I recently took a little whirlwind, spur of the moment trip to New Orleans with two friends. One of my friend’s was celebrating her 40th, while I was enjoying another 40-something birthday! For my special day, we woke up early and walked over to Café du Monde for coffee and beignets followed by a late brunch at Arnaud’s. This trip was all about enjoying Southern seriously good food.
Established in in 1918 by Arnaud Cazenave and now in its fourth generation of owners, Arnaud’s offers one of the most famous Dixieland Jazz Brunch’s in New Orleans.
Located on the Corner of Bourbon and Rui Bienville Street, a small doorway leads you into an old world New Orleans charmed hallway of dark wood and chandeliers towards friendly but austere hosts. Right on time for our reservation and completely forgetting the laid back, go slow nature of the South, we were asked to wait in the bar area, aptly named French 75, and wait we did for quite a while. Not to worry, smartly vested waiters were on hand to serve fun cocktails. I was definitely considering their award winning French 75, instead after seeing a tray of Blood Mary’s pass me by, I decided that was the only way to go – in fact we all did. It was deliciously good and helped us pass the time while looking at the beautiful old lamps and charming décor. Arnaud’s feels like old New Orleans money, rich in attitude and deep in history.
After about 30 minutes we were escorted through two large dining areas to our table towards the back of the restaurant, which has views of Bourbon Street, unfortunately, it was frigidly cold. We needed more drinks!
In the mood for something fabulously fun and not another Bloody Mary, I picked a refreshingly good Gin Fizz. Kerry tried the Milk Punch which she said was “sweet and nutty like light egg nog.” Wendy (check out her amazing Bookcooker blog) picked another Bloody Mary commenting it was “the perfect rendition of the classic – not too strong and not too spicy – a great morning wake up call.” We were ready for our brunch.
The brunch menu offers four courses for the price of the entrée. You can just have one or two courses, but why would you when dishes like Shrimp Arnaud and Oysters are on offer as an appetizer. I started with a plate of lovely, briny Louisiana oysters, while Kerry enjoyed Shrimp Arnaud and Wendy the Chilled Fruit Salad all followed by a simple Arnaud’s salad.
My main of Omelette au Fromage is what food memories are made of. A light tantalizing fragrance of truffle begged me to enjoy every single morsel of quite possibly one of the best omelet’s I have ever had the pleasure of eating.
Kerry enjoyed the Savory Crabmeat Cheesecake, which she said was “similar to a quiche but less dense and amazing. I dream about that dish!”
Wendy chose the Boudin Cakes, which she said “were a meatier version of eggs benedict with perfectly fried eggs nestled on top of crispy boudin sausage cakes. With some asparagus and tomato to make the plate seem more virtuous.”
We were all extremely happy diners after our main brunch dishes and had forgotten about the chill in the air.
There was still a fourth course to go and of course that meant someone had to have the famous Banana’s Foster. Kerry and Wendy took on this task and sadly found it a bit disappointing… “we had seen the dramatic table side preparation done for neighboring diners, but our waiter seemed to have run out of steam for the day, so the dessert was merely OK rather than something special.”
I ended with a dish of simple strawberry ice cream, which helped ease the pain of my full tummy while listening to the musicians who walked up to tables asking for requests.
Arnaud’s is a wonderful, classic New Orleans experience that is meant to be enjoyed over a long period of time with friends and family and celebration. It truly was a memorable and enjoyable experience overall for the three of us.
Check out their fun Ghost Stories.