This is the real deal: Herbsaint

Last dining experience this trip and this is by far the best of those tasted. The chef is a multi year winner of the James Beard best chef award South and it is obviously well deserved.

The space is relatively small and a bit on the loud side. Drinks and food were flowing late into the night and the crowd is again a young one. Adding to the ambiance are the St Charles street cars rolling past every few minutes as you dine. It was a bit stormy earlier in the day but that didn’t dissuade an alfresco experience for some.

Started with the roasted beet salad and I was a bit concerned that since it was served with yogurt as well as citrus that the dish would be too tart. That was not the case….perfect pairing with the sweetness of the oranges and grapefruit countering the tartness of the yogurt. Excellent.

Oysters were next…could not leave the city without fried oysters. They were served with a side of hot sauce…use it sparingly…it is indeed hot sauce! Finished with the jumbo shrimp with callaloo (caribbean greens…think a tender milder kale) and chili tomato vinaigrette. The rice was crispy which added a nice dimension to the dish.

Several good choices for dessert and I went with the flourless chocolate (I know I’m boring) served with strawberry jam, cashew brittle and strawberry ice cream. I’m not a big fan of strawberries prepared like this (prefer them as they come off the plant) but the preparation was perfect with the rich chocolate cake.

They have an extensive wine list that leans old world. Once again my choice was the Provençal rose…beautifully crisp with nice fruit. Although not the typical pairing, I finished with a very nice dessert wine from the Loire.

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