Being teachers, Cristina and I receive our paychecks on a monthly basis. Therefore, most of our fun adventures occur right after we get paid instead of right before we get paid. We are masters of the late month budgeting. However, our wallets are in decent health right now, so on Thursday we decided to go to Mat & Naddie’s.
We took the scenic route to the restaurant or as most people know it Airline Hwy. We then took Causeway to river road until we arrived at the restaurant. Our trip was twice interrupted by a police escort…maybe of Mardi Gras Royalty? Mat & Naddie’s is a house turned into a restaurant. What seems odd and almost like a shack on the outside, is a gorgeous, intimate and, yes, romantic, restaurant on the inside.
Our usual dining partners, Eric and Vinnie, joined us tonight. After hearing the off menu items, Eric really wanted to get the fried oyster salad our waitress described to us. Vinnie agreed, and they decided to share. Cristina, who picked the restaurant this month, choose the Sicilian olives, artichoke hearts and fresh mozzarella ciliengene while I chose the shrimp and crawfish croquettes. Cristina sat quietly and enjoyed her appetizer which tells me it was very good. The silence of deliciousness is what I call it. The croquettes were very good though it seemed to be quite small for the price. However, the small salad with pickled red onion and fennel was very good. The star of the night, though, was the oyster salad. The Crystal-infused batter around one of the juiciest oysters I’ve ever had was just a pure delight. The salad was fantastic as well. Eric and Vinnie asked for another loaf of bread just to clean their plate of the dressing.
For main courses, everyone except me went with steak. I, being the nonconformist that I am, chose the quail and waffles. Everyone seemed to enjoy their steak, but they really weren’t in love with them. At a high quality restaurant, it should be very difficult to get a bad steak. Getting a great steak, though, can be allusive. I think I can speak for all that the steak at Herbsaint was the best steak we ordered during our little dinners…yet.
My quail and waffles were better than I expected. Never have eaten quail, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The meat was tender and juicy without being very gamey. The only problem is that you can’t really be debonair and eat quail. The bird is so small that you really have to use your hands to get to all of it (cue Michael Scott). The waffles were good but lacked a little crispness that I was looking for. However, the walnut orange sauce was a perfect complement to both the quail and the waffles. Also, it helps having an ice cold Abita IPA to pair it with. The hoppy beer really helped bring out the flavor of the quail.
Having not eaten since breakfast, Cristina and I really wanted desert. We ordered the Dulce De Leche Cheesecake and the Sweet Potato Pecan Pie. How could I not? Both pies would be great separate but together they had to be tried. Eric and Vinnie ordered the bread pudding after asking our waitress for her opinion. I think the cheesecake was a clear-cut winner but the sweet potato pecan pie wasn’t far behind. The bread pudding, even though it came out third in my little taste test, was panéed which gave it a different type of flavor from your normal one. I wouldn’t hesitate to order it in a second.