Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton

New Orleans Roadfood Festival, Mar-28-2011: Cafe Reconcile

From there, we went to Cafe Reconcile. Cafe Reconcile is the customer-visible face of a program that trains disadvantaged youth in the job skills they need for jobs in food service. (From signs in the restaurant, I believe that the skills they're teaching start with things like "showing up on time". Teaching this skill to someone who doesn't have it would certainly be a big upgrade for someone's earning capacity.)

I ordered two soups and a bowl of collard greens.
I was particularly interested in the crawfish bisque because Chris had described it as super rich, "so rich I couldn't finish it." From that, I'd formed an expectation that this would be a very thick, smooth soup, with lots of cream, probably some sherry, and very finely chopped crawfish. I was wrong. It was definitely cream-based, but it had large hunks of crawfish and tomato; if it had included diced potatoes, I would have called it a chowder. It certainly was very tasty, and I really liked the crawfish bits, but I didn't have any trouble finishing the whole cup.

The gumbo was the gumbo I had yearned for, the gumbo joy that I had not found from Tujague's or Prejean's. It was full of bright flavors of chicken, andouille, and a bit of okra; this was one of the best dishes I had on this trip.

I'd expected the collard greens to be cooked til tender, with plenty of pork, but these were still kind of crisp, and had no savory pot likker taste.

Lori got the chicken breast with mac and cheese and green beans. Her chicken was okay but not outstanding. The mac and cheese was rich and cheesy, with the spaghetti-style pasta that I've only encountered in mac and cheese in New Orleans.

One side question we had in mind: what would the service be like here? The answer, unfortunately, was "not great". Our food did not all arrive at the same time, and we had trouble getting drink refills and getting the check. But there was enough greatness in our food that I'd happily return.
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