The energy, excitement, and food in New Orleans is hard to replicate outside the city, with most creole restaurants serving deep-fried fish and po-boys, but I'm so glad to announce that I found a hidden gem in the southwest corner of the Westin tower, NOLA Brasserie. Upscale yet casual with live music on weekends and killer views, NOLA brings elevated cajun cuisine to downtown Dallas. I paid them a visit on a calm Thursday afternoon and some of the highlights included the Crab & Crawfish Cake, Crawfish Etouffee, and the Catfish Fingers.
To start with, we ordered the Crab & Crawfish Cake, the Truffle Fries, and the Catfish Fingers. I love anything featuring truffle oil, but the Catfish Fingers were definitely outside my comfort zone. I’ve never had a catfish dish I actually liked, they were always either deep-fried and overly greasy or lacked any flavor whatsoever. I was pleasantly surprised when the fingers came out in a flavorful, slightly spicy coating and didn’t taste greasy at all! I learned later the secret Is using soy oil to deep-fry the fish, a lighter alternative to the greasy oils commonly used in the same dish. The fingers came with a delicious horseradish dipping sauce that was just the right amount of spicy and tangy. The truffle fries were good, not too salty nor greasy, but they weren’t the best truffle fries I’ve had. The Crab & Crawfish Cake was excellent, I could easily order a few of them and have that be my entire meal! It was served with the same delicious horseradish sauce as the catfish fingers, I couldn’t get enough! I highly recommend starting with the crab & crawfish cake when you visit!
For the entrées we decided on the Crawfish Étouffée and the Red Rice & Beans. The Crawfish Étouffée features fried and grilled Louisiana crawfish tails with creole veggies served over white rice. It was absolutely delicious, the crawfish cooked two ways was a great addition to the dish, spicy enough to make it interesting but not too spicy to overwhelm. Definitely get this for your entrée when you visit! Red Beans & Rice is ultimate NOLA comfort food, and one dish is more than enough to fill up and have plenty of leftovers. I like it more as a shared side rather than an entrée, but I also know it’s a NOLA classic.
Because I am on a lovely summer cleanse, we ordered two virgin mojitos and they were a great accompaniment to the meal, refreshing and semi-sweet! The Strawberry and Blackberry Mojitos were perfect for the warm weather and a great way to cool down after some of the spicier dishes!
For dessert we got the Crème Brûlée and the Bread Pudding, made with walnuts instead of raisins for that extra crunch. It was served with ice cream in a separate bowl, but we just consolidated the two and let the ice cream melt into the pudding. The Crème Brûlée was also delicious, made with Southern Comfort, it was an interesting twist on a classic. Out of the two, I would definitely recommend the Bread Pudding for dessert!
Overall it was an enjoyable meal with great service and a convenient location. It was a welcome experience to see Cajun cuisine in a more upscale setting, I’ll definitely be going back on the weekends when they have live music and free underground parking!