Tuesday 6 January
Tonight was Epiphany, which in New Orleans is the beginning of Carnival; one holiday has to lead directly into another. So we waited to walk out until the Phunny Phorty Phellows had careened past in their streetcar. Fun inside, no doubt, but not much to see at that speed.
Brigtson's happens to be just across the street from yesterday's spot, Dante's Kitchen, so we are getting used to this part of town. Both are in repurposed small houses, but while Dante's Kitchen is dark, woodsy, and hipstery, Brigtson's is bright, tableclothed, and family-run.
We started with veal sweetbreads and crimini mushrooms on a potato leek cake, swimming in lemon/roasted garlic butter with capers; and shrimp in a sea of BBQ sauce (New Orleans style, of course), around delicious calas (a Creole rice fritter).
One main course was a house specialty: garlic-laced slices of cochon de lait smothered in rich pan gravy, with cracklins (so that's what they're supposed to taste like!), cornbread dressing, and a shell of rather ho-hum broccoli gratin.
We also ordered the famous Brigtson's seafood platter (the "Shell Beach Diet"): grilled drumfish with shrimp and jalapeno lime butter; a ramekin of shrimp cornbread with jalapeño smoked corn butter; baked oyster LeRuth with shrimp and crabmeat, and baked oyster Rockefeller (both containing a couple of tiny oysters, so there would be no ugly fights); shrimp and napa cabbage cole slaw with roasted jalapeño dressing; and sea scallop with asiago cheese grits and fire-roasted vegetable salsa. All were interesting both conceptually and on the palate, though some worked better than others.
A bottle of the very varietal New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, "The Supernatural," worked perfectly with it all.