Chez Madeleine

Sunday, July 02, 2006


big ass basket

My wish for everyone is that they have a corner restaurant where they always feel welcome. Where the food calls you home and you can always crash. Maybe you know the bartender, or maybe you just know the feel of the glass in your hand. I'm not the kind of girl who befriends bartenders. I'm more about the feel of the glass in my hand, or the flavor of an old familiar dish. Or the memory of the last friend I saw there.

I'm new to my neighborhood--not really new, but relatively. I've lived in the Old Fourth Ward for almost a year, and recently, I've started to explore the restaurant scene. I've been stuck in a rut for a while now--you know the one...where every time you find yourself on Friday night, hankering for a meal and a drink with a good friend, you reach into your rolodex of ten restaurants--all old familiar, and you pull one out. You don't need to look at the menu, or the drink list. You know when family hour has ended, and its safe for you to talk about sex without offending anyone. They've long ago taken off your favorite thing off the menu, but you still order it anyway. I have lots of these. Osteria 832. Taqueria del Sol. Six Feet Under. Eclipse di Luna. Watershed. so many more.

So, on Friday night I decided with a few friends that before we hit up a local show at the Red Light Cafe, we would head to the gastro-pub on the corner for some neighborhood patronage. P'Cheen opened about 6 months ago, and I have been there twice already. Once, on the blind date from hell. It was a bad date because I liked him so much on paper, and over email, but in person it was terrible. I thought he was the perfect combination of crunchy and corporate. I thought he was southern, knew how to toss the frisbee, liked cuisine. Really, he was northern, and nasaly-and studied "risk" and hated eating out. He didn't walk me to my car after our two glasses of wine-and my car was about ten blocks away. Not a match. The second time I went to this restaurant, was with a good friend-and the conversation was great-and we walked (the signature of a corner restaurant is that you walk there). And the conversation was memorable. And I still think about that day.

P'Cheen is Gaelic for Moonshine-and its an international pub of sorts with the look of a fancy restaurant. Step inside, and you're as likely to find a phd student typing poking away at a thesis, as you are likely to find a few gents having a cold one at the bar while watching sports.

We hit up the place with the idea of putting down some pre-concert fare, and we were not disappointed. We started with the Big Ass Basket of Pommes Frites--which, while wonderful--oily and dense with potato, were not really the stuff of big ass baskets. In fact, I had to crane the canon over the edge to capture them for you. The dipping sauces, however, aimed to please--harissa aoili, jalepeno marinara and tartar sauce. I followed with the angus and portobello burger-which was overcooked, and slightly charred, but filled my belly. My companions had ribs and hummus, respectively.

hummus platter

There was a lively debate about the nature of the place--a bar with food? A restaurant with a good beer list? I felt pretty confident about the Gastro-Pub nomination.

The next time you're looking for somewhere to dine on a Friday night, look no further than your corner. Or mine.


Blogger Kate said...

Glad you guys had fun... you should have taken a picture of your oh-so-handsome dinner guest as well!
Miss you--
xxox, Kate

4:54 AM  

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