Courting fine food
Our last night in New Orleans, we had dinner at one of the great, old-time NOLA restaurants, the Court of Two Sisters.
The Court of Two Sisters has been around for ages. The building dates from 1832, it has been a restaurant of some sort since the 1920’s, in it’s present incarnation for about 50 years. The “two sisters” Bertha and Emma Camors, were born in 1858 and 1860, and operated a notions shop in the space until the 1920’s. They died two months apart in 1944.
The Court is an actual courtyard, outdoors in the sultry New Orleans evening. The tiny amount of rain that fell on us that evening was refreshing, not irksome. We were with good friends on a beautiful evening, after a day spent sightseeing and looking forward to a night of kibitzing and kicking back.
The menu had your basic Southern favorites, except for crawfish etoufee. In fact, I didn’t see a plate of etoufee all week long. Is there a season? Has it gone out of favor? I was looking forward to it for months, then was completely disappointed.
Gail had the corn fried catfish:
The catfish was crispy and delicate, the crab meat was meatier than we expect on the west coast, the slaw was crisp and tart, not creamy–just the way she likes it.”Scrumdy–dow” is not a scientific description, but that’s what Gail said it was.
I had a pasta dish with shrimp and crawfish. Not fancy or creative, but it made excellent use of the local seafood.
Everybody else had the Veal Oscar–a cutlet served on mashed potatoes and topped with local crabmeat. It comes with “tasso hollandaise”, which both Lindas and Mike had served on the side, then they completely abjured it. I tasted the sauce, which is hollandaise flavored with tasso (a cured, hot-smoked port shoulder, highly seasoned and a staple of New Orleans cuisine). I didn’t like it–no lemony tang of hollandaise, too much dark, salty tasso. I think they were wise to avoid it.
Not that you care, you’re only here to read about the bread pudding. It’s great. Heavy, sweet pudding with a caramelized top, drenched in the best whisky sauce in town. It ought to be–they put the recipe for the sauce on their website, and it starts with:
1 ¼ lbs. butter
1 lb. sugar
9 egg yolks
½ cup half and half
I realize that’s an industrial size recipe, but it’s still rich enough to block you arteries at 500 paces. Add some quality boubon and you’ve got a sauce to write poetry about.
The Court of Two Sisters is a New Orleans landmark you really shouldn’t miss. They serve a famous brunch as well as dinner, but have the bread pudding in any event.