New Orleans' rich tradition of rich foods pops up during the holiday season, with annual Reveillon celebrations in homes and restaurants throughout the city. NoDef runs down the list of prix-fixe (price-fixed) offerings for the Euro-centric Christmas Eve tradition.
From the French word "reveiller" (to wake), Reveillon involves a rich meal in the wee hours of Christmas morning. Due to her strong French roots, New Orleans is the only city in the United States that still practices the 18th-Century tradition.
The dinners are known for being heavy, and menus include a lot of lobster, steak, rich sauces, and decadent desserts.
French Quarter Festivals trademarked the term in 2000. The criteria for local participating restaurants includes a four-course menu with fixed prices, and the food should be especially luxurious.
In a previous article on the custom, food columnist Jennifer Abbott talked to Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Avenue) Chef Tory McPhail about the restaurant's participation in Reveillon throughout the years.
Commander's has been serving the historic seasonal dinner for over 20 years.
"“What used to be basically a Christmas Eve thing grew to include the week before Thanksgiving, and now it’s extended through the whole season,” he said.
Commander’s Palace's four-course Reveillon menu is $90 per person, and it includes a Smoked Pompano & Caviar Canapé, with crisp root vegetable wafers layered with smoked pompano, house made crème fraiche, capers and three flavors of Louisiana caviar.
The Reveillon Soup is the second course, with Creole ham, brie, parsnip and honey roasted pear puree.
Thirdly, the Paneed Gulf of Mexico Flounder with roasted shiitake mushrooms, pearl onions, winter tomatoes, garlic grilled kale and lemony Champagne butter.
Another options for the third course is the Deep Dish Rabbit & Foie Gras Pot Pie, a duck fat pie dough over-stuffed with slow roasted rabbit, winter mushrooms, black truffles and rabbit fricassee. There is also the Louisiana Game bird Cassoulet, with Hickory grilled quail, squab, pheasant, goose, duck, and tarragon sausage stewed down into French braised white beans with winter root vegetables and a foie gras gremolata crust.
Finally, the fourth course is a Fig and White Chocolate Linzertorte made with Makers Mark bourbon, brown sugar and cinnamon roasted figs with white chocolate, spiced sherry syrup and Creole cream cheese ice cream.
For $58 a person, the Hotel Monteleone’s Criollo Restaurant (214 Royal St.) is serving Smoked Quail Risotto with caramelized cranberries, Sunny-Up Quail Eggs and Smoked Oil Oil and Beef Short Rib Tarte Tatin served with Blue Cheese and Poached Anjou Pears.
The Monteleone’s Reveillon menu continues every night through December 25. Call 681-4444 to make reservations.
The Roosevelt (123 Baronne St.) is keeping their Reveillon dinner to Christmas Eve only, and they are sparing no luxuries for the four-course feast.
First, White asparagus with fried egg and Parmesan foam, ahi tuna with smoked tomato and spicy fried shallots, or skillet shrimp ham hock jus with okra-tomato butter.
The second course is a wild arugula salad with anise-flavored buttermilk, roasted corn, fried enoki and lardons; turtle soup with foie gras torchon, or blue crab and lobster bisque.
Next, if diners dare, Duck Wellington, seared gulf fish with crawfish, crab, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. The second option for the third course is rabbit tenderloin with bacon, Andouille and pistachio stuffing and carrot-apple relish.
For dessert, the Roosevelt offers a lemon tart with sable crumble, or a chocolate banana crème brulee.
Reservations are required. Call 335-3129 to get a spot.
Emeril’s NOLA Restaurant (534 St. Louis St.) is offering three choices for each course. Chef de Cuisine Josh Laskay is the mastermind behind the rich Reveillon dinner.
Menu items include Oyster Rockefeller Soup with crispy spinach and Herbsaint cream, Cured Foie Gras Torchon with honey and wheat toast, kumquat marmalade and toasted pistachios, for the first course.
Next, Emeril’s gives eaters a Daube Glace with baby greens, spiced pecans, and Creole mustard dressing.
Choices for the third course include Boudin Stuffed Quail with slow cooked greens, Steen’s cane syrup and natural jus, as well as Redfish Court Bouillon with Gulf Shrimp and citrus-tomatoe stew.
Lastly, Emeril’s signature Banana Pudding Layer Cake with vanilla wafers and fudge sauce.
Like Criollo, Galatoire’s (209 Bourbon St.) is keeping Reveillon on the menu through December 24. The lunch and dinner menu starts out with their famous Escargot Yvonne, served with mushrooms and garlic. Diners can also choose Sauteed Louisiana Shrimp with green onions, garlic sauce, and toasted French Bread for the first course.
The second course is a country lentil with duck meat, foie gras and vegetables, or a mixed green salad with blue cheese, bacon, and pecans.
For the third course, Galatoire’s is offering Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus, and Truffle Jus, or Sauteed Redfish with Sauce Puttanesca, with cherry tomatoes, olives, capers and mushrooms.
For dessert, a custard cup, bread pudding or a lemon tart.
Meals are $45 per person. Call 525-2021 to make reservations.
Of course, the Brennans are included in the New Orleans holiday restaurant festivities. Palace Café and Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse are both serving Reveillon dinners on December 24.
Palace Cafe is offering Oysters in Pan Roast, poached in rosemary cream with herb breadcrums, served in a roasting skillet, as the first course.
Next a Blue Cheese Salad with Danish blue cheese, crispy prosciutto, local blueberries, candied pecans, shaved red onions and farm greens, tossed in a blueberry balsamic vinaigrette.
The choices for the third course begin with a Crispy Braised Pork Shank, with a salad of crispy sweet potatoes, blue cheese, frisee and housemade bacon, finished with a Ponchatoula strawberry barbeque sauce.
Another option is the Grilled Gulf Fish Panzanella, served with olive bread croutons, cucumbers, tomatoes, grilled eggplant, capers and spinach tossed in an Italian parsley pistou.
Finally, the Andouille Crusted Fish is pan roasted and served with cayenne beurre blanc, chive aioli, rissole potatoes and vegetable du jour.
Dessert is a mocha doberge cake.
Dickie Brennan’s is keeping it rich and filling this Christmas Eve. The first course is a Lobster, English Pea and Romano Risotto, with Saffron crème fraiche. There is also a choice of an Oysters Rockefeller Loaf with P&J oysters on a bed of garlic brioche, baby spinach, applewood smoked bacon, crumbled blue cheese, and Herbsaint aioli.
Next, a warm spinach salad with creole mustard bacon vinaigrette.
The third course is a choice of a Crispy Skin King Salmon with roasted potatoes, artichokes, and wild mushrooms served with beurre rouge sauce, or a broiled 6 oz. filet with seared foie gras, served over duck crackling mashed potatoes, braised Swiss chard, and a port fig reduction.
Their signature triple chocolate brownie is on the menu for dessert.
Finally, in Fulton Alley, Manning’s is keeping their Reveillon options on the menu through January 6, excluding New Year’s Day.
The first course is a slow cooked “debris” mac and cheese, or a roasted butternut squash soup and goat cheese crostini.
Second, a choice of an Herbed Crusted Pork Loin, Smoked Oyster Dressing, Cranberry Chutney, a Roasted Half Duck, Louisiana Dirty Rice, Satsuma Reduction, or a Seafood Stuffed Striped Bass with Shrimp, Crab and Chive Butter.
If diners still have room, the third course is a carrot cake, with salted caramel and spiced pecans. The other dessert option is a New Orleans Style Bread Pudding.
Correction, December 16, 12 p.m.: The original version of this article said that Emeril's (800 Tchoupitoulas) would be hosting a Reveillon dinner. The feast will be served at NOLA Restaurant.