Elsie’s Plate & Pie is continuing the vintage tradition Honeymoon Bungalow left behind.
Where the much-loved antique shop once stood, Elsie’s now serves up nostalgic pastries, savory pies and a down-home country vibe. Steps away from popular Mid City spots like The Radio Bar, it draws customers from near and far and late into the evening.
Before dining at Elsie’s, I assumed the menu might have a few appetizers, maybe a salad or two, but mostly a plethora of pies. I was surprised to find plenty of sandwiches, a smattering of Cajun or Southern-style entrees, a fine selection of salads and a couple of soups. And to whet your whistle while you wait, there is a full menu of cocktails, beer and wine.
Glancing over the appetizers, our whole party agreed on the Boudin Cakes. Served with a Bedford sauce, described as similar to a tartar sauce, the cakes were heavily seasoned with large hunks of pork and an airy, light consistency—great for a starter.
Not light was the Seafood Lafourche Bisque. Louisiana shrimp and crawfish, roasted red peppers, tomatoes and a surprise of smoked Gouda made this more like a cream soup with cheese than traditional bisque. The plump seafood was abundant, and the smoked Gouda was evident without being overpowering, adding a unique flavor to the soup.
An additional soup choice, the Roasted Tomato Soup, had a lushness that can only come from fire. Large ribbons of basil dotted the ample cup and though it was hard to detect any cream, the soup was incredibly silky.
For entrees, we had to try the pies—and what’s more Louisiana than Crawfish Hand Pie? The pie was stuffed with Louisiana crawfish, corn and sausage in a fried crust just thick enough to hold all the mild, creamy filling that was similar to an etouffee. Served with a heaping side of fried onions that were simply addictive, the plate was more than enough to satisfy a hungry adult.
Touted as one of the best items on the menu, the Louisiana Poulet Pot Pie had a flaky, buttery top crust with ample smoked chicken and roasted peppers in a tasso cream sauce beneath. We took half home and had the pleasure of enjoying its tender chicken and mild, velvety sauce a second time around. I can confidently report the oven-heated leftovers were just as good as the fresh version.
My dining partner’s foray into the melt sandwiches did not disappoint. There was a notable dusting of black pepper on the juicy, herb-seasoned chicken breast added to the Pesto Melt. We were expecting additional herbaceousness from the pesto, but it got lost among the tomato and mozzarella. Not lost was the butter on the substituted sourdough, enhanced to a golden brown deliciousness by the griddle.
Side salads were included with both pie entrées and were praised at our table for their freshness and sprightly, slightly sweet strawberry pepper jelly dressing.
I absolutely cannot pass up apple pie in any form, and given the excitement of our neighbors and the pie selfies they took, I expected the Pie Shop Apple Pie to blow me away. It didn’t. My expectations may have just been too high. It was a typical apple pie—not bad but not noteworthy. The only distinctive difference is the presentation in a mini cast-iron skillet that at least kept it hot and helped to melt the frozen-solid vanilla ice cream.
What did blow me away was the Chocolate Cream Pie. It was brimming with pillowy whipped cream and a crunchy, sugary graham cracker crust that may have been the best I’ve ever had. The crust alone would have satisfied, but the sinful, decadent dark chocolate filling is a reason to live. Thick and luxurious, the chocolate had just enough bittersweetness to balance out the sugar. Mind officially blown.
With all the restaurant’s hard surfaces, the atmosphere inside Elsie’s is loud. The high ceilings with metal trusses didn’t help to dampen the booming crowd.
But service was efficient, and the food came out fast. The exceptional quality and scrumptiousness of the food was a far greater distraction than the noise. Soon enough we were adding to the symphony with noises of our own, mostly “mmm,” “ooo” and “Oh, that’s good!”
THE BASICS: Opening in September 2017 in the former Honeymoon Bungalow, Elsie’s Plate & Pie has become a popular spot for evening and weekend crowds looking for satisfying sweet or savory fillings under a decadent crust. But while the pies—all varieties—are a no-brainer, there’s more here than what you’d expect.
WHATS A MUST: The well-seasoned Boudin Cakes to start, the smooth Roasted Tomato Soup and the griddled Pesto Melt. As for the pies, the fried crust on the Crawfish Hand Pies is just thick enough to hold the delicious filling, while the sugary graham cracker crust on the decadent Chocolate Cream Pie left our reviewer’s mind blown.
EAT AT ELSIE’S
3145 Government St.
11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday-Monday
11 a.m.-10 p.m., Tuesday-Wednesday
11 a.m.-midnight, Thursday-Saturday
Our food critic’s name may be false, but the credentials are not. This gastronome has studied the history, cultivation, preparation, science and technology of food for more than 30 years.
This article was originally published in the April 2018 issue of 225 Magazine.