Tujague’s – a taste of history

Tujague’s (sorta pronounced 2-jacks) is the 2nd oldest restaurant in New Orleans having opened their doors in 1856 in the French Quarter (Antoine’s, 1840, is still oldest). We have sayings around town about the lack of straight walls and flat floors and I’ve grown accustomed to my slanted bathroom and the slope in my hallway, but I couldn’t help but giggle at the wonky walls and tilted floor leading to our table.

The menu changes daily but always starts the same, with their signature Shrimp Remoulade. As we tore fresh Cap Bread and decided on our entree, I couldn’t help but imagine the citizens of olde enjoying this same spice-sauced shrimp. Next, a soup arrived and though I’m no fan of mushrooms, their spinach and mushroom soup was very tasty and I ate nearly every drop.

As the next course arrived, another signature dish of Brisket of Beef with Creole Sauce featuring horseradish, I started enjoying how many decisions were made for me. Trying to imagine the restaurant in the 1800’s, it occurred to me that dining in that era was probably not about extensive menus and having choices, it was about great food served well. I’ve always been a creature of dining habit. Rather than finding what I’m in the mood for on a menu, I typically find a favorite dish at each restaurant and figure out which place I’m in the mood for. Perhaps this is what dining out used to be like. If so, the Remoulade and tender, flavorfully sauced Brisket of Beef would be more than enough to draw a crowd.

I had the Filet Mignon which arrived perfectly cooked. It came with potatoes and savory broccoli and other veggies and “yummy” doesn’t begin to cover it. Another nice thing about having so few choices about the meal was that I was “obligated” to have dessert. The day’s offering, a bread pudding re-imagined with bananas and chocolate sauce, was divine.

Over the years, Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower have enjoyed the eats at Tujague’s. Having moved here after nearly 18 years in Los Angeles, where most restaurants were established after I was, I enjoyed actually tasting history.

As a side note, I’m thrilled the NFL is back on track and soon Drew Brees and our boys will be out on the field again as we all don our black and gold and chant Who Dat!?!

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