So, I start with my two favorite places to eat in New Orleans. I am so glad they are not located in DC, otherwise I would just have to eat at these places at least once a week. Before leaving to NOLA, I asked on Twitter about places to eat and Tammy aka @floridagirldc quickly recommended Stanley and sent me a link to her blog post about it. After looking around their website, I discovered that Stanley had a sister restaurant named Stella! and that it was located at one of the hotels I would be staying at. I couldn’t wait to try both of them.
Chef Scott Boswell, creator of both Stanley and Stella!, has a brilliant way of constructing his dishes. For example, a Korean BBQ beef sandwich with Kimchee in poor boy format, tiny apple/walnut spring rolls and caramelized bananas to accompany seared foie gras, foie gras won tons as component to duck five ways, a crème brûlée trio with perfectly caramelized tops served in egg shells topped with foamy clouds and arriving in a mist created with liquid nitrogen… Every dish is taken to an entirely different level of awesomeness. I cannot help but ask myself how does he come up with these decadent ideas? So it is no surprise that the best part of my dinner at Stella was a chance to meet him and talk about his interests, food, his upcoming stage at Pierre Gagnaire, and how NOLA is being affected by the BP oil spill. I cannot thank him enough for his hospitality and delicious food creations. Follow him on Twitter @ChefScottB for a behind the scenes look at Stella, all things NOLA, and a lot of sexy food porn.
The first time I went to Stanley there was a sign at the door stating that the restaurant would be closing early because a film crew would be coming in that night. I stepped inside and hesitantly asked if they were still open. I was greeted by a young man who proudly stated: “Yes, we are open, and serving the best food in New Orleans.” You know you are going to have a good meal when your server is still enthusiastic about the food the restaurant offers at the end of a shift. Stanley has an array of comfort foods for you to pick from. My favorite was the Korean BBQ Beef Poor Boy with Kimchee. For dessert, you must try the blueberry ice cream. The slightly tart blueberry flavored base went perfectly with the creamy cheesecake pieces in it. Everything else I tasted was also delicious: cheeseburger, fries, onion rings (crispy and not greasy or soggy), oyster poor boy, and club sandwich.
Ok, so there are only a few pictures of the dishes I had at Stella. I just could not bring myself to take out my huge DSLR camera. My friend and I tried to be less conspicuous by taking pictures with our phone cameras but most came out dreadful. So I apologize in advance. Instead, go gawk at the pictures on the galleries at Stella’s website.
All I can say is that every single bite at Stella was amazing. From the moment you walk in the door you know that you are in for a special treat. I was lucky enough to be able to go to Stella twice during my stay in New Orleans. I don’t know that I can pick a favorite dish from the ones I tasted. Ok, I confess, I could have the eggs with caviar, foie gras wontons (from the Duck 5 ways), and seared foie gras on brioche toast with caramelized bananas anytime.
I don’t want to bore you with specifics, but in case you are interested here is a list of the dishes we had:
The roasted potato and parmesan gnocchi were fluffy clouds in a delicious sauce sprinkled with bellota ham, morels and scallions, so rich and decadent.
The lobster egg and caviar was divine. I would love to have this for breakfast with toasted pieces of brioche.
The seared Hudson Valley foie gras sat on a piece of toasted brioche and was perfectly cooked. Accompanied with tiny apple walnut spring roll, caramelized banana circles, and a huckcleberry purée. This dish is heaven. The flavors really complement each other constructing a flavor profile that is savory, sweet, and tart.
Pan-Seared Georges Bank Dry Pack Scallops and Jumbo Gulf Shrimp with Truffle Andouille New Potato Hash and Caviar Butter. The caviar pops in your mouth for a tantalizing surprise. The aroma of the Andouille sausage permeates the dish. The gulf shrimp are smooth and perfectly cooked.
Duck Five Ways: Szechwan Seared Breast, Lacquered Leg and Thigh, Moo Shoo Pancake Stir-Fry, Duck Miso Broth, Crisp Foie Gras Won Tons and Currant Cassis Reduction. The duck miso broth was savory and flavorful. I would love to have this instead of chicken soup if I was down with the flu. The lacquered leg is the star here, so much flavor concentrated on the glaze. I wish I could order a dozen of the foie gras won tons.
Porcini Crusted Dutch Valley Veal Tenderloin Medallions with Fingerling Potato Confit, Roasted Root Vegetables and Escargot, Calvados and Herb Reduction. What can you say about veal tenderloin in a Calvados reduction? Tender and delicate.
Tandoori-Roasted Tasmanian King Salmon and Coconut Shrimp Basmati Fried Rice with Crisp Vegetable Spring Rolls, Indian Flatbread and Spicy Mango Cashew Butter. Perfectly cooked salmon with just the right amount of sweetness and spice.
Trio of Crème Brûlée: I couldn’t try a different dessert my second time at Stella. I just loved the crème brûlée trio so much the first time that I had to have it again: cinnamon star anise, Japanese green tea, and ginger Grand Marnier.
Make sure you stop by at Stanley and Stella! if you are in New Orleans. These two restaurants are definitely not to be missed!