Locals and tourists alike know when visiting any of the Commander’s family restaurants, you are sure to have a great time and enjoy some amazing food and cocktails. And that was especially true the night we attended the Spanish Quarter Dinner at SoBou.
Like all great ideas, Executive Chef Juan Carlos Gonzales was inspired by travels abroad. Along with the gallivanting team of Ti Martin, Danny Trace, and Luke Hidalgo, the group visited Barcelona and San Sebastian to cleanse their palates and become inspired by the Spanish fare.
They, along with Bar Chef Laura Bellucci crafted a wonderful four course dinner for us and our closest 50 friends to see their take on Spanish cuisine and cocktails.
Aperitif: Watermelon Wonders
You’ve probably heard us talk about SoBou’s fun and delicious Legs and Eggs Burlesque Brunch, but their dinner menu is not to be missed. What a fun and refreshing way to start any meal. Nothing says summer like the deliciousness of a ripe watermelon. For this course’s pairing, a carved out watermelon was presented with anchovies and citrus zest. Now I know what you are thinking, anchovies and watermelon? But you must understand, the two combined to give you a taste of the garden and the sea, like lounging on the coast of San Sebastian.
Paired with the Watermelon Pisco Sour, our first course was fruity and surprising but left us salivating for more.
Appetizers: Shrimp & a ‘Tini
We wanted more and we were not disappointed! Brought to us in a steaming cast iron skillet were jumbo shrimp cooking in the most amazing concoction of garlic, basil, thyme and Cochi Americano. We all dug in with our fingers and began peeling, dipping, sharing and commenting on the amazing flavors of the dish. I wouldn’t normally pair a martini with a shrimp dish, I’m more a white wine kind of gal, but The Chef’s Martini was just the ticket. I’m not normally a fan of martinis, they’re too strong and something my mother enjoys but this martini with peach gin and thyme infused vermouth perfectly complemented the flavors of the shrimp and provided a refreshing cleanse from the salacious sauce.
Main Course: Fantastic Fish & Fruit
It wouldn’t be a Mediterranean meal without a whole fish for the table to share. Our main course included two entire redfish cooked to perfection in a medley of pineapple and mango. Not to mention the entire fleshed out pineapple of crab claws for us to share. Like all great meals, it was everyone dig in for themselves. Once again that pairing of the sweet and savory, the garden and the sea, really brought these dishes from across to Atlantic to SoBou. Paired with a white sangria with the perfect amount of a sweetness, it was such a treat.
Dessert: Drinking Dreamsicles
Before I get to the best part of any meal, I must tell you about the cocktail concocted for the dessert course. Spanish brandy, Valencia orange sorbet, vanilla cream soda made by Bar Chef Bellucci, this drink tasted better than any dreamsicle I’ve ever had. If they made that Valencia orange sorbet, I would order it by the gallon. It was so delicious I was scraping the bottom to get more. Paired perfectly with a vanilla and brandy rum cake with Valencia orange icing, dessert was sweet without giving me a cavity. The perfect ending.
As someone who loves New Orleans cuisine deeply, it can get repetitive, so meals like SoBou’s Spanish Quarter Dinner are a real treat because you can enjoy the same ingredients you are used to seeing but with a new taste. Although we wave the fleur-de-lis and celebrate Mardi Gras, NOLA has a great deal of Spanish heritage and influence and it was a treat getting to experience some of that history at SoBou.