Wonderful way to start out a trip to New Orlean, with the delicious food and drinks at Oceana Grill in the heart of the French Quarter
Oklahoma State played in the Sugar Bowl in December. That, of course, meant a road trip to New Orleans! Normally when the bowl is outside of Texas my parents will meet me at the site, but this year they wanted to spend Christmas in Stillwater so they did that and then we drove. The good thing is it gave us a couple more meals for the blog…yes, I’m always thinking in those terms. We had left Stillwater early Tuesday morning, so arrived in Dallas just in time for lunch at Meso Maya in Dallas. Our next stop was Lafayette, LA for the night, and dinner at Saigon Noodle.
Driving all the way to Lafayette, instead of our initial planned stop in Shreveport, meant a shorter drive to New Orleans the following day. That ended up being a very good decision, because it was raining when we left the hotel, pouring within 30 minutes, and absolute blinding rain an hour in. That is no fun, especially when you don’t know where you’re going, and even worse when you’re driving across a 10-mile long bridge over a swamp. Thankfully by the time we hit the outskirts of NOLA the rain had stopped.
The team hotel was the New Orleans Marriott, located in the heart of the French Quarter, just 2 blocks from Bourbon Street. My mom wasn’t hungry when we checked in, but my dad and I were starving. I asked a couple of friends, as well as the concierge, and decided on Oceana Grill.
Oceana Grill is about a 5-minute walk from the hotel. The restaurant is divided into 6 sections: the bar is on the left as soon as you enter, the courtyard is at the back of the restaurant, the Cookery takes up the main floor and then upstairs has 3 spaces. The restaurant was pretty full when we arrived, but we were seated immediately.
Oceana Grill servers breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lunch menu was pretty substantial, which is never a good sign for me because I can never make a decision. So while we decided I ordered a Swamp Tea.
I was a little worried the Creme de Menthe would be overpowering, but our server said it just added color. This drink was so good! It definitely had a kick, but more so it was just very refreshing. And she was right about the color. My dad doesn’t do fruity drinks, but he had a taste and enjoyed it.
My dad wanted to try the fried eggplant sticks. I don’t normally eat eggplant because I don’t like the texture. But I agreed to be adventurous with him
These were excellent. They were lightly fried, crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. They really almost tasted like french fries, which is why I liked them. The parmesan on top added great flavor, and the remoulade sauce on the side had a very slight kick.
Since I wasn’t sure how much I would like the eggplant, I also got an order of seafood gumbo
This was really good. The broth was light but at the same time rich and extremely flavorful. It was a mini crab claw, so there really wasn’t anything to bite into, but it did add more flavor to the dish.
My dad is a vegetarian, and doesn’t eat any shellfish. In NOLA, that’s a bad combination. So he went with the vegetarian pasta. It comes with your choice of alfredo or marinara sauce, and because he doesn’t prefer cream sauce, he went with the marinara
I tried a bite, and it was delicious. The sauce was very hearty, and I liked that they had bigger chunks of vegetables all throughout.
As usual, I couldn’t decide what to eat. After a lot of back and forth, as well as some help from my server, I went with the crawfish etouffe, a southern Cajun stew served with steamed rice
This was really good. It wasn’t as hot temperature-wise as I would like, but I got past that. The sauce had a very good depth of flavor, and was full of crawfish. I didn’t notice on the menu at first that I could have added fried crawfish tails, but in reality I didn’t need them. The onions and celery were cooked almost all the way down, but they still had just a little bite to them. At first I was disappointed by the small amount of rice, but about halfway through I was starting to feel full. Had there been more rice I wouldn’t have been able to eat it anyway.
Will I go back to Oceana Grill? I considered going back while we were there, but there are so many restaurants to choose from, and we were only in town for a couple of days. But it’s on the list for my next trip.