Monday, March 28, 2011

Feasting at Feast

Monday always needs a little something to pull it out of the crapper. What better on a sunny day than to go out to lunch with your best friend?

My dining partner hails from the United Kingdom, and we've been wanting to try Feast for a while (that's a common refrain in these blog posts- it's just that there are SO MANY places to investigate!) Feast is a relatively newcomer on the restaurant scene here in NOLA- the owners opened up their first location in Houston, which was very well reviewed and feted.

They're now open for lunch every day (except Sunday, when they have no service at all) and you can get 2 courses for $16.95 or 3 courses for $19.95. We both opted for the 3 courses, obviously. To start, Tom had a Samuel Smith Brown Ale. I originally ordered an iced tea, as this was a workday lunch. However, I changed my mind quickly (of course) and ordered a refreshing campari and soda. Tom was just saying that he had low expectations when the bread basket arrived and took our collective breath away. The first kind we tried was a sourdough that was just SO good. Very sour, still warm, excellent crust. The second one was a country white style, also a great crust and good crumb. The bread was served with a delicious European butter (higher fat content!) and - SALT & PEPPER ALERT - there was a large grained salt in a cute little dish with a tiny ceramic spoon AND there was a pepper mill. We only used the salt to sprinkle on the butter on the bread.

I started with the whole garlic shrimp, which were indeed whole with heads on and full shell action. The waiter brought me a bowl of warm water so I could rinse my hands, which should tell you how up close and personal I had to get with the shrimp. If only they were as easy to eat as crawfish! But they were really delicious once the work was done. Tom had the housemade beef sausage with raisin cheese and mustard. (Tom upon approaching his dish "Hmm, what's raisin cheese?" (tastes) "Oh, that's delicious, is what that is!")

Entrees: I had the braised pork cheeks with crispy polenta and kale. The pork was delicious and tender, the kale wasn't cooked to death - the whole thing that you need to cook hearty greens longer to get out the bitterness - and I don't know how they did it! The texture was great, the flavor was delicious, and I really enjoyed the simple preparation. The crispy polenta wasn't so crispy being served atop a braise but it was still tasty. Tom had the pan fried local gulf drum with braised lentils and asparagus. The lentils were flavored with mint, which isn't Tom's thing (he doesn't care for savory mint applications) but he still enjoyed the lentils and LOVED the fish.

There were two desserts: one was Sticky Toffee Pudding and I believe I have documented Tom's love of the Sticky Toffee Pudding in this blog, so it was a no-brainer that he'd order that. That left the chocolate mousse for me, what a hardship. The mousse was thick and rich and dark and the perfect end to the meal. Tom loved his sticky toffee pudding - it was served warm and the toffee was soaked into the pudding. He was pleased with the flavor and the texture.

I have Feast's website up in another tab while I write this - in order to link it and refresh my memory of our meal - and I'm looking at tonight's menu longingly, kind of wishing I could go back for dinner. I think I'd start with the French Fish Soup with Rouille and Croutons (kind of kicking myself for not ordering it for lunch - but I love garlic shrimp!) or the Garlic Snails on Toast and maybe have the Half Roasted Pheasant, Roast Potatoes and Watercress for a main? The Fish Pie Topped with Leek and Cheese Crusted Mash and Roasted Brussel Sprouts sounds good too... A couple of the entrees are a little adventurous, but I bet are good, like the braised pig tongue and the frog pie. You can get something called "Backfat, Parsley and Walnuts" as a side, which sounds very intriguing.

Anyone out there gone to Feast and had their more adventurous offerings?

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