Mr. B’s Bistro – New Orleans
Mr. B’s Bistro – 201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
The South Florida Eats team was in New Orleans for a work trip, and the group that I was traveling with wanted to have dinner at Mr. B’s Bistro. Mr. B’s was across the street from our hotel, the Hotel Monteleone. I had never heard of this restaurant before on my other trips to New Orleans, but was excited when I overheard someone on the plane mention it to someone else that was going to be staying at the same hotel as me. I figured, it’s got to be good if the locals are recommending it to out of towners.
Mr. B’s is owned by Cindy Brennan and was opened in 1979. They are supposed to be known for their Gumbo Ya Ya, Barbequed Shrimp, Wood grilled fish, and Creole Bread Pudding. You will walk into an old building when entering Mr. B’s Bistro. It’s full of tables and chairs and it quite large inside. The restrooms are located downstairs away from the seating area which is a nice touch. They have a ton of staff, who if not busy are standing around watching you as you sit at your tables.
Around 6pm it is not busy, but soon after as you hit the 7pm hour, suddenly the restaurant becomes very packed. Mr. B’s also has several front door staff and managers to greet you as you enter from the street.
Because of the many hard surfaces in the restaurant area, it sometimes can be hard to hear your dining companions.
The menus change based on the season so what I list below may not be there when you go. Mr. B’s serves lunch, dinner, and a Sunday Jazz Brunch. I was super excited to see the prepared menu that they provided our group. It made it seem special and they even customized it with the group’s name on it. Unfortunately all of that excitement weaned after I got home and noticed that they didn’t do anything special for us, but rather just put regular menu items on it for us to choose from in a four course meal.
Mr. B’s Bistro menu itself is very limited, which is not a bad thing. I like the fact that it is kept small and simple as too many restaurants try to be all things to everyone. You will find about seven appetizers ranging from springrolls, oysters (almost everyone has oysters in New Orleans), to Truffle fries.
Soups and Salads number about seven as well. Their most famous is the Gumbo Ya Ya and the Bistro Salad. Next on the menu is usually a couple of seasonal specials, followed by seven entrees. I think I am seeing a theme here with lucky number seven.
We had a fairly nice sized group and sat at two large tables. Our group all started with the Gumbo Ya Ya, which I was looking forward to since they are supposed to be known for this. However I must say that Mr. B’s Bistro failed me on the very first bite to my experience in the restaurant. First off, the portion size was quite small in a shallow bowl. It’s a rich country style gumbo made with chicken and andouille sausage. For me and several others, there just was not any real flavor to it. I was expecting my palette to be engulfed in flavors, but the broth was lackluster at best, and the sausage did not have much of a kick to it. Most of us thought it was bland to the taste and could have really used some nice seasoning to add flavor.
Next up on the menu was the Bistro Salad. Now because we were having this four course meal, I get the size of these items may have been smaller than normal. The salad was actually very good and baby greens, grape tomatoes and pecans tossed in a herb vinaigrette dressing and topped with shaved parmesan.
Mr. B’s allowed us to choose from four entrees. Rena, one of my colleagues had the wood grilled fish of the day. The fish came with a nice cajun seasoned crust to it and was served over asparagus and pecan popcorn rice. A side of lemon butter sauce was provide in case she wanted to add a bit more flavor. The fish had a very good flavor and was nice and flaky to the fork. Rena sais that this was something that she would definitely eat again.
I opted to go with my usual test item, the Truffle butter filet mignon. An 8 ounce wood grilled filet of beef, topped with housemade truffle butter, served with garlic potato rounds and sauteed spinach. The waitress asked if the medium temp listed on the menu was okay, and I asked to it to be medium-well instead. This is a change for me as I really love getting it well done to see if they can keep it moist and flavorful while hitting that temperature. I however was very disappointed that they do not know how to get proper temperature on their filet, as it came out a bit less than medium. Not quite medium rare, but definitely not medium-well. The glop of truffle butter on top also did not make for an appealing presentation or add any flavor to the meat, so I brushed that to the side. I have to say I was also disappointed in the lack of seasoning on the filet itself. I mean after all Louisiana is known for it’s amazing flavors. Speaking of flavor, that theme seemed to carry through to the spinach and the potatoes as well which lacked any kind of wow factor as well.
Jackelyn chose to go with the bacon wrapped shrimp & grits. A Saute of pecanwood smoked bacon wrapped jumbo Gulf shrimp served with creamy stone ground grits and red-eye gravy. She wasn’t sure at first if she was going to like the red-eye gravy as that is an odd item to have on your grits. Jackelyn said that the shrimp were very good and the grits were decent. She has had better, but it was not unpalatable. The presentation doesn’t look that good when they are served and kind of looks like mush, but in the end she did enjoy the meal. She would have recommended to not have red-eye gravy on it as it really did not add to the flavor of the dish. If it had been made from a good ham stock, then there might have been reason to add it to the dish.
Our group had a choice of bread pudding, hot buttered pecan pie or chocolate molten cup cake. A few at the table chose the pecan pie, which is served with vanilla ice cream and a creamy caramel drizzle. For these southerners, the flavors were exceptional and meshed very well together. All the members of group that tried it, raved about the pie.
A few others chose the molten cup cake. An individually baked rich chocolate cake with a fudgy center topped with vanilla ice cream & raspberry sauce. This too was a very well received dessert and had a good mesh of flavors. But if you are expecting the center fudge to be warm, it really wasn’t. You get a much better one on the Carnival Cruise ships.
Definitely a bit on the expensive side for what you get, but worth checking out when in the French Quarter.