Gumbo Z’Herbes de Dauphine – La Hachette GW
Media credit: Anna Boone I Photographer
For my entree, I ordered the Gumbo Z’Herbes because of my love for the dish that I ate growing up in the south and tried many times in New Orleans.
Nothing compares to Southern Creole and Cajun cuisine, but Dauphine’s serves upscale classic New Orleans dishes that will transport your taste buds to the French Quarter.
The elegant New Orleans-inspired restaurant is conveniently located a few blocks from the Farragut North and McPherson Square subway stations at 1100 15th St. NW, but it’s only open for dinner starting at 5 p.m. daily and Sunday Brunch starting at 11:30 a.m. From the bar selection of raw oysters and fresh seafood to gourmet selections of Creole entrees and New Orleans staple dessert beignets, The Dauphine hosts an impressive southern dining experience.
As soon as you enter Dauphine, your eye catches small but charming decor details, like the restaurant’s name intricately inlaid into the tiled floor in front of the host’s stand and a cow’s hoof bell on the stand. of the host to invoke the service. if necessary. If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, you’ll also recognize the elaborate metalwork adorned with hanging ferns that surrounds the bar, an architectural style familiar to Bourbon Street balconies.
The restaurant has multiple dining areas, all of which are visible from the entrance due to the open layout and balcony-style interior upper level. The raw bar and main dining area are to your left, and the main bar with raised seating is to the right, with the upper dining area up a flight of stairs at the far end of the room. With the warmer weather, you can also take advantage of the two outdoor seating areas on either side of the restaurant’s ground floor.
To start, I sampled some of the tip of the orchard oysters ($3 each), sourced from Maryland, served on a bed of pebbles of ice with cocktail sauce, vinegar, seasoned Saltine crackers and grated horseradish in an empty clam shell. They were ice cold and salty to the mouth, and the sides made each go down smooth. If you’re not a seafood lover, you can’t go wrong with the bread service ($10) which consists of freshly baked biscuits, sweet potato brioche and French baguette served with a butter of addictive salted cane sugar.
Depending on your level of hunger and your budget, Dauphine’s menu offers small plates and large plates on its dinner menu. In the future, I want to try the Mirliton and Pig’s Ear Salad ($13) with Arugula, Walnuts, Asian Pear and Aged Gouda from the Small Plates or the Stuffed Quail with Dirty Rice and Duck ($33) with Sweet Potato, Radicchio charred and pepper jelly juice from large plates.
But for my entree, I ordered the Gumbo Z’Herbes ($14) because of my love for the dish I ate growing up in the south and tried several times in New Orleans. The waiter pulled out a wide, shallow bowl and drizzled the potato salad sitting in the middle with okra he poured from a saucer. Eating potato salad with okra is a tradition practice in Louisiana. And like at Dauphine, it often replaces rice.
Dauphines gumbo has a dark roux base, a mixture of fat and flour that achieves a deep coppery color when cooked together, and it’s filled with sautéed vegetables, collard greens, and roasted chunks of pork. This deviates slightly from the usual preparation of okra with smoked sausage and seafood, but was just as enjoyable. The flavor of the stew was deeply savory without being overly salty, and the sprouts gave the stew a more vegetal flavor and complimented the smoky flavor of the pork.
When I took a bite of the potato salad with the stew, it was a crisp, fresh contrast to the warm richness of the okra. And the green onions that topped the traditional mayonnaise-based potato salad were full of shine and tartness. Of course I asked for Tabasco hot sauce – I like my okra very spicy. Besides the heat it brought, the acidity of the vinegar-based hot sauce added another dimension of flavor to the dish.
For dessert, I enjoyed the donuts ($9) that came with a shaker of powdered sugar. They were about three bites each with a crispy golden exterior and a very warm, mushy interior, which made for a smooth finish to the meal.
If you’re looking to try a cocktail, Dauphine’s has plenty. If I ordered, I’d like a sip of the hurricane, a take on a popular New Orleans drink ($15) with tangy tropical fruit, or the Dauphine martini ($16), flavored with a hot spice called anise.
If you’re a southerner like me looking for Creole and Cajun cuisine, or if you’re just looking for a new gourmet dining experience, head to Dauphine’s.
This article originally appeared in the April 28, 2022 issue of The Hatchet.
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