Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant

One of the three or four best meals I have had in the last six months was at Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant, which is owned by the well-known chef, Donald Link. Chef Link was not cooking the night we were there, but everything was superbly prepared, and the service was both professional and enthusiastic. Every dish was almost too good to believe. An absolutely remarkable chicken and seafood gumbo blew my tastebuds away with its nuances, spiciness, and wonderfully intense flavors. The french fries with the homemade aioli were to die for, as was one of Chef Link’s signature dishes, the dirty rice (made from Louisiana rice). Add to that an extraordinary duck confit, the Kurobuta pork belly with creamed corn and pickled chilies, an amazing chicken and mushroom ravioli, and the excellent beef short rib with potato Rösti, and it seemed like we couldn’t pick poorly no matter what we had at Herbsaint.

The wines started with a delicious, crisp, slightly lighter than expected, but still outstanding2009 Tempier Rosé. Perhaps other producers, such as Domaine de la Mordorée in Châteauneuf du Pape, have caught up with this great dry rosé producer. The 2007 Perrin Vinsobres was still a youngster, and would probably benefit from another 3-4 years of cellar age. Made from equal parts very old vine Grenache and Syrah, it exhibits an inky/blue/purple color, extraordinary richness, and terrific minerality as well as lots of tannin. Both my wife and I admired it more than actually enjoyed it. I would certainly buy this wine, but I would hold on to it for another 3-4 years before consuming it. We finished with a classic Cadillac Sazerac, which is New Orleans’ local cocktail. Developed by Antoine Amédée Peychaud in the 1830s, it is a blend of cognac (or rye whiskey), absinthe, Pernod Cor Herbsaint liqueur, sugar, and Peychaud bitters. Never serve it over ice! Luckily, we weren’t driving anywhere as I do not think I would have passed a sobriety test after that powerhouse.

This highly recommended restaurant has a great ambiance, a wonderful staff, and terrific food. By the way, the wine list is also very impressive.

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