On one trip to New Orleans, I had planned to go to a nice restaurant for lunch after an early morning tour. This is easier said than done. It takes an act of Congress to get my husband to shed his old tennis shoes, shorts and t-shirts for something of a more dressier nature. Of course, I eventually succeeded, and dragged my sulking husband off on a French Quarter tour on a moderately warm spring day wearing light grey slacks, a button-down shirt, and shoes of the non-sneaker variety. We finished the tour around 11am, and headed off to the restaurant. Now, this was a couple trips in to New Orleans, and I had long stopped making reservations since we usually traveled during the slower times, and never had a problem getting a table. So when we got there, guess what… They were closed. Turns out they only served lunch on the weekends. So what to do? I had fought to get my husband all gussied up, there was no way I was going to settle for a casual restaurant. I turned a corner, and ended up at Brennan’s.
Brennan’s had been on my to-do list for some time. It is an establishment in New Orleans. I mean, breakfast at Brennan’s is something to be experienced. This is the place that invented Banana’s Foster, and perfected Turtle Soup. Brennan’s is a New Orleans icon. And here we were, right in front of the famous pink building on Royal Street and looking for a good meal. I figured since we were all dressed up and all, it was time.
At first, I was a little worried that we did not have a reservation. No worries, we were greeted and seated promptly. The two of us were seated in the front dining room at a white linen-covered table that could probably accommodate six. Our tuxedo-clad waiter was warm and friendly and made several menu recommendations. We were immediately impressed. The dining room was beautiful, the service was great, and we truly felt like we were receiving an authentic old New Orleans dining experience.
We were immediately drawn to the three course Prix Fixe menu (which for you Americans means price-fixed), which at the time was $40.00. This seemed like such a great deal. I mean, three courses at such an iconic restaurant for only $40.00? Seems almost too good to be true. Well, as it turned out, it kind of is. The price is just for the basics. If you want to add their signature dishes, it’s an extra charge. Want turtle soup? Its gonna cost ya. Want Banana’s Foster? Be prepared to pay. I wanted the full experience, so I added all the extras.
The Turtle Soup was very good. It is accompanied by a touch of sherry which really enhances the flavors. I had the Eggs Hussarde, which was just good. My husband had the Eggs Owen, which he said was just ok. The cap of the meal was the Banana’s Foster. The waiters really cater to the whole experience. The dish is prepared table-side. The waiter brings a hot plate and all the ingredients to the table. He proceeds to add the brown sugar, the rum, and finally the bananas. Then he grabs the lighter, but pauses to let you know some serious stuff is about to go down, and to get your cameras ready. Then he lights the concoction on fire producing a flame that I’m pretty sure violates the fire codes. While the flame is dancing in the air, he posed for the perfect photo opp. I unfortunately did not have my camera with me (this, as we indicated in previous articles, was before the era of everyone having a 500 megapixel camera with them at all times), but because he was so enthusiastic about us taking pictures, I grabbed my ancient phone which had no camera, and pretended to take pictures. He then served us the banana-y goodness over vanilla ice cream. The result is pure heaven. One bite, and angels sing, puppies and deer frolic in a green meadow, babies laugh, and….well you think I’m going overboard, all I can say is you try it and see if that s**t don’t happen. It’s good. Thats all. (And I don’t even like bananas…seriously!)
Now the kicker… the bill. Remember, I said that we ordered the three-course meal for $40.00. I did a double take when our waiter brought the check and it was $150, especially since we had only had water to drink. All of the extras add up real fast. My husband summed it up best when he said, referring to the mass amounts of buttery richness we had just consumed, ” I feel like I just gave a hit man $200 dollars to kill me, but kind of enjoyed it.”
Brennan’s is an establishment in New Orleans. Be prepared to drop a fair chunk of money for breakfast, especially if you want to go all out. Think of the meal as an experience. You are eating at a historic restaurant and having a meal like you can get nowhere else. Is the food outstanding? Yes and no. Is it worth it? Well, that depends on what you want. For me, it was. I like to be able to say that I had breakfast at Brennan’s. The Turtle Soup is great, the Banana’s Foster is absolutely outstanding. In sum, go for the experience and the Banana’s Foster, but be prepared to spend money on an otherwise mediocre meal.