May 30, 2012 § Leave a comment
1403 Washington Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70130
I’ll spare you the history lesson as I’m sure either their website or wikipedia can do a more formal and precise job of it than myself, but suffice it to say that Commander’s Palace in New Orleans has been around since 1880 and has maintained a sterling reputation for service and quality throughout their history. Considering how accustomed one is to seeing restaurants come and go, it’s amazing to think that there are a handful of restaurants in our country that have managed to hold steadfast to their reputation and stay true to their cuisine while managing to evolve just enough to stay relevant and win over new audiences.
As far as my own personal history with Commander’s Palace goes, it was a name in my household that was synonymous with decadence and luxury and was the name was thrown around in an almost joking manner whenever someone was looking for requests on where we should eat for any particular occasion. I deduced from a childhood and then some of this banter that their food was both spectacular and expensive, and if I were to eat there it would indeed be quite a luxury. As such, my curiosity developed over time and my first experience there actually lived up to my expectations from the impeccable service to the rich cuisine.
In my handful of pleasant experiences there, I have somehow always gone for their jazz brunch on Sunday and nearly always ordered a steak dish of some sort with turtle soup. I remember fondly the different tender steaks I have had there with their marrow sauce or wine sauce or mushroom accoutrements and the ever-classic standard-setting rusty orange turtle soup with the perfect drizzle of sherry that really enhanced the complexity of flavors within. I held steadfast to my love for Commander’s Palace and recommended it for the impeccable service, experience, and cuisine to many and would occasionally take guests there for a special New Orleans style experience that grew to become quite dear to me. Unfortunately, it took one poor experience there a few years ago where the combination of errors in food execution and service left me distraught and uncomfortable to the point of embarrassed in front of my guest especially considering how much I had fondly talked about the place. It’s sad how one bad experience somewhere can make you reluctant to go back, but it did. There are entirely too many other restaurants worth trying to go back to some place when there is a fear that they will disappoint you–especially at a fairly high price tag.
As fate would have it, I was recently invited out to eat there for jazz brunch on Sunday while I was visiting home. I was willing to put aside my previous negative experience to see if Commander’s Palace could live up to the fond memories and hold up to some of the great dining experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to have in the past few years.