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Jun 12, 201410:27 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Clients and Change

Here’s the thing about New Orleans – you’re really never very far from a great restaurant, are you?

My client flew into New Orleans from Parts North early in the week and spent two nights in town. The first night he and I had dinner at Bayona, and I can now count him among the people I’ve introduced to sweetbreads. (If you’re going to introduce someone to sweetbreads, by the way, Bayona is the place to do it.) 
 
We spent the next day in Baton Rouge, and when we returned that night we were joined by a colleague whom I’ll call “R,” because I haven’t cleared using his name and he’d probably like going by an initial anyway. 
 
I had a case with R years ago, but I hadn’t heard from him since it ended. Turns out that my client, whom I’ll call “L,” because that’s a letter in his name — I forgot to assign him an initial when I first mentioned him, but I also haven’t cleared using his name — also knew R. L said that R was considering moving to New Orleans, and put me in touch. Apart from a twinge of Midwest in his accent, R is already a local. Specifically, he’s already up to speed on the restaurant scene. 
 
So when it came time to decide on a place to eat dinner I more or less blanked. There were too many places to consider; too many options. It didn’t help that we’d worked through lunch, and at 4:00 in the afternoon with torrential rain coming down, I was running on fumes. 
 
But here’s the thing about New Orleans – you’re really never very far from a great restaurant, are you? I parked along the flood wall across from the French Market, and we stopped in for a drink and snacks at Cane and Table on Decatur. The idea was to push on from there and figure out where to eat dinner, but what with the fumes and all, I was having some issues deciding. 
 
Maximo’s isn’t the sort of place I’d consider taking out-of-town clients under most circumstances. It doesn’t seem like a New Orleans place, and the food is not really New Orleans Italian, but it most certainly is a New Orleans place. 
 
I don’t know the name of the chef who cooked my meal because Maximo’s is not a chef-driven joint, but I watched him cook our food, and it was good. They made me a small dish of angel hair pasta with garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese off the menu to start, and while my fire roasted shrimp were a bit overcooked, they were delicious and I’m still thinking about the fried polenta that accompanied. 
 
There are Italian restaurants in New Orleans with more claim to authenticity than Maximo’s, but not many with better food. 
 
Query: Does cannibalism count in the locavore challenge? A friend wants to know. 
 
I heard recently that Stella! was closing, and that’s a shame. I had some outstanding meals at that restaurant, and I’ve always considered it one of the best in the city. Chef Scott Boswell is an ambitious, talented chef, and while I’m a fan of his casual restaurant Stanley, I’ll miss the fine-dining experience at Stella! I am consoled by my assumption that Boswell will be back in the high-end game before too long and by my prettiness. 
 
I am always consoled by my prettiness. 
 
 

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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

about

Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived here his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.

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