Yesterday was my birthday and I was able celebrate it at Commander’s Palace with my parents and Michelle. For a long time I’ve wanted to do dinner here and the meal was everything I hoped it would be.
The restaurant is such a New Orleans icon and has had so many major chefs working there from Emeril Lagasse to Paul Prudhomme to the current chef, Tory McPhail. It serves haute creole cuisine with lots of local seafood and vegetables. Stepping inside is like stepping into another world, where the staff all greet you and seem happy to have you there; not just resigned to slogging through another shift.
I recommend reviewing the menu first (available as a pdf) so that you have an idea of what is available. They do have a number of specials from the chef but being prepared helps, especially as I wanted everyone ordering something different so we could all try many things.
We started with cocktails and I had the Tequila Mockingbird, which I mainly got for the name (as that is my favorite book) but I really quite enjoyed the addition of limoncello to my tequila drink. Very light and refreshing.
Mom started with a strawberry arugula salad that was delicious but was missing the bleu cheese. As I’m not a bleu cheese fan, I thought it was fine without.
The soup of the day was a white bean with spring lamb. I love ham and bean soup and this was a slightly lighter version. Dad with for the 1-1-1 soup combo so he was able to try the gumbo, turtle and soup de jour. He really, really liked the turtle and intends to order a full bowl of it next time.
I skipped on any starters because I ordered the 24 oz cowboy ribeye. It had a creole spice and a caramelized onion-cracked pepper gravy. I don’t usually like a lot of extras on my steak but the meat was cooked perfectly to medium rare and the sauce did add a nice touch. Unfortunately the picture I took does not do it justice.
Mom got the grilled white shrimp with a citrus beurre blanc. Very large and tasty shrimp and the sauce was quite different from anything else I’ve had before.
Michelle had the cast iron seared crispy redfish with mushrooms and crawfish tails. The sauce was a sweet corn soubise (bechamel sauce with a puree of corn). The seasoning was delicious and the fish was moist and flaky. Dad kept sneaking the crawfish tails off her plate, so I’m assuming they were good, too!
Dad really enjoyed the soft shell crab. It was a very large crab, so the veggies on the plate didn’t get eaten. Can you say the acorn didn’t fall far from the tree? Anyway, he thought it was pretty terrific.
For dessert, Michelle had the strawberry shortcake with a buttermilk biscuit. While I prefer a pound cake or sponge cake to go with strawberries, Michelle thought the dish was unfreaking believable. The biscuit was fluffy and the strawberries weren’t too sweet. She lists it as the best strawberry shortcake she’s ever had.
I ordered the Praline Parfait and it came with a hat and a candle. House made vanilla ice cream, with candied pecans and a sticky praline syrup. Rich and creamy and so very good.
We took our leftovers home in cute little aluminum foil swans.
The service was impeccable with drinks refilled before the glass was empty, all of our dishes were presented at the same time and the staff was friendly and personable. This is an expensive place to eat but worth every penny when you want to have a special night out.