NOLA on the square – January 12, 2013

NOLA Fried Alligator and Pork Belly Bourbon Street Pasta Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream NOLA on the square on Urbanspoon

Welcome to my first blog of 2013! I hope everyone had a great holiday!

This past weekend my cousin and I went to see Lewis Black down at Heinz Hall and before the show we figured we should grab some food. I had only been to NOLA for drinks before, so I was glad to go for dinner for a change. NOLA is located in Market Square; we walked in and got a seat pretty quickly near the bar. The front of NOLA is the bar area and has a bunch of high top tables. Towards the back of the restaurant you are closer to the open kitchen and have a more intimate setting.

We started with a couple appetizers and drinks. The first appetizer was House Cured Pork Belly that came with Fall Squash Pureé, Corn Bread, Apples, Jalapenos, Root Beer-Mustard Glaze. The squash puree was very good, and was a surprising highlight of the dish. If you have never had pork belly I highly recommend it, it is delicious. That fatty bacon taste and texture along with the corn bread, jalapenos and apples was incredible. I would order that dish over and over again. We also ordered Crispy Fried Alligator with Spicy Aioli and Chives mostly because my cousin never had alligator before. I know a lot of people who refuse to eat alligator because they are not daring enough, trust me when I say you have nothing to fear, especially if they are fried in small nuggets like these. I think the texture is similar to steak. Anytime I’ve had alligator they are always in small nugget pieces, not sure if that’s the best way to cook them or not, but it’s good. Anyone know why the pieces are always small?

Most of the time when I go out to dinner I can usually pick what I want to eat fairly quickly, but at NOLA there were so many things I wanted to try I wasn’t sure what to get. So I asked our waitress what she would recommend out of the few items I was thinking, she recommended the Bourbon Street Pasta because she loved the Crispy Fried Oysters in them. The dish comes with Gemelli Pasta, Crispy Fried Oysters, Tasso Ham, Peas, Fresh Egg Yolk, and Piave Cheese. At first I wasn’t sure how everything would work together, but after I ate it all I was very happy I ordered it because the pasta was cooked perfect and the crispy fried oysters were an excellent addition to the dish. I would like to have those fried oysters on a sandwich too.

I wasn’t really thinking about dessert but they had on the menu that they have homemade ice cream, so I asked what flavors they had. Well I am a sucker for Red Velvet Cake so when she said they had Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream I couldn’t pass it up. Well I should have. It was so sweet and the cream cheese swirls inside made it too sweet. If I take the ice cream out of the equation the NOLA experience went over very well and I would return again. Next time no ice cream though…

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