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Ann Arbor, Michigan
April 13, 2005
I have been to New Orleans twice. I have eaten at many of the finest restaurants there (at various price ranges), such as Commander’s Palace, Emeril’s, Irene’s Cuisine, K-Paul’s, and Bacco. Since I travel alone, I often eat alone. I have visited (and eaten in) Paris, Italy (from Venice in the north to Palermo in Sicily), London, Boston, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, and many more places.
On my first (work) trip to New Orleans, I could not get a seat at Bayona, so I was delighted when I snagged one on my second (pleasure) trip. For a reason beyond my control, I thought I would be unable to keep my precise reservation, so I called and asked if I could move it by 30-45 minutes or so. I was told no. I made the necessary sacrifice and kept my original reservation time. I arrived six minutes late. I was ushered into a waiting area, where I was ignored for 25 minutes. About 15 minutes into my wait, others were ushered into the area. They were asked if they wanted any wine or a cocktail; I was ignored. I was told that I had to wait because I was to be seated in one of their tiniest tables, and none of these were free. The fact that there were numerous open tables did not seem to be relevant.
The food I ordered (seared scallops, salad, rabbit fillet & confit, a puff pastry desert with a filling, decorated with assorted berries) was quite good, with the dessert being fabulous, but good food is not unusual in New Orleans. There WERE some unusual things, though. The portions were tiny—much smaller than the norm in New Orleans. The sauces for the scallops were barely warm. The rabbit breast fillet was unsauced and under-flavored (it’s just not interesting enough a meat to serve bare). The wine steward, who seemed quite active in the dining room, ignored me completely. The waiter did recommend a wine (by the glass, since I was by myself), and the wine was good. It was also by far the most expensive single glass of wine I have ever had--ALL the wines by the glass at Bayona are way overpriced, even by restaurant standards. Finally, Bayona was the only very expensive restaurant I have ever eaten dinner at in New Orleans where I was not offered "a little something extra from the chef."
The dessert was great, though. Part of its greatness was visual: it looked crusty, and I was sure that when I put my fork through it the filling would pour out. Not so! The fork went through the pastry like air, and the filling was sublime. This is great presentation, as well as great blending of flavors.
From journal Dining in New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
August 23, 2006
From journal New Orleans - She'll Be Okay - Testimonial from a
New Jersey, New Jersey
September 7, 2005
This restaurant is one of our all-time favorites! I have been there several times over the years while on vacation, and they have always served interesting and delicious foods very artfully presented. When I came to New Orleans a few years prior, we took my Mom there for her birthday. And on this trip we decided to introduce all our friends to this wonderful place! Their specialties involve seafood, especially local catches like crayfish and scallops, and local produce.
One of my favorite appetizers is the goat cheese crouton with mushrooms in Madeira cream--delicious! And my husband enjoyed the cream of garlic soup. For dessert we had to try the local favorite--warm chocolate coffee beignets with vanilla bean ice cream! The servers also suggest wine accompaniments and tasty after-dinner liquors, which work very well and add to the experience.
(On a side note: I know the city is in shambles now, but I have corresponded via email with head chef Susan Spicer several times, and we all hope and pray they can revive this city jewel once the city is back on its feet. We give all our love to Bayona and the beautiful, unique city of New Orleans. May its people and spirit survive and persevere!)
From journal Bachelor/Bachelorette Weekend in New Orleans
Laguna Hills, California
February 10, 2005
For dinner I had the cream of garlic soup, which was supposed to be a favorite of many locals, and it certainly lived up to its name. For an entrée I went with the pork loin medallions, which were amazing. My wife had lamb with a goat cheese on it that knocked her socks off. I should also mention that the server was really excellent as well.
I'm not sure if dessert was as memorable as dinner, because I don't remember it as well, but this is not to be missed on your visit to New Orleans.
From journal Honeymoon in The Big Easy