Ian McNulty reviews Criollo in the Hotel Monteleone this week, noting that "chef Joseph Maynard has been quietly working up an impressively charismatic contemporary menu." From Carribean Creole to French Creole, McNulty finds a few pitfalls flavor-wise, but mainly Mcnulty finds the a "meticulous" execution of most dishes, including this gem:
Maynard takes inspiration for his Oysters and Pearls appetizer from a dish of the same name at chef Thomas Keller's renowned California restaurant The French Laundry, but his interpretation is original and, frankly, stunning. Icy raw oysters on the half shell are served over the sweet crunch of mirliton slaw laced with crabmeat and there are soft orbs of tapioca rolled in Crystal hot sauce and salty black caviar on top.
The "canned jazzed soundtrack" and traveling businessmen types accompany what you'd expect of a Hotel restaurant's vibe, but McNulty considers Criollo's "serious cooking" and the Carousel Bar as worth the trip. [Gambit]
Scott Gold writes that St. Lawrence, home of a killer Pimm's Cup frozen daiq, is a "haven for the hungry" in the Quarter. Chef Caleb Cook's menu focuses on pub food/elevated bar fare, writes Gold, like "burgers, wings, fried chicken... with a more refined approach. Per Gold:
I was particularly wowed by Cook's steak tartare, a delicate, creamy version of the raw, hand-chopped steak dish with a pleasing tang of horseradish, topped with a slow-poached egg and brûléed Parmesan. It was marvelous, and not at all what one might expect from a restaurant whose closest neighbors include a paint store and a Coyote Ugly saloon.
St. Lawrence is located at 219 N. Peters, and is known for being a big a service-industry following after 11 p.m. as they serve food til 2 a.m. seven days a week. [Advocate]
Hogs founder/soon to retire Blackened Out blogger Rene Louapre IV asks if Arnaud's is worth it this week. The answer, though not without its caveats, is yes. While Louapre is "predisposed to develop a negative opinion on this restaurant," he finds himself with a "pitch perfect Sazerac" and a plate of souffle potatoes that are "hot and greaseless and a marvel of culinary architecture." He argues that the wine list is stuck in pre-Neanderthal days, but the adjoining French 75 is home to one of the cocktail industry's finest, Chris Hannah, and Louapre calls the swanky little cigar bar "probably the finest restaurant bar in the world." [BlackenedOut]
· Review: Criollo [Gambit]
· St. Lawrence Offers Haven for the Hungry With Pub Food in the Quarter [Advocate]
· Arnaud's: Is it Worth it? [BlackenedOut]
· All Week In Reviews [-ENOLA-]
Criollo [Photo: Official Website]