New Orleans, LA 70116
Melange Speakeasy tops the list of Marigny/Bywater dining spots
by Napoleon on 3/1/12
I wanted to go to three muses last night and then go and listen to some music. Three Muses was crazy packed and then a friend that I was with said that he wanted to try the rabbit dish some one told him about at Melange.
This is a neat place. Made to have a 1920's vibe to it. The band playing consisted of a Piano, a tuba,a singer with a trumpet and then two other singers and dancers. The music they performed was all older pre-war jazz music. It was excellent and a good background to the dinner here. The group was the Speakeasy Trio and the two dancer/singers were in the NOLA Jitterbugs. While its not the music I normally listen to, it reminded me of cooking with my grandma and singing all of her old classics with her. I haven't heard so many of those old jazz songs in so long.
Sat in a small table right by the band and ordered a Sazerac; then remember how much I hated rye whiskey. It was still (at$7) the average price for a cocktail on Frenchmen. I tried a couple of other Prohibition area cocktails after dinner. Not my thing, but a very interesting bar. I would highly recommend just the bar and maybe a couple of small plates, nice way to dip your toes into the Frenchmen madness.
First thing we tried was the Smoked Duck Quesadillas(House Smoked Duck with Goat and Provolone Cheeses, Tomato Mango Chutney) these had a great flavor and just enough smokiness. I liked the Mango-Tomato Chutney that it came with as well. The sweetness went well with the tart goat cheese and the duck.
I really want to go back and just try some small plates, the menu wasn't very big but it was one where you just wanted to sample very item on it.
The Rabbit or LAPIN AU VIN Braised Leg of Rabbit with White Wine, Roasted Shallots, Pancetta, Potato Melange) was one of the best things I ever tasted. It was perfectly tender, and had the texture of roasted Dark meat chicken. Sort of looked like it too. It came with some vegtables that where also roasted with the Rabbit. A simple country style dish, but executed flawlessly.
I got the Shrimp and Grits (Gulf Shrimp, Smoked Cheddar Grits, Crisp Bacon, Crimini Mushrooms, Grilled Green Onions and Red Chili-Abita Butter Sauce) Which was very good, the gravy was exceptional and would have made anything taste good, so it on top of solidly cooked fresh shrimp and grits with the perfect consistency made it an extraordinary dish.
This was a great find, this isn't the first time I found a place I really enjoyed only because the place I wanted to go was too packed. In there was there I had saw a friend waiting for a table at Adolpho's, I really can't see waiting two hours there for a table when this place sits a quarter empty a half a block away.
Usually 13 and Maison are my go to late night gastro spots on Frenchmen, but I will have to add Melange into my rotation. I left after the band finished their last set and then went across the street to catch the Lagniappe Brass band. (then bar hopped to 4am, love this city)