It has to be said, I am not much of a fan of brunch. Something to do with hating to stand in line, and preferring to be roaming around enjoying my day, and I’ve always preferred to eat a big meal at the end of the day. But there are exceptions to every rule, and on a recent visit to New Orleans for a wedding, I decided it would be a good idea to line our stomachs, pre-celebrations. Some internet sleuthing led me to Coquette, a charming bistro—all mirrors, chandeliers and a highly polished bar—which is located in the Garden District on Magazine.
First off, this place is incredibly photogenic, as is the food it serves—which leans on local ingredients and influences: gumbo, jambalaya, catfish; but keeps things sophisticated and simple. I had a whale of a time annoying my brunching companions by snapping photographs of their meals in the insanely good lighting that was shed over our window table. And I just loved this golden piggy bank.
Secondly, but most importantly, the food was good. Another reason I generally don’t like brunch is that the food can be heavy and cloying – weighing me down for the rest of the day, but not so here. The egg dishes were light and airy – including the scrambled eggs. The browned biscuits ($2 each) were a perfect size to get a taste of ‘biscuit’ without it landing like lead, and even the desserts were petite enough to give a sense of decadence without over-doing it.
Knowing that there would be plenty of alcohol flowing later in the day at the wedding, I opted for a mocktail – a SatSuMe – made with satsuma juice. It was stunning to look at and nice and tangy.
I asked for a larger portion of the Gumbo Z’Herbes – which seemed to be broth vs. roux-based, a plus in my book. (It was on the menu as part of a two-course meal for $20.) It was light and tasty and enjoyed by three of us. It looked like the rice was added at the end—not cooked to death. The dish also included ham and ‘file’ – a green leafy veggie.
Monkey opted for the fried chicken sandwich ($13) – which was pretty huge and messy, which is apparently a good thing. The sauce was great, adding to the mess factor, and the bread and butter pickles were a great complement to the chicken, or so he tells me.
Coquette’s brunch desserts included a pecan pie with butterscotch and malt (pictured up top) for $9. It arrived deconstructed in a pastry shell with a cream custard adorned by caramelized pecans. My braces mean that I can’t eat nuts, but my companion seemed to loved this. And her daughter devoured an eclair with gusto.
Also of note is that there is some seating outside on the sidewalk, should you enjoy dining al fresco in the muggy-ness of New Orleans. For us it was a temperate fall day that was more conducive to skipping and running, than fainting from the heat.
All-in-all, this meal was a highlight of our visit to the Big Easy. The dinner menu also looks delicious and I can’t wait to return.
You will find Coquette at 2800 Magazine Street, New Orleans. Reservations can be made online at Opentable.com.