Cafe Dauphine5229 Dauphine Street New Orleans, LA 70117 (504) 309-6391 www.cafedauphinenola.com
Down in the Lower Ninth Ward in the Holy Cross section of town, sits a gourmet treasure Cafe Dauphine. On the Friday before Hurricane Isaac, my party of three visited Cafe Dauphine by luck of chance. While most people in other parts of the country would be bunkering down for an approaching storm, people in New Orleans try to locate an open restaurant where they can feast on their last meal. Our party consisted of just the right combination of food lovers. We each ordered totally different dishes and settled in for a relaxing evening and talk of the approaching storm. The atmosphere and hospitality at Cafe Dauphine was wonderful.
I cannot remember the last time that I visited a neighborhood restaurant and a worker actually greeted me at the door and held it open with a smile. We were ushered to our seats and not one but two waitresses came over to record our orders. I started off with an appetizer of gumbo, which I found quite tasty, but a little on the salty side. It was loaded with seafood and also chicken and sausage. My main meal consisted of the house salad of numerous fresh greens, tomatoes, cheese, fresh eggs and croutons with homemade thousand-island dressing, stuffed mashed potatoes and stuffed shrimp. The fried stuffed shrimp were humongous and wonderfully seasoned. I usually don’t leave any restaurant carrying a Styrofoam to go container, but it was impossible to finish the order that consisted of four. The potatoes were loaded, but unlike the gumbo, I found a need for a dash of salt.
If I had to choose downsides for Cafe Dauphine, it would be the slow service, lack of adequate parking because it is located in the middle of the neighborhood, and I had to request bread, which I believe should be a staple along with butter on any New Orleans’s restaurant table. Just maybe if hot bread and butter were offered, the wait for the main course would not seem so long. The other members of my party were also pleased with their choices of red beans (slightly on the runny side) with a traditional stuffed pepper, the house special of two deep-fried battered stuffed peppers loaded with crabmeat and shrimp and for the sandwich lover a hot sausage on French with a side of fries.
All dinners include two sides and my only disappointing moment when ordering was that there was no macaroni and cheese. One party member was adventuresome and ordered the bread pudding topped with pecan rum sauce that was granted his approval. In my opinion, with more foot traffic so that the staff can get a smooth flow of things, Cafe Dauphine will become a hot dining experience for locals and guests alike. On a scale of 1 to 5, in my opinion, Cafe Dauphine is given 3.5 fleurs-de-lis. I think for them, the best is yet to come.