With Super Bowl XLVII fast approaching, thoughts turn to the host city of New Orleans. Having recently returned from what's arguably America's gastronomic epicenter, after days spent drifting from one super meal to the next, I've gained a renewed appreciation of how well the local Cajun and Creole cuisines are interpreted by Long Island chefs.
I compared the crusty, flaky and decidedly oversize biscuits and andouille sausage gravy recollected from Biscuits & Barbeque in Mineola to the somewhat sweet and rather characterless little biscuits at Commander’s Palace, a truly grand restaurant whose airy, rich bread pudding soufflé blew me away. Even so, when it came to biscuits, the Mineola big boys came out on top.
We held an ongoing gumbo contest involving bowlfuls at such various locales as Cochon, Herbsaint, Emeril’s, Restaurant August and Sylvain. For the record: Herbsaint won for best in New Orleans. Even so, the chicken and andouille gumbo there didn’t match the fire, depth and nuance of gumbos recalled, over the years, at Big Daddy’s in Massapequa Park and The Bayou in Bellmore.
No question, the food scene in New Orleans is a transcendent one. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its ups and downs, like everywhere else. And that we can’t, occasionally, hit the heights right here at home.
Above: The big, bodacious biscuit at Biscuits & Barbeque in Mineola