This restaurant is located right across the street from historic New Orleans City Park, which happens to contain the oldest grove of mature live oak trees in the world. I would have gotten a better picture of the park to show the beautiful oak trees draped in Spanish Moss but it was dark, beginning to rain, and I almost got hit by a car. So I gave up. Speaking of historic, Ralph’s is housed in a building constructed in 1860. Beautiful dining room and bar, although the bar is very noisy. The building is also built on the Esplanade Ridge which puts it above sea level, unlike most of the rest of the city of New Orleans. That’s why it didn’t flood for hurricane Katrina. They also offer complimentary valet parking.
I’m no tea connoisseur but if you order hot tea the brand they serve is Harney & Son’s. which even a tea moron like me knows is a good brand. And they immediately bring out a loaf of hot, crusty, wonderful French bread with softened butter, wrapped in a napkin to keep it warm. To further illustrate the utter class of this place they immediately replaced our white napkins with black ones since we were both dressed in black.
We started off with Chicken & Andouilli Gumbo, the Creole Shrimp Dip and the Turtle Soup.
The gumbo was made with a VERY dark roux, which I love, but it was surprisingly disappointing. Plenty of meat in it but very flavorless. Not seasoned at all.
The Creole Shrimp Dip was pretty tasty, but nothing special. Imagine making basic egg salad at home and adding shrimp. That’s about what it tasted like.
It’s getting harder and harder to find turtle soup made with real turtle meat. Maybe turtle farming isn’t as profitable as it used to be. They use real turtle meat here. The soup was very good but could have used a little more turtle meat. Many places serve it with a little ramekin or bottle of sherry on the side for you to add, but here the waiter comes out with a bottle and pours it for you.
For our entrée we got the Roasted Whole Fish for two. The fish was red snapper and the menu described it as being served with, “lemon, fresh herbs, shrimp and mirliton patties, salt roasted potatoes, green beans, pickled green tomatoes, remoulade, brown butter”. A mirliton is a type of squash, by the way, also known as chayote.
I’m not a big fan of baked fish, but this dish was excellent. The shrimp and mirliton patties were delicious as were the white remoulade and brown butter sauce. The potatoes and green beans were cooked nicely and the pickled tomatoes were nice if you wanted a little bitter pickle flavored contrast to the richness of the sauces.
If you order coffee with your dessert you get a French press pot full of it, and the coffee is delicious. We ordered the Chocolate Doberge cake for dessert. I included in the above pictures exactly what that is. The portion size would have been pretty big for one person, but a nice size for two people to share. Unless you’re a pig, like me. It was so delicious I could have eaten the whole thing. Sometimes I think I need to ditch my dining companion.
Final note, the service was excellent. As always. Even with a couple of food items that kind of missed the mark, I recommend this place.
OH! I forgot to mention. The kitchen sent out a little “lagniappe”, which means a little something extra, for free. Salmon mousse on toast. Pic right after the French bread. It was very good!
900 City Park Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119 Ph: 504-488-1000