Cafe Amelie: Back to Cooking School

Have you ever considered becoming a chef? Go to work at a Waffle House for a couple months and if you can cut it there you might have what it takes to be a professional cook.

This is the advice I would give to the saute’ cook at Cafe Amelie who served me an egg dish I didn’t know existed: well done, sunnyside eggs.

Cafe Amelie has a reputation of being one of the best brunch houses in the French Quarter. Walking into the tree shrouded courtyard on Sunday morning with a good appetite earned by rocking it at the Ponderosa Stomp the evening before, I’m rightly excited by the prospects of a top flight meal.

Prospect denied.

While there are things to like about Amelie ultimately it provides a less than memorable experience.

The good:

I’m greeted by a pair of friendly girls at the hostess stand. Amelia and Annie are both working hard to put a nice hospitable face on the establishment.

Service is amiable. My waitress keeps my water glass filled and inquires as to my weal regularly. She doesn’t ask if I need change when she takes my check something that happens now with baffling regularity. Overall good service by a professional¬† restaurant worker.

The bad:

Canned corn on my shrimp and grits? Really. I love maque choux, it’s something I make a few times a year at my house and it’s one of my favorite Louisiana dishes. It would never dawn on me to open up a can of corn, season it and just sort of call it a day. At a cafe with the reputation of Amelie this displays sloth on the part of the chef. Downmarket corn in an upmarket restaurant.

Well done sunny side eggs served in lieu of eggs ordered fried over medium. I’m amazed at how many “chefs” don’t know how to cook an egg. The glories of a properly cooked, fried egg are manifold. I daydream about puncturing the lush yolks down into the creamy grits and then reveling in this classic flavor of the Deep South. A dream that sadly goes unfulfilled at Amelie.

I know the industry drill of being assigned the brunch shift at a restaurant. Your top notch cooks typically have worked their way up the ladder so they don’t have to rise at dawn on Sunday morning and work a busy line when they should be sleeping off the booze from a Saturday night.

Your brunch cooks are normally the guys who’re still training and earning their stripes before they move on to better shifts.

I reckon this is the case at Cafe Amelie where the front of the house shines but the backbone [the kitchen] needs some remedial training before they’re turned loose on the range.


912 Royal Street



About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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6 Responses to Cafe Amelie: Back to Cooking School

  1. Rush says:

    Way way way way off…those were the BEST shrimp and grits in my life!!! The corn or cream of corn or whatever took the dish to another level. My wife and I just loved it!!!

    A must stop for foodies

  2. RL Reeves Jr says:

    You do realize how old that review is don’t you? They probably have a new/better chef now.

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