Monday, February 19, 2007


We had dinner again at Catalan last Saturday night. Some friends of ours joined us, so we were able to try a nice variety of food.

Before the meal, we stopped in at some gallery openings on the Colquitt Art Gallery strip. There were some nice pieces at the Dean Day gallery that we will probably return to and see if we still like the art. Gallery hopping is always fun.

We had to take separate cars from the galleries to the restaurant, so we had a great idea. We drove on the freeway (Kirby to 59 to the Loop, to I-10, to TC Jester to Washington) Our friends drove cross town (straight up Kirby to Shepherd to Washington to TC Jester). We ended up at Catalan at THE EXACT SAME TIME!!! Traffic is like water. IT seeks its own level.

So we got into the bar a few minutes late (7:50 or so) and were seated immediately. Did I mention that this was a Saturday? They place was very crowded, but in my experience they do a great job of honoring reservations.

When we sat down our waiter immediately greeted us and left our menus and the wine list at the table. He asked if we wanted drinks to start and I said we would get a bottle of wine. He said he would be back to take our order and tell us about the specials.

I looked at the wine list and was impressed by the selection available. No real surprise considering the heritage of the restaurant (Ibiza). I selected a nice Burgundy (the 2000 Jean Chauvenet Nuits St George premier cru “Rue de Chaux”) while the waiter (Adrian) told us the specials.

There were too many specials for me to repeat, but they all focused on a Mardi Gras theme. Shrimp Creole, Bisque, Sardines (I know, Sardines don’t seem to be too Mardi-Gras-y, but there you have it). The main course special was a fish (grouper?) blackened and duded up like Cajun fish.

After a glass of wine (excellent!) we ordered appetizers – Foie Gras Bon Bons, Pork Bellies in Steen’s Syrup, and the Shrimp Creole. The Foie Gras Bon Bons are something to behold. Little brown and crispy balls – about the size of a “shooter” marble. Dry and crispy on the outside, dripping with foie gras goodness on the inside. I would eat these all day if I could afford to. (Monetarily as well as salutarily). Then the pork belly. As I have been told there before, those crispy pork bellies will change your life. They do. You can’t even really describe how good they are. The Shrimp was OK, but it didn’t really have the same whomping effect that the other two appetizers did.

We then had our first plates. I had the Sardine special. (I am a sucker for small fish). My sweet ever lovin’ had a cup of the bisque, our friends had a salad and a bowl of the bisque.

My sardines were outstanding. Oily and crisp at the same time. I could have eaten a school of them. The bisque, too, was outstanding. I had one spoonful. It may have been the best thing of the evening.

I ordered the Paprika Dusted Bone-in Rib eye for my main course. My wife had the trout, our friends had the grouper and the shrimp and grits. The steak was done exactly as ordered, and was accompanied by a potato gratin and asparagus. A did not have a chance to try the other meals. My better half said that the trout was good, but not outstanding. A little bit dry (overcooked, perhaps).

For dessert we has the white chocolate bread pudding (highly recommended), the Nutella crepes (good, but not transcendent) and the off the menu local goat cheese cheese cake. Now that cheese cake was indeed transcendent. I am a sucker for cheese cake anyway. But goat cheese??!! The Best.

Overall a wonderful meal.



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