Friday, July 30, 2010

Appetizer Extravaganza: Mike's on the Avenue

On our last night in New Orleans we planned on heading back to the French Quarter to dine at Snug Harbor. We had stayed two nights in the French Quarter and then shifted locale to the quieter Warehouse/Arts District for our final night. Before heading out to the French Quarter we decided to feast on some appetizers at the restaurant off the lobby of the hotel we were at.

Stellar spontaneous decision.

Sitting in the outdoor seating of Mike's on the Avenue, next to Lafayette Square, watching the streetcars go by.

From start to finish our experience at Mike's on the Avenue was lovely. In a city where the experience of food and drink is integral to the place, I found myself increasingly intrigued by the life of service industry folk. These folks serve as ambassadors to the introduction and experience of a variety of cuisine that is worth writing home about. And they also often serve as some of the most practical guides to aspects of the city that you want to know more about.

I'm big on customer service. I had my own stints as a hostess in the restaurant industry. But even before this, I knew the value of a restaurant staff who (even if still in training) know the dishes, are professional and friendly and actually appear to genuinely like the establishment they work for. All of this was illustrated by the staff on our appetizer feast eve at Mike's on the Avenue.

A nice bowl of edamame (with grey sea salt) to munch on between bites of other, more complex starters.

'half plate photography.'

Crawfish spring rolls with chili lime sauce.
This was delicious.
It gets even better.

The dumplings.
Oh, the dumplings.

Shrimp & spinach dumplings with tahini sauce.

The dumplings were to-return-for. We fawned over the dumplings.
Let me demonstrate.

Yes, I am happy with the knowledge that I am about to stuff one of these dumplings in my mouth.

Yup, some grilled asparagus to round off the richer dishes with some basic green.

We just kept ordering app's after awhile.
Could. Not. Get. Enough.
Featured in the above (and below) pic:
The delectable Blackened Tuna Napoleon on Chips with Guacamole & Tamari Vinaigrette.

Mojitos to round out the appetizer feast.....

Mike's on the Avenue is in (what seems to me) as a fairly discreet location. I guess after spending two nights in the French Quarter, a block away from Bourbon Street, almost any location would seem discreet.

But it was a truly refreshing change of pace to just relocate about two miles away from the heart of traveller action and experience a centrally located, yet fairly peaceful, quarter in the heart of New Orleans. Apparently, Mike's is big with the weekly local business crowd (no surprise there), so it was with disappointment that we learned that they would be closed the day we left (a Sunday). No hope for a last good bye appetizer quickie before we set off for Alabama.

Whenever I have the opportunity to return to New Orleans, even with the plethora of restaurants left to explore, I would certainly return to Mike's on the Ave for an appetizer feast encore.

Although they were closed on the day we left, the concierge of the hotel was kind enough to open the doors of the restaurant so I could capture the restaurant's clean design by camera.

Thank you Mike's on the Avenue.

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