Dining Review: Gris-Gris – New Orleans
Gris-Gris was an early find in my New Orleans research as a must do dinner as it seemed to continue to come up as a crowd favorite in the Garden District. It is desired as serving up refined New Orleans cuisine in a causal environment – our kind of dining experience. Since it was close by to the Airbnb, I figured this would be a good place to hit after our flight in.
When I made the reservation I was given the choice of outdoor or indoor dining and I chose outdoor. Gris Gris has the fortune of plenty of outdoor space not just outside the restaurant but also on a second floor. We were seated right outside the front door, which did not bother us. In face, as people walked by some even gave us recommendations on what to order (one claiming these guys make the best chicken and dumplings of her life). The inside of the restaurant is really neat – the seating is all bar styled facing the open kitchen to watch and interact with the chefs. That would have been a cool feature to have enjoyed but when we are able to enjoy outdoor dining, we are going to continue so.
This menu was quite diverse and made it difficult for all of us to make a decision. The focus was still on New Orleans dishes but elevated them with some unique and fresh ingredients to make this special to Gris-Gris. It took quite a bit of negotiating but we were finally able to come to a decision.
First off, the drink menu here was awesome! There was a cocktail for everyone covering a wide range of flavors and alcohols. I ordered their new peach frose which was just so delightful – I could have drank these all night it was so tasty. The boys got margaritas to start – it was cinco de mayo after all – and branched out to other offerings after. We were all very happy with the drink selection here.
To start, we ordered the Oyster BLT – fried gulf oysters, smoked pork belly, tomato jam and micro arugula with sugarcane vinegar.
Oh nom nom nom this was so delicious! The fried oysters were a nice size and the batter was not overpowering the oceany flavor you eat oysters for. The pork belly was prepared very well and had a combination of sweet and smoky flavors. The tomato jam provided a little acid to the dish and the sugar vinegar drizzled on top was a fun way to tie together the saltiness of the fried oyster and the pork belly. Thumbs up on this dish – we devoured it in seconds and could have easily had another round.
Kevin ordered the Mississippi rabbit fricassee – braised local rabbit, seared trinity, Louisiana popcorn rice, blackened sweet cornbread
Beautiful presentation and a large portion size. The rabbit was very tasty and tender, he really enjoyed it. The sauce was a bit salty but not enough to ruin the flavors. Though the cornbread addition was perfect to dip into the sauce.
I ordered the Sugarcare Seared Duck – local molasses, roasted sweet potato and pecan casserole, sugarcane demi-glace.
I was nervous this was going to be a large heaping potion of duck so when the dish was placed in front of me I was quite happy. The duck was cooked perfectly at a pink medium and it was swimming in a pool of sugarcane demi-glace which was just delicious – hard not to enjoy anything that has this smeared all over it. And we were all excited to taste the roasted sweet potato and pecan casserole – and it was just as good as it sounds. While this may not have been the most New Orleans dish I could have ordered, it was delicious and I enjoyed it immensely.
My brother ordered the Creole redfish court-bouillon – white creole-fried redfish with seafood tomato sauce, popcorn rice and charred lemon.
When it comes to presentation, it was hard to argue this plate! I think all our jaws dropped and it certainly turned heads as people walked by our table. I do not think any of us expected this from reading the description. While you had to work for your meat, the fish was well prepared and the crust was so tasty. The fish was very flavorful but it was a bit cumbersome to extract the bones since the skin was so crispy.
While we were all full, it was hard to ignore the dessert offerings since the food for the entire meal had been so creative and well executed. There were two options and we opted to split their version of a pecan pie. As you can tell by the photo, it is not at all like a traditional pecan pie but it was more like a pudding consistency. It was very light but did not compromise on flavor.
By the time we were wrapped up and ready to head back to the Airbnb, the entire Gris-Gris building was bopping with people – it is clearly a popular spot and for good reason!