Friday, July 02, 2010

A visit to New Orleans - Dickie Brennan's Palace Cafe

605 Canal Street
Happy Hour: 5 - 7 PM

Having done a little happy hour research before traveling to New Orleans, I was somewhat aware of the Dickie Brennan restaurants. I knew that there were a few throughout the city and that they were all well-known for something on their menu. What I didn't realize, though, was that they are everywhere. We were headed to Brennan's (I'm guessing it's the original) when we walked by Dickie Brennan's Palace Cafe. We decided to stop there (why not, right?) for their "$5 at 5" menu as it was already nearing six o'clock. And then as we left the Palace Cafe, I noticed that there was another Brennan restaurant--the Bourbon House--just around the corner. That's three within a ten-minute walk...and, those are just the ones I noticed.

Dickie Brennan's Palace Cafe offers a few small plates as well as a few drink options for just five dollars every weekday at five. For two hours, you can sit back and relax in the bar (or outside seating) and enjoy prices much lower than that of the surrounding area. (Even the hand grenades on Bourbon Street are almost double in price.) There were five of us dining that afternoon, and there wasn't any difficulty in finding space within minutes.

The happy hour food menu only listed a few options, and only one was vegetarian. In fact, if I had not set aside the dipping sauce, there wouldn't have been a single item available. I ordered a plate of sweet potato fries (one of my favorites). It was served in a paper cone and was accompanied by a HUGE boat of andouille aioli. I shared the aoili with the ladies at the table who all seemed to appreciate it as their own choices (a Po Boy of some sort) were a bit dry. The sweet potato fries were NOTHING like the sweet potato fries I've had so many times before. Okay, they were still made from sweet potatoes, they were still fried, and they were still the same color as I'm used to. They were not, however, tasty. When people tell me that they don't like sweet potato fries, I usually don't quite understand...but, if these are the only attempts they've tried, it makes complete sense. They were cold, greasy and lacking in salt...which means that if it wasn't obvious that they were made from sweet potatoes, they wouldn't have any flavor at all. It was also an incedibly small amount, even considering the price. Perhaps the chef at the Palace Cafe should make a stop in Portland and try the sweet potato fries at the Bonfire (or even Burgerville, for that matter) as they are much, much better.

I was, however, quite impressed with my drink. I had asked about the specialty cocktail (as it was listed on the happy hour portion of the regular menu) when we first sat down. Our server, who was quite informative (I keep learning little pieces of trivia everywhere I go), told us that the cocktail--a classic lime daiquiri--was John F. Kennedy's second favorite drink, right after the Tom Collins. I ordered one...and, LOVED it. It was so crisp and so refreshing (on a very humid day) and had a perfectly-balanced sugar level. What I didn't love was that the price listed on our bill was not the price I had seen on the menu...but, when I mentioned this to the server, he took care of the whole thing. (This made up for the fact that I saw him motion a "move faster, ladies" finger roll when we were ordering.)

I'm hoping to check out another happy hour at one of the other Dickie Brennan restaurants before we leave next week. They seem to all have the same $5 at 5 deals, but with different menus. I guess we'll see if there's time to get to all of them.

Food: Does Not Meet
Drinks: Exceeds
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Nearly Meets (drinks, for sure...but not on food--not until they double the portions)


Palace Café

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