December 31, 2010 - On a whim, I decided to go to New Orleans, LA (NOLA) with a couple of my friends for New Year's. Maria, the one in the middle with the blue shirt, grew up and went to school in NOLA. She knows her way around the city so I let her take the lead in choosing the restaurants. It was very nice for me because she and I have the same taste in food and I trust her restaurant choices implicitly.
We arrived in the Big Easy around 10 am. In the airport while we were waiting for Marna, our other friend, to arrive, Maria planned our food and restaurant agenda for our short stay. We had a lot on that agenda - we had to try beignets, po-boys, muffalettas, char-broiled oysters, BBQ shrimp, hurricanes, sazeracs, and of course, at least one of John Besh's restaurants.
For lunch, we decided to quickly check one off of our list and try Domenica, a John Besh restaurant, located in the historic Roosevelt Hotel. Domenica is an Italian restaurant serving handcrafted pastas and wood-fired Neopolitan Pizzas. Since I was in NOLA, I was hoping to find some New Orleans influence on this Italian menu. The only New Orleans influence I could find was John Besh himself. The restaurant serves mainly Italian.
We had made a reservation while we were at the airport so there was absolutely no wait for our table when we arrived. The hostess was very friendly and seated us immediately.
We had the whole day ahead and since I had big dinner plans at John Besh's Restaurant August, one of his more upscale restaurants in the city, I decided to order a very light lunch. I went with the burrata mozzarella, tomatoes tritato, and arugula panzanella salad. The dish was very colorful and beautiful - the burrata was very creamy and delicious.
Maria ordered the octopus carpaccio fennel and citrus salad, and again the presentation was beautiful. I had a taste and this was fabulous. The octopus carpaccio was very thinly sliced and practically melted in your mouth. The fennel and citrus salad was the perfect compliment to the octopus.
Next, Maria and I shared the prosciutto tomato, bufala mozzarella and arugula pizza. Domenica serves Neopolitan-style pies and from what I've read - the best pizza in NOLA. I can't confirm that they serve the best pizza in NOLA because I only had pizza at Domenica during my stay. What I can say without a doubt is that Domenica's pizza is comparable to any pizza I had in Naples, Italy. Also Domenica's pizza is as good or better than my favorite Neopolitan pizza place in Washington, DC - 2 Amy's. Like the octopus carpaccia, the prosciutto was very thinly sliced and melted in your mouth.
After lunch, we headed over to the Roosevelt to check it out. The Christmas decorations were stunning.
Final note: You must put Domenica on your list of places to check out if you are ever in NOLA. Domenica is very affordable and the food is delicious, well prepared, and presented beautifully. The next time I'm in town, I will definitely try this restaurant for dinner. Also, after your meal, don't forget to wander over to the Roosevelt and stop at the Sazerac Bar for a drink.