Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. Part II – Chef’s Tasting

Written by Patti on October 14th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

There were so many goodies in New Orleans that this had to be a two day post. Today, I will regale you with tales from the Chef’s Tasting!

Because of my perfect husband and his note taking skills, I was able to just sit back and indulge. Thank you, Honey!

We were seated in one of the three “Cheater’s Booths” at the back of the dining room. A large party was already in residence in the kitchen, having their own private tasting. Our table was set with scattered rose petals, candles and one beautiful rose peeking out of our napkins. It was a fantasy table.

My sweet Eric in our booth.

We settled in and were greeted by Dietrus, our wonderful server. Dietrus has been with us the entire stay and we have seen him at almost every meal. He is more friend than server by now.

Our friend Dietrus.

The booth had a straight shot of the stage, so when the band started, we wouldn’t have to move. Now that’s sublime service.

Cuddled up and ready for dinner.

Our view from the table. It really was a magical evening.

But lets talk about the food. First up, a barbecued scallop with grilled melon & ginger marmalade.

A pristine start to our meal.

Next, tuna carpaccio with Ryal’s goat cheese, strawberry arugula salad, fried leeks, soy.

Tuna Carpaccio

Ok, this next course had us giggling with delight. Remember when I tried to recreate this dish? Here is the original spicy tomato soup with mango sorbet, bacon & basil oil. The bowl came to the table with the sorbet, bacon, pesto and basil oil. Then two chefs poured the hot soup in the bowls at the same time. Fabulous.


That divine sorbet with tomato soup. Out of this world good.

The fourth course, prepared by Chef Norman, was duck breast with ancho hollandaise & sweet potato/pork belly/sage hash. By this time we are laughing uncontrollably at the decadence of this meal. It is all so astounding that we cannot contain our glee. I believe this might have been the moment we went from patrons to friends with Chef Matt.

That over-the-top duck dish. OMG.

As the empty plates were whisked away, Chef Matt asked us to gather our things and follow him. Oh geez, had our unrestrained behavior gotten us kicked out? We obediently trailed behind Chef as he led us into the kitchen, where the Chef’s Table was set just for us. The other party had moved on and we moved into this coveted spot. And even better? Chef Matt joined us for the rest of the dinner. Our battle cry for the rest of the night? “We are not quitters!”  Yup, we just kept eating.

We ate succulent softshell crab with red bean succotash, lemon & chive sauce that was crunchy and sweet in all the right places. I believe this is my favorite food shot of the night.

Luscious soft shell crab.

We devoured camembert sous vide turkey raspberry jam panini alongside a sous vide beef & stilton canape.

Delectible little sandwiches.

Eric and I dug into the creamiest barbecued shrimp & grits, sharing space with redfish & saffron risotto.

The seafood platter ala Chef Matt.

Now mind you, these are all paired with different wines. I am feeling full, but cannot wait to see what comes next. It reminded me of James Beard’s eating adventures in Paris. That man was an eating machine. I have no idea how he did it. At this point I am in a competition with myself to finish everything.

All the while, having the greatest time getting to know Chef Matt, who told us his incredible story (for complete background, see yesterday’s post here).

But I am getting off track here. There are desserts to be eaten!

Greek yogurt with pecans & golden raisins was dessert number one. Nice and light, aiding digestion. Mmmm.

Beautiful yogurt.

Dessert number two simply wowed us. A tower of creole cream cheese & praline cheesecake, chocolate sorbet, caramel florentine was set in front of us as we sat with wide eyes and open mouths.

A yummy work of art.

And we drank. And talked. And drank and talked some more with Chef Matt.

Chef Matt makes a point.

Oh, what? More dessert. Well, one more can’t hurt, can it?

Eric & I were presented with this glorious creation of bubble sugar, raspberry sorbet and fresh fruit. It was like something from a fairy tale.

Isn't this gorgeous?

Can we stay for one after dinner Irish coffee? Well, wouldn’t it be rude to say no? It’s only midnight and we are having so much fun. Plus, I was ogling all the amazing dishes in the kitchen.

Dish Envy

When we finally staggered from the kitchen after midnight and bid goodnight to the wonderful Chef Matt, Nicholas, Dietrus, Chef Norman and a bevy of servers who all commended us on our talent to clean a plate, we only had to push a button for the elevator and crawl into bed.

It was an evening where dreams came true. A fantasy meal that will stay with us forever.

Char Thian, Kris Gabik and Chef Matt, we cannot thank you enough for your charming hospitality.

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Fergie – Glamorous


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