Food Field Trip: New Orleans When the Herb-Saints Go Marching In...
...I want to be at that table! The regenerative power of a good meal is one of the reasons I live to dine out. After a long day of shuttling between countless conference sessions in the New Orleans summer heat, my colleagues and I were drained. Not dissimilar to the dog we passed earlier that day, we needed a pick-me- up. On we went to Herbsaint, Donald Link's ode to Southern cuisine with a New Orleans twist.
From start to finish, dining at Herbsaint, located on St. Charles Avenue in the Warehouse District, was rejuvenating and exciting. The dining room is understated and warmly lit; the waitstaff is enthusiastic and knowledgeable--their recommendations from wine to appetizers were spot on. The care that went into each of the dishes was evident in the presentation, taste, and the clean plates that were taken away.
My appetizer of shrimp and grits showcased fresh-caught gulf shrimp (delivered daily by a gentleman named Dino), which were enrobed in a spicy roux, studded with tasso ham, and charred ocra atop a cake of creamy grits. Another appetizer of homemade spaghetti, topped with a fried-poached farm egg, was eagerly devoured. But seriously, an egg that is perfectly fried and poached--who knew? As we continued on through to the entrees, the clean plate trend continued. The fish of the day was fork tender and perked up with green chilis. And for dessert, the ice creams were the perfect end to the meal. Both cafe au lait and salted caramel varieties quickly disappeared, so no photographic evidence exists.