Elizabeth’s: Worth the ride

On Saturday John and I got into our car, hungry and ready to head to Elizabeth’s for brunch, when I turned the ignition only to hear a nasty grinding noise of metal against metal.  It seemed that our sickly car finally taken its last breath. What were we to do? I was determined not to let the death of our car prevent us from having a delicious brunch, so I called up United Cab.

$25 and an interesting, history lesson later (our aged cabbie was extremely knowledgeable), we arrived at Elizabeth’s which is located in the Bywater on the corner of Gallier and Chartres Streets. The summer slow-down hadn’t seemed to affect their business at all. The restaurant was packed and the hostess directed us upstairs to wait at the bar.  As we were about to order a cocktail, a table opened up. We ordered a couple of Pimm’s Cups from our server, along with our breakfast, since we had already browsed the menu at the bar.

Our first dish came out in good time as we sipped our refreshing cocktails, an order of Biscuits & Gravy. The biscuits were perfect, crumbly and buttery, swimming in a thick pool of spicy, white gravy dotted with sausage and peppers. I would return to Elizabeth’s for this dish alone.

Our entrees arrived just as we were ready to order another drink. John got the Duck Waffle with sweet potato duck hash mounded on top of a cornbread waffle. The hash was piled high and in the center was a small reservoir of pepper jelly. It was such an interesting mix of flavors — the sweetness of the potatoes laced with rich, fatty duck and the heat from the Jalapeno pepper jelly — it was almost too much to handle! John only managed to get halfway through it before he finally threw up his hands in defeat.

I was too busy working on my own dish to help John with his, a Pulled Pork Hash topped with two poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. According to our server, the pulled pork was smoked there on the premises and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it was just a bit too salty for me to do any real damage, which is actually pretty damn salty. You see, I am a fiend for salt and John often reprimands my excessive use, as does my doctor who finally convinced me to start taking blood pressure medication. Maybe Chef Peck is a salt-lover like me…

Though I think I was literally ready to burst, I had to order dessert, a highly-recommended dish from our helpful server, Ooey Gooey Cheesecake. Unlike most cheesecakes I’ve eaten, this dish was warmed until it resembled a bowl of…well…goo.  But it didn’t detract from the sweet, buttery flavor (reminding me of toffee) that stuck to the roof of your mouth and the crumbly crust that tasted like crushed Nilla Wafers.

Although the round trip cab fare cost almost as much as our breakfast, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Elizabeth’s was definitely worth the ride.

Finally visiting Elizabeth’s: “It’s about damn time!”

For several years now, both friends and coworkers have been regaling the divine feasts to be had at Elizabeth’s Restaurant in the Bywater.  I can’t tell you how many times it has been a planned destination, but some strange fate, event, catastrophe or other zaniness has prevented me from actually going.  Last night, for my 27th cheat, John and I finally made it to Elizabeth’s.  I have now lost a total of 52 pounds.

Although most folks highly recommended Elizabeth’s for brunch, I decided to try their dinner menu instead.  Let me just say, I will definitely be back to try brunch.  Elizabeth’s tag line is “Real food done real good,” and I can’t argue with reason.

Arriving just at dusk with the sun setting behind the levee, John and I strolled into the quaint neighborhood restaurant right when they opened for dinner.  Located on the corner of Gallier and Chartres Streets, Elizabeth’s is an unassuming, comfortable establishment frequented by locals who probably live just around the corner.  Although we were the first diners on the scene, many patrons filed in immediately after us, quickly filling the large dining room.

We started out with some drinks and ordered an appetizer from the “specials” menu that seemed almost as expansive as the regular menu.  Although we were a little overwhelmed by all the choices, we decided to try their Baked Oysters.  Now, I know this may be sacrilege for a food writer to utter these words, but I am not a huge fan of foie gras.  To me, it mostly tastes like pure fat.  But I held my tongue and when the oyster dish came out, I did my best to give it an unbiased taste and found myself pleasantly surprised.  The oysters were baked with a “Truffle Foie Gras Mayo,” and I must say I enjoyed it!  Perhaps foie gras isn’t so awful when combined with mayonnaise and truffle oil?  Regardless, it was delicious and cooked only enough to heat the dish through, no rubbery oysters here!

After easily demolishing the appetizer, our entrees came out from the kitchen.  I ordered the Panned Pork Loin with shrimp and crab cream sauce and John got the Panned Rabbit Hind Quarter with Black Peppercorn Brandy Sauce.  Both proved to be huge portions that we were unable to finish, but it wasn’t from a lack of effort!  The pork loin was tender and juicy and the batter had a nice, spicy crunch.  With every entrée, you get two sides and I elected to have bacon braised cabbage plus their sweet potato casserole, both of which were delicious and very filling.

John’s rabbit was equally tasty and juicy, and it also proved to be quite a bit of meat!  I had never tasted the “hind-quarter” before and I really enjoyed the “white meat” flavor and dense texture along with their incredible batter.  John selected the red beans & rice and mashed potatoes for his sides (of course!), and I found the beans to be delectable, spicy and most definitely homemade.

Our leftovers filled an entire to-go box, but I still needed to try dessert!  I chose the New Orleans Pecan Pie, and am pleased to say it has to be one of the best pecan pies I have ever eaten… and that’s including my own!  Topped with freshly whipped cream, John and I fought over the final bites left on the plate.  Stuffed to the gills, John and I waddled out of yet another wonderful New Orleans restaurant.  I was so glad I had the chance, at last, to visit Elizabeth’s after so many excellent recommendations and I was equally pleased that it lived up to its reputation.  Now I simply can’t wait to go there for brunch!