Sunday, July 22, 2007
The City's Best Sazerac?
Twice during the Tales of the Cocktail, I've heard a local authority say he had had the best Sazerac of his life at Bayona, Susan Spicer's praised French Quarter restaurant.
One was Chuck Taggart, New Orleans cocktail blogger, who called his first Sazerac at Bayona a life-changing drink which set him on his current passion for good drinks. The other was Brobson Lutz, a doctor who has ever reason to be loyal to Galatoire's, having dined and drank there countless times, but who said his recent Sazerac at Bayona was the best he had ever had.
I have known many Sazeracs over the past few days—at Commander's Palace, The Carousel Bar, etc.—but was I missing the best? So, the last thing I did in New Orleans before catching a plane home was to have lunch at Bayona. They seated me right away, and my Sazerac came soon after. It was served in a smaller glass than usual, and the color was very vibrant (extra Peychaud's?). I drank. It was exceptional, very smooth, a bit on the sweet side. I can't say if it's the best I've ever had, but it certainly stood out and would be up there in the top three or so. I'm glad I had it.
My lunch consisted of a kind of Ceviche, a lump crab meat salad, and a pork and shrimp wonton soup. Each dish was delicate and flavorful and nearly perfect. Bayona deserves its rep. The table one over from me was a big group celebrating the 60th wedding anniversary of an elderly couple. Everyone seemed quite jazzed about the occasion—except the couple. Just another day in the marriage. There was a priest at the table; he had a chardonnay.
And, as has been the case all week, I can not go anywhere in New Orleans without running into a Tales of the Cocktail presenter. As I entered Bayona, Allen Katz exited. The night before I saw Gary Regan at Commander's Palace, sitting at the chef's table. Dale DeGroff, Charlotte Voisey, Junior Menior and Julie Reiner (of Pegu Club) were at Acme's Oyster Bar when I had lunch at the bar. Another guy, whose name I can't remember, but with whom I shared a cab to the airport, had actually been at Tipitina's when I was there Friday night. Small city.
This may be my last Tales of the Cocktail post. But don't hold me to that.