Monday, July 22, 2013

Guten Appetit, Y'all

Let's start this epicurean essay with a photo of a prodigious pile of palate pleasing porcine parts plated for your pleasure.

Composing that opening line was as much a strain on the mind as was trying to ingest all of this John Besh creation, Choucroute Garnie Maison. My abdominal food receptor was hard pressed to pack in so much delicious food, but my buds of taste were thrilled beyond measure with that huge, perfectly prepared smoked pork shank, melt in the mouth Mangalista braised pork belly chunks, and a brontosaurus sized bratwurst cradled on a bed of savory house-made sauerkraut with a couple of new potatoes tossed in for good measure.

Down! Down! Damned cholesterol. Get down! Oh, to heck with it.

In planning our recent dining adventure to New Orleans I knew I would have to include Lüke, Besh's homage to the grand old Franco-German brasseries that once reigned in New Orleans. Lüke did not disappoint either my bride or myself. Service was friendly and efficient, the menu was compact, but not lacking in taste tempting delights.

We began our evening with a couple of glasses of Lüke Fru, a Louisiana blonde lager. To accompany my beverage I requested a dozen P & J oysters on the half shell. These mollusks were perfectly shucked and delicious. Presentation left a lot to be desired though.

While enjoying my oysters, the Belle of Ballast Point ordered the Flamenkuche, a thin Alsacien onion tart, with bacon, and Emmenthaler cheese.  This tart was like a flatbread smothered in melted cheese with a sprinkling of crispy, yet fatty bacon, and caramelized onions. This was a yummy tart, and who doesn't relish a tasty tart now and again?

As a side note, my Northwest Florida cracker upbringing caused me to mull over a couple of pronunciation choices for flamenkuche, both eliciting a private chuckle. Not until I got home and went to the Google did I discover the 'a' is soft and the ending sounds like that in 'whoosh'.

I have already gushed over my entrée, now it's my bride's turn. The Belle ordered the Poulet Grand-Mère (Grandma's hen), a herb roasted local chicken, with Allan Benton’s bacon, farmers' market vegetables and whipped potatoes. I can't speak for anyone else's Grandma, but mine never cooked a chicken as good as this one.

Back home in Tampa, we probably would have paid close to $200 for a meal of this magnitude. To our great surprise, this feast was a mere $118.53. Of course, we added 20% for superior service.

Whoops, I'm not quite done yet. To polish off the evening, my bride requested an order of bread pudding that she declared to be really good...but, not quite as good as mine (sorry John, but I'd be glad to send you my recipe).

Our dining experience at Lüke was one of the very best during our four day trip to this beautiful city. I can only wish we had a restaurant like it back in Tampa.

Lüke on Urbanspoon Luke Restaurant on Foodio54

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