People love brunch. It’s like the last weekend hoo-rah before the workweek starts. On a recent Sunday, my companion and I set out to join the final celebration at Mansurs on the Boulevard.
Seated in a booth facing the dining room, we felt a little on display, as everyone entering passed our table. But the location did offer us a wide vista of the room and allowed us to appreciate the softly hued paint, bricked archways and wood-beamed ceilings. With walls accented by Louisiana art and the atmosphere punctuated by a pianist, the entire scene made for a serene dining experience.
We commenced our meal with the Shrimp Cocktail appetizer. A fixture on many menus of the past, I was thrilled to see it make an appearance here. Served chilled, five plump shrimp arrived in a dish that harkened of bygone restaurants that served Shrimp Cocktail with style. These shrimp were perfectly cooked, but the accompanying cocktail sauce needed spice. My companion was reminded of jarred chili sauce. Still, it was a very pleasant and light start to what is traditionally a rich meal.
Excited by the demitasse-trio of soups, we ordered “All that Jazz.” The intriguing Turkey BLT was creamy with a hint of heat, reminiscent of a turtle soup but with turkey and crisp bits of bacon. The Seafood Gumbo, brimming with okra and shrimp, was a tasty but typical example of a traditional South Louisiana staple. Of our final soup, the menu exclaimed, “This one made us famous,” and it’s not hard to see why. A succulent, dense cup of decadent Brie cheese highlighted by bits of sweet crab, the Cream of Brie and Crabmeat soup is not for the faint of heart. Though it is served in a demitasse, don’t let its diminutive size fool you into thinking you should gobble the whole thing up yourself. Trust me, you’ll want to share this incredibly rich soup with someone else.
For a salad, we split the Napa salad, and thank goodness we did. Composed of baby spinach topped with blue cheese, red grapes, Granny Smith apples and a surprise sprinkling of candied walnuts, the small salad was still quite ample. Lightly dressed in a honey-Pinot vinaigrette, it was a delightful combination of flavors.
Our entrees arrived quickly and, upon first bite, I declared the Cedar Roasted Redfish to be outstanding, while my companion simultaneously announced, “These are the creamiest grits I’ve ever had” in response to the Grits and Grillades. Nestled beneath the cedar plank, my grits were a challenge to get to, but I had to concur about their creaminess. While the veal was tender and the grillades sauce delicious, the breaded meat seemed an odd choice for grillades.
We were unsure about dessert, but when asked, our waitress responded without hesitation, “The Bailey’s Chantilly Cheesecake is the best dessert we have.” How could we go wrong with such an enthusiastic recommendation? After a few bites, my companion said, “When it comes to cheesecake, I like it simple. The chocolate chip overwhelmed all flavors.” The from-a-box flavor made me question why restaurants of this caliber won’t designate a pastry chef.
Dessert aside, while there are worse ways to wile away the final hours of the weekend, this is one of the better. HOO-RAH!