Sylvain (New Orleans, LA) – Pretty sure everything in the French Quarter is delicious, and Sylvain most definitely exceeded our high expectations. I had seen it on a couple of travel lists and saw it on Joy the Baker’s guide to NOLA as well. I knew it had to be worth checking out.
Sylvain is tucked away quietly and unassuming in the French Quarter on one of it’s colorful streets. Named after an opera that was performed in 1776, the restaurant is in what used to be a carriage house. We were a big group, which Sylvain can accommodate (though it’s small), so it’s best to call ahead because they will give you a special menu.
We were here for an early dinner, so the sun was slowly beginning to set, which really took the rustic ambience to another level. I really loved the outdoor seating, but it was just too hot to go sit outside and enjoy it. I was here at the end of July, so it was disgustingly hot. Service was pretty friendly, although when our party was in the process of making this reservation, their communication was not the best.
I chose to focus on the entrees first, because the appetizers deserve their own post. The first entree is the Braised Beef Cheeks with potato puree, sweet onions, field peas, and natural jus. There were only a few of these left for the day when we got there, so a couple of folks definitely snatched them up. And I’m glad they did. I’ve never had beef cheeks (or any kind of cheeks, to be honest), and these were amazing. They were so soft and tender. The meat didn’t even need heavy seasoning because it was such high quality – it spoke for itself. The puree and vegetables were a fantastic complement to the beef when eaten in one bite.
I knew I wasn’t going to the place that had some of the best fried chicken (Willie Mae’s), so I tried to get fried chicken where I could, because when in the South, you gotta. I ordered the “Chick-Syl-Vain” Sandwich that had buttermilk fried chicken breast and house made pickles. I felt extra fancy with my condiments in their little bowls. The bread that they served the chicken on was light and soft, and they gave a hearty piece of chicken. It was delicious but also very large, making it hard for me to finish since I ate way too much during the appetizer round!
Though the entrees were fantastic, the appetizers are where it’s at. If I ever get to come back to New Orleans, I would just want to order all the appetizers and share them with friends over good conversation. Goals.
First up is the Fried Eggplant and Burrata – this was my FAVORITE. If you’re a regular follower, you already know I’m in love with burrata, but everything about this dish was so good, down to the last bite. The eggplant was breaded in panko and served with tomatoes, lemon-honey vinaigrette, and mint. The eggplants were the perfect vessel for the burrata, and I wanted to soak up as much of the vinaigrette as I could! I think I ate the most of this appetizer; I could not get enough of it.
We also ordered the Smoked Fish Fritters, which were made of gulf fish, potatoes, chilies, green goddess aioli, and seasonal fruit. We had lovely stone fruit with our fish. It seems like an odd combination, but when you bite into these crispy fritters – it’s perfect. The aioli is what really makes the dish sing – and what I wanted to eat with everything also. I’m a big condiment person, clearly.
The Artisan Cheese Plate was well balanced as expected with a great combination of quality cheese with nuts and jam. I could always eat a cheese plate.
For dessert, they gave us a mint mousse and a peanut butter ice cream sandwich with a jelly sauce. I love mousse and mint, so that was absolutely delectable, but I really liked the idea and execution of the PB&J!