Emily Hingle

SoBou Launches The Bar Chef Table Experience

August 24, 2021
By: Emily Hingle

SoBou has been a staple of the high-end French Quarter culinary scene for over a decade, and it has endured several changes in that time. From the addition of burlesque dancers for brunch and adapting to the mandates enacted for the COVID pandemic, SoBou is standing the test of time with poise and pizazz.

One of the newest reasons to visit or re-visit SoBou is the Bar Chef Table bespoke dining experience. Chef will dazzle his guests with three dishes while the bartender creates three cocktails to pair with them, and each course will be explained to you in detail from ingredients to the history and cultural significance of it. It's so much more than a great meal; SoBou's Bar Chef Table feeds your mind with history and knowledge.

For our dinner experience, we were greeted with a Painkiller shot, which elegantly killed the pain of such a hectic day so that we may enjoy our experience that much more. This moment was completed with some down-home comfort food; Chef Nick Ocheltree presented steaming hot gumbo that he explained was made with a housemade roasted chicken stock that created a deep, dark roux. The gumbo was Cajun-style, including warmed potato salad instead of rice. I typically don't have gumbo at restaurants (I consider it to be homemade food), but this was certainly some of the most flavorful gumbo that I've ever had.

Next came SoBou's signature Sazerac, which was made with a blend of rye whiskey and brandy to honor the cocktail's history of using both liquors. This drink was on the sweeter side rather than the booze, brash side as it was made with molasses instead of sugar, which I appreciated as Sazerac's can be overwhelming in flavor. It was a perfect pairing for the Seared Boudin Cake. To counter the savory flavor of the four-hour braised boudin, the plate is beautifully lined with creme fraiche and locally-sourced caviar.

The next beverage was called the Rita Alexander, named after one of the most infamous ladies of the New Orleans burlesque scene in the mid-century. Rita was known as the "Champagne Girl" as she would douse herself in bubbly during her performance. The Rita Alexander is a gin-based cocktail infused with grapefruit juice, rosemary syrup, Cynar, and, of course, sparkling wine. The drink is made even more festive with a dose of edible glitter that swirls in your glass as you sip. It's incredible that they knew that my favorite cocktail should be paired with my favorite dish: sweet tea brined, pecan-crusted fried chicken drenched in brie cheese atop honey mustard sauce.

The next course was a twist on a classic Louisiana dish. Instead of the same of Shrimp & Grits you've had before, Chef Nick decided to top his creamy grits with fried oysters. But not just run-of-the-mill fried oysters; these oysters were breaded with a nice, salty cornmeal breading which gave an incredible mouthfeel and flavor. Our bartender believed that such a Southern dish was best complemented with a cocktail featuring rye whiskey, honey, lemon, elderflower liqueur, and lemon oil. When you look down at the drink, you notice that the single large ice cube is actually in the shape of a rose!

To end the meal, Chef Nick insisted on the bread pudding. His bread pudding looks far different than the bread pudding of previous chefs. This classic New Orleans dessert was made with croissants for extra fluffiness. It came with a couple of macaroons, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and some syrupy berries. It was a very picturesque dish thank to its hypnotic chocolate background.

SoBou's Bar Chef Table is a fantastic way for visitors to experience a true New Orleans meal (and learn a little bit more about the city), and it's an event perfect for a fancy date night, celebrating with loved ones, or just because. You can learn more about SoBou and make reservations here.

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