Atchafalaya – New Orleans, Louisiana

 

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I’ve always been a  big fan of Anthony Bourdain, I just love the guy! So, of course, before I got to New Orleans, I did some research on some of his local favorites and found Atchafalaya.The name, long river in choctaw, sounded interesting and his comments were quite favorable. So, I left the French Quarter behind and took a ten minute cab drive to the charming Garden district neighborhood.atchafalayafish

In 2005, right after hurricane Katrina, owners Tony Tocco and Rachel Jaffe Tocco turned this historic locale into a chic neighborhood eatery refurbishing it inside with reclaimed materials left from the storm. It seemed like the perfect place to go for an authentic New Orleans meal, away from tourists and crowds.

On the corner of   beautiful tree-lined Louisiana avenue and Laurel street, stands this lovely wooden structure that, from the outside, looked more like a small cafe. Little did we know that inside, a charming and intimate space of dim lights and comfortable seating would welcome us into what would be one of the best dining experiences we ever had.

We were happy to see a menu full of great seafood choices like the amazing Maine diver seared scallops served with sweet corn, mushrooms and roasted cherry tomatoes with a drizzle of sherry caramel for $16.  For the main course, I ordered some of the local fish  know as Drum: two fillets of a tender and flaky white fish sautéed with smoked turnips, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, totsoi (Asian spinach), grapes and an orange basil gastrique (caramelized vinegar sauce) for $30.

The pecan smoked New York strip steak was quite interesting: perfectly grilled Louisiana grass fed beef, french fry “poutine” ( gravy) and a delectable foie gras-red wine sauce served with sautéed baby spinach  for $36. Dessert was a nice surprise: a trio  of homemade sorbets of strawberry, peach and  the delicious satsuma, a  mild  citric fruit native to the area that offered the perfect balance of sweet and sour for $8.

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Don’t ever be intimidated by a long name like Atchafalaya, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what hides behind it! Definitely the best food I had in New Orleans.

 

 

 

atchafalaya1Atchafalaya

92 Louisiana Avenue

New Orleans, LA 70115

505 891 9626

http://www.atchafalayarestaurant.com

Kazumi Modern Japanese – Key Biscayne, Florida

kaz5When you are not in the mood for something heavy, where do you go for something light and really  fresh? A Japanese restaurant perhaps? Yes, a really good one like Kazumi in Key Biscayne.

It was late and we didn’t want to leave the island so we hopped onto the golf cart and went for a spin. Luckily, we stumbled upon a small  restaurant at the Galleria mall  that looked modern and sophisticated. Hoping the food would be along the same lines, we delved into a very interesting menu of both Japanese and Peruvian specialties:  sushi, ceviche, tiraditos and some small grilled plates of mostly beef, chicken and vegetables.  Some of the main dishes are grilled ribeye with truffle and ponzu sauce, pork belly and miso cod aside from their daily specials.kazasparagus

We ordered the delicate homemade vegetable gyoza served over a mildly sweet carrot puree. Rich in flavor, these small mushroom filled  dumplings are pan fried after they’re steamed, making them somewhat crunchy on the outside and tender and juicy inside for $8; no dipping sauce needed! The perfectly grilled asparagus was a  small order yet cooked to perfection, you rarely find asparagus cooked this well.

kazroll2The Buddah roll  was the best of its kind that I’ve ever tasted. Fresh salmon, cream cheese, avocado and tempura flakes wrapped  in soybean paper with a touch of spicy mayo that gave it a very light kick for $16.  The vegetable roll was equally fresh, loaded with shredded carrots, asparagus and cucumber for $15. Delighful!  Finally, a first class Asian restaurant on the Key. As the Japanese would say: Umami!

 

 

kazdumpKazumi Modern Japanese

260 Crandon Blvd Ste 16

Key Biscayne, FL 33149

(305) 361-2675

http://www.kazumirestaurant.com