Opened a little over two years ago, DTB or “Down the Bayou” is a restaurant in the Carrollton neighborhood described as offering “reinterpreted coastal Cajun cuisine.” Created by talented local chef Carl Schaubhut and run by his chef de cuisine John Hill, this intriguing, corner restaurant has been going strong, enticing diners with their dishes of fried cornbread with ham hock marmalade and goat cheese mousse, LA-1 Gumbo with blue crab and collard greens, and blackened redfish with succotash risotto.
Since it’s opening, John and I have visited DTB a few times, but with all of the other restaurants popping up, it was in our rear view mirror for a while. About a week ago, we decided to hit it up for brunch and it did not disappoint … well, mostly.
We arrived at noon on a Sunday and were seated immediately. Though the restaurant was about half-full when we arrived, it filled up quickly as our meal progressed. Being on keto, there were actually only a few dishes I could’ve gone with, but that day I was needing a big cheat (it had been almost 5 months since my last!) and I fully intended on carbing it up.
After a couple of cups of hot coffee, our dishes arrived. I couldn’t resist getting a side of buttermilk biscuits with their unique version of shrimp and grits. The two big-as-my-fist biscuits were fluffy inside, almost crunchy on the outside and smeared with lots of butter and their own orange (possibly satsuma?) marmalade, I was in hog heaven. Saving the second biscuit for the leftover Fresno chili barbecue butter on my shrimp and grits was the plan, but by the time I demolished most of the shrimp, oyster mushrooms and a pile of incredibly creamy, Pecorino cheese grits, I hardly had any room!
I tried to pawn the second biscuit off on John, but even he was tapering off after gobbling most of his beefy brisket-debris Benedict with buttery, Gruyere-cheesy, Mornay sauce. After all, his dish with beautifully-poached eggs was atop a split buttermilk biscuit and served with a giant pile of fried red potatoes.
Although we were both full and groaning, we had pre-ordered a dessert, so we just decided to push on through and dive into a plate of stuffed banana beignets with banana cream. After such a brilliant breakfast, we thought dessert would be a breeze, especially considering the delights I’d previously enjoyed while judging for the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience. DTB’s pastry chef and chef de cuisine John Hill’s partner Jessica Shoemaker had been knocking it out of the park with desserts like a cane syrup blackberry trifle in 2018 and this year’s Ponchatoula Scooter Crunch with sugar cookie crust, Ponchatoula strawberry gelee, white chocolate mousse and strawberry sorbet with elderflower liquor.
Perhaps Shoemaker wasn’t in the kitchen that day or perhaps she didn’t make this particular, sweet brunch dish, but all I know for sure was that it completely fell flat. The beignets were burnt on the outside (I suspect the oil was too hot) and doughy on the inside and the banana cream left a decidedly pasty feel in my mouth. John and I put our forks down after each eating half a beignet. When our gracious server noticed we had barely touched the plate, he asked what was wrong and when he realized our disappointment, quietly and kindly removed the dish from our tab.
Everyone has bad days and no one is perfect. John and I will gladly overlook this minor bummer in what was a wonderful meal overall and we look forward to enjoying another fine meal at DTB.