We could not resist eating out at Houmas House Restaurant while visiting a historic plantation in Louisiana. Definitely an experience to remember, don’t miss it if you end up down south (although the plantation is a bit of drive from Baton Rouge or NOLA).
The restaurant is in the carriage house, but appears to be more of a hunting cottage to be honest. The walls are heavy decorated with massive heads of wild animals. Bison’s, dears, boars and so on, but to get to them one has to get through the garcionere house where a small bar is located. We actually sat there awhile sipping on some Sazerac and Pimm’s Cup following the bartender’s recommendation.
When our reservation came up, we were promptly escorted through royal interiors into the main dining area. The original long table in the middle appeared to not be used by visitors, but there were plenty of antique dining sets scattered around the massive room. In addition, there was a side seating spot with five or six more tables. We felt considerably underdressed in this royal space. A few minutes after we sat down, the chef came out and introduced himself. He also took a few minutes to go over the menu with us and introduce the Thanksgiving specials. A gesture we deeply appreciate.
A very pleasant, young waiter brought out some freshly made buns with salted butter. We decided to give their Thanksgiving special a shot. It was a local turkey with creamed spinach. Also we ordered one set menu for $50 which included a soup of mustard greens, grouper and a pumpkin pie desert. Getting the order out of our way, we took more photos, chatted about the environment and enjoyed the ambiance. Since it was Thanksgiving, we figured the restaurant was a bit lighter as far as their bookings went. Considering the reasonable prices and stunning setting, we would have expected to be on a waiting list to get in.
We received our Persimmon and blue cheese salad very fast. The local greens were dressed with Louisiana persimmon, candied pequotas, belle evoke farmstead "barely blue" and garnished with pumpkin seed oil. While the list of ingredients seemed overwhelming, the dish itself was actually surprisingly light and subtle in flavors. We waited for the soup and listened to mid-century jazz playing in the background. The soup of mustard greens had Yukon gold potatoes and Meyer lemon in it. The dish was clear, light, slightly spicy with the comforting smell of potatoes.
Our grouper for the main course was Zapp's potato chip crusted and served on papa Tim's "jambalaya" grits with a charred onion and tartar sauce. Creamy grits, fried chips, that tartar significantly helped to lighten up the grouper. We'd say - through more on there! Our second main dish was Alder smoked turkey from the nearby Logan farms. The meat was smoked and roasted, finished with a satsuma marmalade and turkey juice. The dish was a bit messy with the juice flowing everywhere when presented. Interestingly enough, the turkey breasts ended up being a bit dry but a much needed smoked skin made it very flavorful. The creamy spinach on the side added sweetness and smoothness. We finished with a desert sweet potato pie with cinnamon, nutmeg and French merengue. While it was freshly baked and warm, we wished it was pumpkin instead. Furthermore, the merengue was more like light whipped cream - lightly sweetened.
Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. Beautiful creole cuisine and an event on its own. Once again, prices were very reasonable and you get to enjoy the unique southern setting all around.