Saturday, February 16, 2013

Palace Cafe (New Orleans - French Quarter)

I honestly don't think there is any other restaurant in this world that I love more than Palace Cafe in New Orleans.

Palace Cafe captured my attention in 2002 when I had their amazing Shrimp Tchefuncte, but it stole my heart on my return trip in 2005 when they so graciously offered me the recipe.  I have since made the Shrimp Tchefuncte at home a number of times (which prompted Palace Cafe to write their own blog post in my honor!), but that doesn't mean I didn't look forward to having the real thing again on this trip to New Orleans.

Palace Cafe (New Orleans)
Palace Cafe

Palace Cafe (New Orleans) 2
Inside Palace Cafe

Eight years has been far too long, but everything about Palace Cafe remains comfortably familiar. The Shrimp Tchefuncte comes in a Creole meuniére sauce with green onions and roasted mushrooms, and served with popcorn rice. I took one bite - and no exaggeration here - I was nearly in tears.  I had spent the last eight years hyping up this dish in my head, and the perfectly cooked shrimp and exquisite sauce still exceeded expectations. If I ever get to request a last meal, this would be it, hands down.

Shrimp Tchefuncte at Palace Cafe (New Orleans)
Shrimp Tchefuncte ($19)

I was very curious as to what R. thought of his meal. Sometimes, when I make a strong recommendation about a restaurant, I do worry that others won't find it as amazing as I do. I had been talking up Palace Cafe for so many years that it would have been embarrassing if R. thought it was a dud.

But au contraire, R. loved, loved, loved his Grilled Gulf Fish Panzanella, with housemade olive bread croutons, cucumbers, tomatoes, capers, and spinach tossed in an Italian parsley pistou. (It normally comes with grilled eggplant as well, but R. had asked to leave it out.) While several other meals we shared were rather excellent, he wholeheartedly agreed with me that Palace Cafe was the best meal we'd had in New Orleans! (And no, he certainly doesn't agree with me all the time!) It makes me so happy that he enjoyed my favorite restaurant!

Grilled Gulf Fish Panzanella
Grilled Gulf Fish Panzanella ($24)

This third visit to Palace Cafe for me truly solidified its place in my heart. My only regret is that we had had such a substantial and very late "brunch" earlier in the day that we didn't have the room to try more courses. We were specifically eyeing the bananas foster, made fresh tableside, which had been served at a neighboring table while we dined. But alas, we were too full.

Next time - hopefully less than eight years from now - we will be sure to come hungry. In the meantime, I do believe I will be making the Shrimp Tchefuncte again very, very soon.

Restaurant info:
Palace Café
605 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
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