Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pining for Ricky P's New Orleans Bistro

The Mister and I decided to do lunch instead of dinner, just because of the tales of unruly crowds and bad service.  Lunch was a perfect preview of the food and ambiance without the stress of overworked staff.  We had the most relaxing meal and it was paced to perfection. We don't like to be rushed, any more than feeling neglected. Our server was competent and friendly.  We have loved the building and interior of the New Orleans Bistro since it was Savannah's (RIP).  Our most unfortunate very bad experience at Savannah's did not color our expectations of Ricky P's.  The colors of Mardi Gras are evident, but it isn't so overwrought to be tacky.
Ricky P's Orleans Bistro on Urbanspoon

We decided to start our meal with our favorites, using a standard favorite to rate their efforts.  The Mister ordered his stuffed mushrooms, and they delivered as promised "a shrimp crab filling dressed with a Louis sauce."   Now, you need to know that The Mister does NOT like spicy food of any kind.  He will complain mightily if the food is too "hot".  The seafood stuffed mushrooms were right up his alley.  Not spicy hot, but flavorful and tasty, he declared them "as one of his favorites."  Praise from The Mister is good enough for me.

Our server was generous enough to bring a "tasting" portion of the Cajun corn crab bisque.  It was wonderful, crabby, corn and just spicy enough to make me very happy.  It was a creamy, not too thick concoction that I was still thinking about days later.  It was that good.  I love soups.

Our other starter was the crab cakes with a dill sauce.  They were remarkably similar in flavor to the stuffing in the mushrooms and perhaps we would have been better off trying a different starter, but I'm a sucker for crab cakes.  I enjoyed the flavor of the dill sauce. I find dill an underused herb in the culinary world and the sauce was a nice foil to the crabby cake.  The cakes were not crispy fried but done on a flat top griddle and they were nice.  Not too much breading or filling to make them gummy.  The taste was brightened considerably with a generous squeeze of lemon.

On to the lunch entrees we had a bit of a dither trying to decide between sandwiches or one of the lunch specials.  I decided to try the blackened catfish with dirty rice ($9.00) and The Mister decided on the Ricky P's version of the famous Ferdi.  Sloppy roast beef, with ham, melted cheese in honor of 'Mother's' in New Orleans.  He also chose dirty rice as his side.  Both of our plates were served with the cajun slaw.

The blackened catfish was moist, flaky and nicely spiced.  I did not find it too spicy, a nice representation of a blackening preparation.  The cajun slaw did not fare as well to critique, the cabbage was chopped coarsely and many of the pieces were very tough to chew.  The dressing was not "cajun" and it seemed almost warm in temperature.  I felt it could have used a good second chop of the knife and a deep chill.  Now, I like dirty rice but the hamburger version at Ricky's seemed to suffer from a definite lack the New Orlean's trinity.  Where were the peppers, onions, and celery?  And what happened to the seasoning?  I make a dirty rice at home that starts with chicken livers, a boat load of minced veg and generous amounts of spice.  The plus side of the Ricky P's version of dirty rice did nothing to offend The Mister and it was bland enough to please him.

His Ricky P's version of the Ferdi was declared one of the messiest sandwiches he ever ordered.  That said, he loved every single morsel.  It dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, the aforementioned sloppy roast beef, ham and melted cheese.  The bread was soft and it absorbed enough of the drippings to be hazardous to the shirt front.  And yes, our server was kind enough to supply us with multiple napkins.  He did enjoy his dirty rice side and eschewed the cole slaw.

The Mister had his beverage of choice, a beer.  He chose not to partake any of the New Orlean's microbrews that were offered and stuck to his favorite on tap.  I did try a lovely citrus vodka libation that was much too smooth for the afternoon.  It went down way too fast and it was very yummy.

We were as stuffed as the mushrooms and nothing could tempt us to try dessert.  The choices looked so tempting but alas, there was no room.  I do want to try the famous bread pudding, bananas foster or lime pie on another visit.  Of course, there are other items on the menu that beckon with the lure of New Orleans, red beans and rice, etouffe, jambalaya and smothered pork chops.  Yes, a return visit is in order and the Sunday Brunch is enticing to the both of us.

Quote of the Day
I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.

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