TOC Thursday, 7/19/07 pt. 3: Spirited Dinner at the Delachaise

Spirited Dinner

Here was where the weird, hectic day finally turned normal. I cabbed over to the Delachaise along with Darcy, Rick and Gretchen, and after introducing myself to chef Chris DeBarr, I knew everything was going to be alright. Chris introduced Darcy and me to Neal, his head bartender, who had spent an incredible amount of time working his way through our cocktails so he knew them as well as we did. The dedication of Chris and the Delachaise staff was apparent in this attention to detail, which carried through to the elaborate place settings with custom-made placemats and specially wrapped candles.

(And since I’m sure to butcher the descriptions of the food, I encourage you to head over to Chris’ blog for his take on parts of the meal.)

The crowdI was still kind of nervous though, never having sampled our cocktails with Chris’ cooking. The first course put me at ease — after the Tropical Palm, our welcome drink made with Absolut New Orleans, Licor 43, Lillet and Peychaud’s (and possibly the only flavored vodka cocktail you’ll ever see mentioned on the Cocktail Chronicles), Chris brought out the amuse bouche: flounder sushi on rose petal rice, which we’d paired with a Tchoupitoulas Street Guzzle: spicy housemade ginger beer chilled and run through a soda siphon over some Cruzan Estate rum. Bingo! Those flavors slid right in next to each other like an analogy I’d love to make except I’d be too likely to blush about it.

Appetizer trioWe progressed with Chris’ incredible appetizer trio, paired with an Apollo’s cup made with Plymouth gin, sweet vermouth, Patron Citronge, orange bitters and ginger ale. This segued nicely into a skewer with baby artichokes, andouille and grilled shrimp over buckwheat polenta, which was matched with the Les Coulisses cocktail (Plymouth, Cynar, Chartreuse, orange bitters — developed by Murray Stenson, so if you’re in Seattle make sure you go ask him for one).

For the entree, Chris went with Copper River sockeye salmon (whee!) wrapped in red dulce seaweed, and ivory king salmon marinated for two days in sake lees and mirin, then slow roasted and served on a bed of dulce mashed potatoes. This was served with a drink of Chris’ creation, the Matsue Melange, which I can’t even begin to describe except as fruity, chunky with fruit and tapioca pearls, and very entertaining.

Dessert & Pepe Llulla SwizzleDessert came with the taiyaki pancake-wrapped chilled peach mousse, joined with the Pepe Llulla Swizzle, which had two types of Cruzan rum, Rhum Clement Creole Shrubb, fresh lime juice, demerara syrup, Herbsaint and fresh mint, swizzled with crushed ice and topped with Fee’s Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters and Peychaud’s, and garnished with fresh mint and a slice of white peach. I knew this one would be a royal pain in the ass to make, but Neal and his crew handled it perfectly for the full bar. It tasted fantastic, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Darcy and I finished the night by swapping a few cocktails with Chris and talking food and New Orleans. After the turbulence of the afternoon, the Spirited Dinner was a perfect antidote, and Chris was the perfect host. If I have anything to say about it, I’ll be back at the Delachaise next year for another dinner.

Chris DeBarr

5 Responses to TOC Thursday, 7/19/07 pt. 3: Spirited Dinner at the Delachaise

  1. Mouth-watering, Paul. It is great to read about our dinner, even though it was a short time ago. Thanks for linking to Chris’s blog, as well. He is truly an enchanting chef.

    One of my favorite parts about the meal was how he interacted with his guests. It was obvious that he was welcoming everyone into his home, not his restaurant.

  2. Sounds like a great time. Unfortunately, our babysitter canceled on us and we in turn had to cancel our registration for the dinner. I live in New Orleans (Abita Springs to be technical) and of ALL the Spirited Dinners this is the only one that really appealed to me. For a few reasons, I have read your blog and Darcy’s for awhile now and would have like to have met you guys. Oh, and I LOVE The Delachaise.

    Pre Katrina I lived very close to it and it was my second home for awhile. Chris did not start there until after the big K, but recently my wife and I went to have a drink before a dinner reservation elsewhere and we ordered an appetizer to “hold us over”. We liked it so much we called and canceled our other ressie and stayed for Chris’ food.

    Next year I will just tie my kids up with some water and fruit roll ups. They should be fine.

  3. [...] We were thrilled with the Spirited Dinner at Commander’s Palace we attended last year, with haute Creole cuisine by Chef Tory McPhail and cocktails by Dale DeGroff and Audrey Saunders (don’t get much better than that, folks), but as happy as we were that night, we were also bummed and kicking ourselves in the head that we weren’t also somewhere else. Not far from our Garden District paradise, on St. Charles Avenue, another spectacular meal was coming from the kitchen of Chef Chris DeBarr at The Delachaise, with cocktails by our friends Paul Clarke and Darcy O’Neil. The meal was themed as a tribute to Lafcadio Hearn, and as you’ll see Chris kicks major butt when it comes to themed meals — he is one of the most amazingly thoughtful and creative chefs around. (You can read about that meal in Chris’ posts here and here, and Paul’s account with more on the cocktails, here.) [...]

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