The 2 breads were impressive looking - a jalapeno corn bread and focaccia roll (if I heard correctly) but less than overwhelming in the taste dept. Not so my friends' crab cake nor my richly, spicily, sauced BBQ'd shrimp - really good.
We also were impressed by the shrimp with cheddar-flavored grits and the lemoncello marinated salmon with a corn soup-type sauce. Again, both were spicy without overwhelming you and intensely flavorful. The only problem with our whole meal came with an inordinate wait for our coffees (which were from Cafes Richard, what a surprise).
The bill was $107.56 before tip (that included a bottle of wine but no desserts.) A fine meal.
Martinique, a dump you say, from the pix above. Unh unh. I went on the advice of my two NOLAdvisors and as my cabbie dropped me off he said "I think you'll find it very good food in a very small place." Understatement of the year.
They said, "inside or outside?": inside was just over 32 degrees F., outside just under 100 degrees F. I actually restepped outside to see where I'd suffer less; inside.
Menu arrives, water arrives, bread arrives - warm baguette with fine fine butter, best of this visit. Good omen.
I'd just been two (now Drug-Co-BigPharma-less) receptions with no stupefying booze but plenty of finger food and had that great lunch at NOLA (above), so I wanted easy in the Biggest of Easies. Firsts: mussels, maybe; escargots, hummm; Spring Scallion Gnocchi a la Parisienne, now what could that mean?
But the shrimp bourride caught my eye. OK.
I ask the nice wait-person, "a bourride, here, in NOLA, it's a fish soup, right, sort of as from Provence or Marseille?", "yes Sir, except with shrimp". "The blood orange sauce, doesn't that clash with the aoili," ask I stupidly. "Oh no, it's really good" she replies, with a really convincing smile.
OK. Arrives (a long long, long, time later - that's OK, I got a chance to hear a shrill lady from Chicago's nasal opinions on everything except Rand Paul - a forte voce).
I dig in. The shrimp are fresh (no BP oil or freezer burn here) and succulent, the fennil not over-powering and the "soup" exquisite. The aoili; I ask, "what is it?" After one mis-step (in reporting it was lime and mint), he reported "it's green," OK, "with parsley, garlic, scallions and lemonoil (?)." Wow!
I'm glad my children and especially my grandchildren did not hear the rest (they'd be so embarrassed, as I was at their ages).
"So, where did this guy work before?" "Australia, France, etc."
I Googled the place and got this: "Enchanted by it's beauty and coziness, Cristiano Raffignone born in Paris, France and raised in Italy, purchased Martinique Bistro in October 2003. He kept the name in remembrance of the tropical feel that the dine-in courtyard and view gives the place.
Hubert Sandot opened Martinique Bistro in 1994. The chef was born in Madagascar to a French mother and a Martiniquais father; he was raised in Paris. Martinique Bistro's menu was, and is, a reflection of this heritage. As executed by longtime chef de cusine, Eric LaBouchere, the food represents some of the smartest cross-cultural cooking you'll find in the area."
My bill, with 2 glasses of fine Pinot Gris, no starters, desserts or coffee sans tip = $51.66
Go? Dude, you gotta ask?