Get your tickets now for A Taste of Downtown on April 30th!

Join me at Mary Bird Perkins' The Taste

Monday, December 10, 2012

Grand Isle NOLA Style

Smoked Fried Louisiana Oysters
Smoked fried oysters and hogs head cheese came out of Mark Falgoust's kitchen at the Grand Isle restaurant in New Orleans.  I wasn't quite expecting it from the seafood restaurant sandwiched between Harrah's and the Convention Center.  Well, I expected oysters.  And plenty of them.  But the smoked fried oysters are something worth venturing to Grand Isle for over and over again.  The crispy fried mollusks had a delicate layer of smoke on them, elevating the flavor from delicious (as most fried oysters are) to extraordinary.  When Mark brought them out of the kitchen, and then followed that with a plate of hogs head cheese, I knew this guy really knew what we was doing beyond the typical fried seafood platter.


Hogs Head Cheese from Grand Isle

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo with a Side of Potato Salad
After the deliciousness of a couple pints of Hopitoulas at the bar where I devoured the previously mentioned oysters and head cheese, we found a table to sample the rest of the fare from Chef Falgoust.  The chicken and house-made andouille gumbo hit the spot with a side of potato salad.  This is certainly more of a Cajun and Grand Isle way of serving gumbo than a lot of the Creole styles around New Orleans.   And the gumbo certainly delivered the flavor.  We also tried the Grand Isle version of Shrimp and Grits.  The Papa Tom's grits with Louisiana shrimp were smothered in an andouille gravy.  The dish was most certainly an interesting play on the classic dish, though truth be told I could barely stop eating it!  The grits and gravy were creamy and delicious, though the shrimp may have been lost a bit.

Shrimp and Grits at Grand Isle

Shrimp Caminada Poboy
As it turns out, Chef Falgoust has taken home a couple prizes at the New Orleans Poboy Preservation Festival.  The Shrimp Caminada is one of those award winning sandwiches.  It features a spicy citrus butter with Asian herb slaw and shrimp on Leidenheimer French bread.  It certainly had a unique taste profile compared to other shrimp poboys, which mean completely as a compliment.  It is nice to see something so classically New Orleans changed with just a few tweaks of condiments.  Heading back to his trusty smoker, Chef Falgoust concluded my tastings with a pork shoulder entree.  The smoked chunk of pork broke apart gingerly with an excellent combination of sweetness and smokiness.  Served with a bed of lima beans, cucumbers, red onions, and herbs, this pork shoulder is another example of Grand Isle being able to do more than just fry seafood.

Pork Shoulder, Lima Beans, Cucumber, Red Onions, Herbs

Grand Isle on Urbanspoon