The National WWII Museum was voted New Orleans’ Number 1 Attraction and also the Number 3 Top Museum in the entire country. But it’s more than just a place to take in a great exhibit, see an award-winning “4D” film, or learn a lot of history. Thanks to The American Sector Restaurant + Bar located in the museum, it’s also the perfect place for a delicious meal or a refreshing cocktail.
This past Wednesday April 27, Executive Chef Eric Cook of the American Sector and his talented staff presented the latest edible installment in their “Dinner After Dark” series.
Cook, who likes to take advantage of local sources and “farm-to-table” ingredients, uses produce and meats from such local and regional farms as Covey Rise and Two Run. With another nod to regional representation, Landry Vineyards out of West Monroe, LA, came to dinner with some of their best wines on offer. Each of the five courses of the dinner was paired with a different Landry wine selection, while the wines were also used in specialty cocktails served at the event and even in the dishes themselves. For instance, the seared scallop “amuse bouche” was finished with a Landry blackberry merlot glaze, and accompanied by a “Cajun 75” cocktail made with Landry Vineyards Peach Muscadine Wine.
The first course was fried oxtail spring rolls, Chef Cook’s innovative take on pot roast, and using only the best cuts of meat. It was comfort food with an exotic twist. This course was served alongside a “Redneck Manhattan,” using Landry Vineyards’ semi-sweet Redneck Red wine with a splash of Maker’s Mark bourbon and bitters. Bar Manager Justin Shaw likes to refer to this drink as “A little bit of Swamp Funk.”
Next came Whole Roasted Shrimp Creole, with muscadine-lacquered shrimp and quinoa, followed by a course of Charred Wild Boar. This dish was deliciously tender wild boar with white beans cooked in butter and bacon fat and all good, Southern-cookin’ things. Chef very accurately described it as a genuine “pig-splosion.”
Saving the best for last, the dessert was a Cotton Rouge Poached Pear. Cotton Rouge, a dessert wine from Landry Vineyards, was served both in and alongside this final course. The poached pear was plated with the brie-like St. Andre cheese, accompanied by a piece of homemade almond brittle and a cinnamon biscotti.
According to Cook, they torched the cheese to give it “the ultimate gooey sensation.” The chef, who came out to introduce each course before serving it and to answer any questions, explained that this dessert was his favorite course of the night. He told guests that the pastry chef had broken her ankle and when they needed to come up with a Plan B dessert in her absence, they just happened to stumble upon this combo of ingredients. And it worked. “It was the accidental perfect end, because the best things in life happen by accident,” said Cook. “I’m proud of every dish we’ve presented tonight, but this is the one that will make you go home and say, ‘Wow, these guys are killing it!’”
No argument there. Between the wine and the food, they killed it indeed.