In December I was in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. This was my first time attending a bowl game completely as a fan, and I relished every minute of it. No getting up at the crack of dawn, no working, no having to be “on”. My favorite part, though, was being able to spend more time with friends.
This year the bowl trip fell around New Year’s Eve, which was very fun because I’d never experienced it in New Orleans. I’ve actually gone through many stages of NYE in my life. As a kid, my best friend’s parents threw a huge party every year, and it was the one night of the year we were allowed to stay up as long as we wanted. In my 20’s we went to big parties at a hotel in downtown DC. Starting in my 30’s and continuing till now, if there was no bowl game, it was all I could do to stay awake until midnight.
Earlier in the day I had hit Cafe du Monde for breakfast, and then had the most amazing chargrilled oysters at Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar for lunch.We didn’t want anything super fancy for NYE dinner, which was good because most of the higher end restaurants required reservations. And fancier dress than any of us had. Joni, Tony and I had spent a low-key afternoon at the hotel bar, along with a lot of other OSU fans. The weather wasn’t really cooperating, and there were football games on, so that seemed like the best plan. We eventually made our way towards Bourbon Street to meet Michele & Reilly, but got sidetracked when we saw Lee & Kristi. Finally we were hungry, and Michele was raving about Cafe Soule, where they were eating dinner. Not only that, but it was 1/2 block off Bourbon Street with no wait and no reservations required at 7PM. That was all we needed to hear.
Cafe Soule is a very cute restaurant with seating both upstairs and downstairs. The upstairs is the Paris Room, that is also used for special events. We sat downstairs. The dining room, like many others in New Orleans, doesn’t take any space for granted. While we were there, they actually brought out 2 high-top tables and chairs to allow for additional seating for guests. I have to say, I really like that they did that rather than make guests wait or even ask them to come back. They had the space, and they made it work really fast. There’s a bar at the back of the dining room and beautiful distressed wood floors. There are 2 large window doors that were open that night, and they also have a couple of tables out front for patio seating. The doors were open and it was a little chilly, but not too bad. They also have a very pretty chandelier hanging in the main dining room
The Cafe Soule menu is French inspired, and their dishes are a fusion of New Orleans and French cuisine. They are open for breakfast lunch and dinner, and even have a gluten free vegetarian menu. The dinner menu has appetizers, crepes, entrees, salads, soups, sandwiches and desserts.
Lee ordered the softshell crab po boy sandwich
And since this is what happens when I tell him I need a picture for the blog, all you can see are fries! He did say the sandwich was good.
Joni & Kristi both went with the French dip sandwich
They both really liked the sandwich. They did say that the au jus is much thicker than they were expecting, and initially thought it might even be a dip for their fries. I tried a bite of Joni’s sandwich and it was good. Very flavorful. The fries were delicious as well.
Tony and Timmy both went with the shrimp & eggplant Pierre. The server said it was her favorite dish on the menu
I tried a bite and it was excellent. The sauce was very rich, but it had a wonderful flavor. The eggplant maintained its crisp exterior, despite the sauce. The shrimp were quite big and perfectly cooked.
I started with the French onion soup
As you can see, it was a little burnt on top. But I quickly got past that after one bite. The broth was very rich and flavorful, and thankfully not salty like often happens with French onion soup. It also wasn’t overloaded with cheese, which to me was very good. My throat was starting to get a little sore, so the soup was perfect to warm and coat my throat.
For my entree I went with the BBQ shrimp & grits. This was the server’s second favorite dish
I have to say, I was very disappointed. It took forever for it to come out, and when we said something to the server, I realized by her reaction that she probably forgot to put in the order. Thankfully I had my soup to eat while I waited. The whole dish was just lukewarm and the shrimp was overcooked. I know that is very easy to do because shrimp cooks fast, but that shouldn’t happen in a restaurant. The grits were nice and creamy, but very bland. I’m guessing maybe they do that so that the flavor of the sauce is able to be dominant. I added some salt and butter, and that significantly upped the flavor. The sauce itself was pretty good, and the grits soaked it up very well. I’m convinced that this dish was thrown together in a rush since it was so last-minute. I would have rather waited to have the dish prepared properly. I find it impossible to believe this could be a favorite if this was the regular presentation. I considered complaining, but it was getting late and we had friends waiting for us.
After dinner, we made our way to the Cat’s Meow karaoke bar. It’s only about 3 blocks away, but it took us forever to get there because everyone wanted to take pictures with Lee (Mr. Orange Power) and he couldn’t help but talk to almost every single person we saw. Once there though, we had an awesome time, got to throw beads from the balcony, and it was so much fun to ring in the new year with friends
Will I go back to Cafe Soule? Yes. My entree was the only disappointing part of the entire experience, so I want to give it another chance.