Wednesday, March 23, 2011

St. Charles Tavern - New Orleans, LA

On my recent trip to New Orleans, I was filled with anticipation for some good food experiences. I wanted to try a few classics, and there are no shortage of them anywhere you dine in New Orleans. So a local friend and I headed off to St. Charles Tavern, just a few blocks from my hotel.
Inside the yellow building, the decor is cheerful and airy with a continuing yellow color scheme. I found the stone tiled floor to be quite lovely, and the specials chalkboard was old fashioned and charming. Definitely no frills, but relaxing nonetheless.

The menu offers a step above standard bar-fare, and is affordable. They boast a pretty awesome breakfast (chocolate chip pancakes, chicken and andouille hash) and I have some serious remorse about not getting to try the breakfast items. Oh time!

Looking at the menu, I almost immediately decided I needed to try a po' boy. They have a wide selection of them, and I had never tried one. I decided on the shrimp po' boy (hand breaded gulf shrimp, comes with fries - $9.75) and my company ordered a burger (which comes with a baked potato..)

Let me just get some complaining out of the way now so I can say how TERRIBLY SLOW the service was. Our waitress was ok, but our food took at least 30 minutes to come....and maybe that's even too kind of me.

Onto the food - I really liked the sandwich. Being that I don't have much (ok...anything) to compare it to is the only thing that prevents me from saying I loved it. Being Minnesotan, very rarely do I get to taste truly good seafood. My friend said he doesn't like po' boys because the bread is too chewy and he ends up squishing the sandwiches. I can see that. But I loved the bread - it was a little chewy, but it was also soft and light so it wasn't like you were chewing a gummy rock. It was fully dressed (mayo, lettuce, tomato) and wasn't disheveled or goopy. The shrimp inside was lovely - too often have I had fried shrimp that tastes like....fried breading. These were nice and pink, plump and toothsome; even amongst all the other components. The fries were crinkle cut, and had a good bit of seasoning (cajun?) that was a nice compliment.

Upon going to Urbanspoon to rate St. Charles Tavern, I felt stuck. I liked the food, but the service was terrible. I asked for my check, and after 20 minutes my friend ended up having to yell for it. The waitress explained they were having trouble with their machine, so she just told me my total and I paid her. This brings attention to my inner debate about food vs. service. Good food is good food, but having a bad experience can darken my outlook on a place. For now - I've decided to leave a blank vote, until I return and eat there again.

St. Charles Tavern on Urbanspoon

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