I have heard the expression that certain food was so “thoughtfully” prepared many times, on food shows, books and in discussions…but never quite understood (really understood) what that meant. How in the world could food be “thoughtful”? But, after 3 dining experiences at a new restaurant in town, The Saints Street Inn, I knew! I finally knew what was meant by that term… I felt it in every dish that was served at our table (and let me tell you, we ate some food!).
I had been hearing about this new restaurant that opened in August, close by our house, right off of St. Mary Blvd across from Ole Tyme Grocery. This little building has been there for years and years…last was the former site of Bonnie Bell’s Bistro, Gallaghers and numerous plate lunch cafes. Of course, I had to try it out…So my husband and I ventured out for lunch one day to see what all of the hoopla was about…Then, I had to have my daughter and one of her best friends come with me to check it out…Finally, to make sure that we were all right about this place, I took my son (food guru) for his blessing on this great new find! Everyone sang high praises for every dish ordered and, of course, we all had to try each other’s dishes…So here is what I loved…
When we first walked up onto the lovely covered front porch, that had plenty of tables set, (when the weather is nice, this would be a great place to enjoy it) and saw that they had a chalk board highlighting their “specials of the day”…Nice! Walked in and was immediately seated. Looking around, I liked what I saw…unpretentious, crisp and fresh renewal to an old place with a loads of history! The waitresses were young and energetic with quite a busy crowd, on all 3 occasions! You know, a large part of my dining experience is so much about the service and joy shown by the waiters and waitresses…so, yes, impressed so far! But when the food started coming, I was sold. And if ever there was thoughtful food…this was it…carefully plated, freshly assembled and you just knew that a lot of heart and soul went into the selection and preparation of every single ingredient, cup and plate presented to our precious table. Here is what we have tried so far:
Watermelon and Cantelope Agua Fresca: Covered my love of this in my last post! Will have a glass of this every time I visit…
Tomato Basil Soup (Soup of the day): Sweet, yet tart enough to satisfy the longing for what a fabulous tomato basil soup should be.
Shrimp and Corn Stew ( Special of the Day): What a delightful surprise, with a hint of roux blended into a tomato based shrimp stew! The corn added just the right amount of crunch to the bowl and the seasoning had just the perfect amount of heat. Loved it!
Ratatouille: You know when all of the ingredients are fresh from the farmer’s market…you just know! The combination of eggplant, bell peppers, onions, zucchini and yellow squash in the lovely fresh tomato sauce was spot on. On another visit I opted for the Ratatouille sandwich with feta, homemade pesto on ciabatta…WOW!! That worked!
Stuffed Creole Tomato: Huge fresh boiled shrimp in a very light remoulade sauce with fresh herbs…My husband wasn’t wanting to share this great dish, I promise! I did get a little bit and yes, I understand!
Summer Crab Salad: I saw this plate of “deliciousness” from across the room and had to ask, “what in the world is that beautiful thing”! Add their enormous boiled shrimp on top of the crab salad and THAT really works…They use a fresh creamy jalapeno and mint dressing that is so fresh and unique!
Saints Street Club: Not just another club sandwich, I promise! When my daughter said that it was the best club sandwich she ever had, I paid attention! She is quite choosy about what she calls “favorites”, so I had to have a bite, of course. She was right…They use perfect thin slices of roasted turkey, fresh avocado, sprouts, fresh ripe tomato, crispy bacon and she opted for fire jack cheese. She will be back!
Caprese Salad Sandwich: We weren’t quite sure about this, so we ordered it as an appetizer and had it cut into pieces…This might have been a favorite! I have been thinking about it ever since…even made a home version of it! It combines perfect thin slices of mozzarella cheese, ripe tomatoes and homemade pesto (that has just the right balance of olive oil, basil, garlic and pine nuts for a sandwich) on a fresh ciabatta roll…who would imagine? I want more!
The Acadian: Saints Streets Inn’s version of a sausage poboy, using andouille and adding fresh roasted peppers, grilled onions and…coleslaw! The “guru” ate it all, licking his fingers along the way….I didn’t even get a bite! And when I can’t get a bite, well, that should say it all…
House Cut Fries: I like to think that I am a connoisseur of homemade french fries!Home fries.. takes me back to my mother and grandmother’s kitchens. All I can say is that I know a good fry when I taste one and these were great! Just the right amount of softness and crispiness to call my name…
Cold Watermelon Soup (Soup of the Day): (with a topping of lump crabmeat…mmm) I love cold soups (I pretty much love all soups), so I had to try this creation! And what a creation it was…expecting a pinkish red soup, I was quite surprised when I saw it… a bright beautiful yellow! As I took a bite, I tasted a hint of lemongrass…a bright, delicious and creative addition to a very unique soup. I absolutely loved it…and well, the lump crabmeat sprinkled on top…lagnappe!
Bread Pudding with Praline Sauce: A wonderful firm bread pudding with what tasted like a deep and rich praline just melted on top of it…you know the kind of praline that your moma used to make…rich, sweet and buttery! Melt in your mouth good.
This is what I call “thoughtful” food…first and maybe the only time I will use that term, but it fit! And this fresh “farm to table” food really works,…really, really works! I’ll be back, for sure!