3700 Orleans Ave
New Orleans, LA
Ever since I dined at Green Goddess, I knew I would follow Chef DeBarr to the ends of the earth. So I was super excited when I heard he was moving on from Green Goddess to a neighborhood joint in Midcity called Serendipity. When I first took a look at the menu, it seemed like a bunch of small plates and bruschettas. So I waited my usual grace period to let new restaurants shake out the details of starting anew and then finally went to go check it out with a few friends.
We had a bit of a rough start since the hostess was taking a smoke break outside the front entrance and so everyone (including me and my friends) had to walk through a cloud of smoke to get inside the restaurant. The cigarette smoke made my eyes water and my nostrils sting, and with dulled senses I wondered how I would enjoy the meal. My friends started off with some cocktails since this place is known for their bar. As far as I could tell, my friends enjoyed their drinks as we perused the menu. The server was very friendly but not too helpful when it came to making suggestions for dishes aside from the ones that we had already chosen.
They were out of ingredients for their farmer’s market salad so they offered a green salad instead, with goat cheese and toasted sunflower seeds. I thought the salad was quite refreshing but nothing spectacular.
The crawfish hushpuppies entailed Louisiana crawfish tails blended with herbs and spices, deep fried and then served with a white cream remoulade. Out of the three dishes brought to our table at the time, this was probably my favorite. You couldn’t really taste the crawfish tho and the white cream remoulade had a lot of tart like a tartar sauce. When I first moved to New Orleans, I didn’t realize that a hushpuppy was nothing more than a deep-friend corn-bread ball with some sort of stuffing. I was hesitant to try one but ever since that first bite, I have been hooked!
The fried pickled okra rellenos consists of pickled okra stuffed with house-made pimento jalapeno cheese, fried in masa harina butter and served with a smokey ajvar sauce. Ajvar is a relish made of red pepper, garlic, chili pepper and eggplant. I was hoping for more flavor for this dish. The rellenos had lost their crunch by the time they got to our table, and the sauce wasn’t flavorful enough to carry the bland batter. Overall, I thought this was a creative dish but not great.
The roasted Gulf shrimp is wrapped in a kataif served with a pineapple and coconut slaw served in a white sauce. This dish was the most highly rated online and so I was very excited to try it. I thought the dish was plated nicely and the grass skirt reminded me of the thin crispy noodles from chinese restaurants that soften from the heat of the sauce. This was probably my favorite dish of the night.
The oysters are poached in a horseradish cream served over a butter-braised lettuce with on a crouton with a thick slab of Nueske bacon. The horseradish cream was pretty heavy and the crouton just soaked it all in like a sponge. This dish didn’t look that big but was quite filling.
The pork rillettes were served with garden radishes and placed on top of toasted bread. The pork was unbelievably juicy, I could feel the juices sliding down the sides of my mouth when I took a bite. My friend had left behind a piece of the pork rillette bruschetta on the serving dish and I almost lunged for it screaming “dibs!” but then he came to his senses and realized that he had left a piece of heaven behind and ate it in one bite.
This dish was literally transplanted from Green Goddess, when it came out to our table I immediately recognized it. The truffled goat cheese was sandwiched by 2 thin slices of golden beet and then tossed in olive oil with pomegranate molasses. It tasted as good as I remembered too! I love that it has the flavor of pasta without making you as full as a bite of pasta would. This is key when you’re trying to leave room for dessert.
This dessert consists of sticky black rice pudding with rings of coconut milk and melon/amaretto pureed topped with tiny tapioca pearls. Chef DeBarr personally delivered this dish to our table and explained how the tiny tapioca pearls served as the inspiration for the dish. He seemed very personable and friendly as he continued to go from table to table and chat with customers. I took one bite of this dish and I loved how everything just exuded comfort. It even smelled comforting, does that even make sense? I really liked this dessert. It was like a clean way to finish the night.