in the movies Double Jeopardy and Interview with a Vampire.


  1. Gaah! You need to stop posting delicious NOLA places - I am going to come back from my trip ROLLING off the plane!!

  2. hahaha...only a couple more NOLA posts to go!


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