Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Fish House and Cafe Beignet - New Orleans Just Got A Little Bit Closer

A few years ago the hubby and I visited New Orleans with some friends. We stayed in an amazing hotel. We ventured off the beaten path and listened to some unbelievably good local musicians play their hearts out. We partied until we could party no more. We ate until we burst. We were there for 3 nights and were so exhausted when our trip was over that the flight attendant actually had to shake us awake in our seats when the plane touched down. Who knew having the time of your life could be so much work?

I always arm myself with a list of things to do, places to see, and stuff to eat...A LOT of stuff to eat. And finding time to fit in all that food isn't always easy. I mean, as much as I say things like "I'm always hungry", it's not really true. Stuffing down a po boy when you're not hungry for the sake of having a po boy while in NOLA isn't always as pleasurable as you think...and the same goes for those ever famous beignets at Cafe Du Monde.

I remember thinking to myself while eating the admittedly, just not mind blowing-ly, yummy beignets at Cafe Du Mond, that they would be so much enjoyable at another time and place.

I have found that time...and I have found that place. Dear Louisville, the time is this weekend, and the place is Cafe Beignet(also known as the Fish House).

Who would have guessed that you could get an amazing breakfast in a restaurant that cranks out fried fish all week? Seeing happens to be believing...or more appropriately...eating happens to be believing in this case.

Cafe Beignet serves up some truly delicious deep fried delights. Their beignets were light and fluffy...melt in your mouth without being greasy...balls of powdered sugar covered goodness. I'm not typically a donut loving girl but there's something different about beignets. And these, especially, were quite a treat.

Of course beignets(1 for $1.25 or 3 for $2.95) weren't the only thing offered for breakfast that morning. The hubby and I also ordered some eggs-in-a-hole, with sides of potato pancakes and andouille sausage.

The egg-in-a-hole was good enough. It's basic breakfast comfort food. It was cooked well...the yolk was perfectly runny. I enjoyed it as well as it's price (I think it was around $2).

The andouille link was big, delicious, and a perfectly savory meat accompaniment. You can get bacon anywhere, but a smokey, spicy link of sausage for breakfast is something to swoon over.

The potato pancakes were some of the best I've ever had...honest-to-goodness. I've been to LatkePalooza at the Gershman Y in Philly and let me tell you, Cafe Beignet's potato pancakes were top notch. They were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, as most potato pancakes should be. But the thing that set them apart was the seasoning...delicious. I would love a plate of them right now(and just look at that portion!).

The rest of the breakfast menu wasn't terribly long but included a few types of omelets(which I spotted on other people's plates and which looked very good), a few more side dishes, and of course the beignet of the day, which happened to be of the "turtle" variety. Chocolate chips were mixed into the classic batter and the finished product was drizzled with caramel. We decided to be purists and try them au natural instead, but I have no doubt that combination was delicious.

The price for everything on the menu was right...very right. They offer a value meal of sorts where you can get an order of 3 beignets and then pick two other items from a white board for around $6(like a plate of beignets, an egg in a hole and a side of potato pancakes). That's a lot of food, let me tell you.

They also offer chicory coffee which is an unexpected treat for those who like it but don't typically see it listed on menus.

The atmosphere was relaxed and cozy-ish. I mean, it is a fried fish joint most of the time so don't expect it to look like Starbucks. But it was filled with a lot of regulars sipping their chicory coffee and reading the paper. And unlike MANY breakfast joints in Louisville, there was no wait for a table and practically no wait for food(I have to wait to eat at almost EVERY breakfast joint in town from the Waffle House to Wild wait was a big bonus).

The servers were very pleasant, and when they realized we were first-timers were nice enough to point out things like the chicory coffee and how the ordering process worked. Table service didn't really exist. It was more of a, refill your own coffee, and, order at the front counter and we'll bring it out to you sort of operation. But that was just fine by us.

The only thing I would change was the silverware...or lack thereof. My food was really, really yummy, and it sort of felt a disservice to those fantastic potato pancakes to eat them with plastic cutlery. I mean, it's really a non-issue, but just something that I thought of while I was dining.

The hubby wished they offered an egg cooked to order. He said he would have loved two eggs over easy to go with his andouille sausage. Personally, I liked my egg-in-a-hole, but I understood his point.

I don't review breakfast joints all that often. I mean, there are a few places out there that are doing crazy-good things(and I really should review them more often...I think I even have a few in the hopper that I haven't posted about). But the other places...the more basic joints...are serving up good grub, sure, but I doubt anyone wants to read about my fried egg and side of bacon.

Cafe Beignet is a horse of a different color. It breaks all the breakfast joint rules and does it's own thing...and I love it. They offer up cheap and delicious breakfast food with out of the ordinary options...from their coffee to their donuts...their meat to their potatoes.

They're another one of those diamond-in-the-rough establishments I love finding...and I'm happy to have found it right here in Louisville.

P.S. I will return for dinner to give the fish a try and let you know how it goes!

The Fish House and Cafe Beignet on Urbanspoon

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