If you’re in New Orleans right now for Mardi Gras, well, what are you doing checking your e-mail?
Seriously, though, whether you’re already there, headed there this weekend, or prefer to maintain your reputation as the Big Easy during Southern Decadence, we implore you to leave Bourbon Street, put your beads away and enjoy one of the best Sunday brunches in town.
Few restaurants in the Crescent City are as synonymous with Creole Cuisine than this Arnaud’s, which opened in 1918 (sometime around Celine Dion’s birthday). The whole place is steeped in tradition, with waiters dressed to the nines and a feeling that you’ve been transported back in time. Like many other places in New Orleans, you can almost see the ghosts walking among the diners. (And yes, there have been several reports of otherworldly spirits, not just the kind that make us drunk.)
It’s hard to decide which is better about brunch at Arnaud’s, the jazz or the food, because both are equally stunning. The jazz ensemble strolls among the tables and obliges guests by taking requests, or simply singing and plucking their way through an amazing songbook of standards. Play that funky banjo, White Boy!
But really, even with the live entertainment, ghosts and the occasional hunky customer to distract us, the food still takes center stage. Best of all, you get a four-course brunch for the price of whichever entrée you select ($27.50 – $39.95).
For starters, we highly recommend the Turtle Soup if you can get past childhood memories of teenage mutant ones, which have now been slaughtered for your enjoyment. It really is a wonderful, traditional New Orleans dish that has to be tried at least once and Arnaud’s offers up one of the greatest.
There are so many delightful entrées, but we still have managed to pick our faves. Savory Crabmeat Cheesecake. Grillades (Veal Scallopine) and Grits. Or get Eggs Arnaud, which allows you to select any two poached egg dishes, which include several variations on Eggs Benedict. Go Fauteaux and you get fresh Gulf pompano instead of Canadian bacon. Sardou gets you artichoke bottoms and baby spinach. Hussarde keeps the Canadian Bacon, but puts all the ingredients on French Bread crostini instead of an English muffin. Or go for Eggs Adrienne, which utilizes grilled Louisiana sausage and a creole sauce. You can’t go wrong with any pair.
For dessert, Bananas Foster is out of this world. Then again, so are the Crépes Suzette. Both of these desserts, like the amazing Café Brulot after-dinner drink, are flamed tableside. So you’re getting an extra show included in the price of your food and beverages! It’s like a lap dance for your palate.
Take a little time to stop by the on-site Mardi Gras Museum and see some amazing costumes, including 13 of Count Arnaud’s daughter’s. It’s the perfect end (or beginning) to your brunch at Arnaud’s.
So wherever you are this Mardi Gras weekend, even if it’s not deep in the French Quarter of New Orleans, from all of us at Gay List, Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Brunch is served Sundays, 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Reservations still available for Sunday
813 Rue Bienville Street, New Orleans