This week, Besha Rodell is back to review Preux & Proper, the Bourbon Street-inspired restaurant Downtown. B. Rod describes New Orlean's famed street as "the city's least interesting pocket of culture, unless you're super into mediocre strip clubs with coeds puking up multicolored daiquiris out front," with some of the city's worst food. As such, the kitchen at Preux & Proper is kicking out "Southern food in heavy drag, an over-the-top display of what the cuisine might be if you put it in spangles and a push-up bra."
With Samuel Monsour at the helm as of February, there are some hits, but also some pretty serious misses:
These dishes, the ones that work, are relatively restrained, certainly compared with the things that left me overwhelmed and confused. Why would you put coconut in your Anson Mills grits, then slap on sweet stewed peaches and a bourbon-butter glaze? Is this dessert? It is not — it's the setup for a duck breast entree that is just a bowl of too-sweet but under-seasoned glop with some nicely cooked duck buried within. [LAW]
But the Weekly critic does find some dishes to love, like the pricey collard greens and beef heart toast:
There are times when Monsour's cleverness is entirely too clever, neglecting to take deliciousness into account, and other times when it hits that perfect note, when you understand why certain ingredients go together but see the couplings in a whole new way. This is true in the deconstructed "holy trinity" — the onions, celery and green bell peppers that are the building block for so much Creole cooking — that you'll find on his beef-heart toast. Here they're shaved raw over thinly sliced smoked beef heart, and the vegetal perfumes of all three come together in a way that's reminiscent of a Creole stew and also wholly different. [LAW]
Preux & Proper walks away with two stars.