Before the storm, my boss Jay put $40 in my hand and sent me to take out our intern (Gregg) to lunch for his last day at the office. He was moving on to bigger and better things in Dallas, Texas. Gregg and I grinned at each other, excited that we had more to spend at lunch than a $5 dollar meal at McDonald’s and ran out of the office clutching our cash before our boss could change his mind. I clearly recall having a leisurely lunch and one of the best hamburgers I’ve ever eaten at Ye Olde College Inn. Last night I decided it had been too long since my last visit. This is my 12th week and my 12th cheat and I am down 38 pounds.
John and I argued about where our cheat would be this week, he wanted hibachi and I wanted something fried, but I came out victorious and selected to re-visit Ye Olde College Inn on Carrollton Ave. It has been almost 6 years since I last visited this restaurant and I was ready to experience it again, although I was in for a whole new experience.
Ye Olde College Inn had actually moved into an adjacent building that they remodeled a few years ago and, when John and I walked in, I found the décor to be much more appealing, modern and hip. There were murals on the walls of Canal Street scenes, wooden cutouts of New Orleans-style streetlamps reaching above walls that ended abruptly before an open ceiling that exposed the metal beams and air conditioning units. An assortment of chandeliers hung above the white linen covered tables and a quaint, stand up piano in one corner. It seems they are trying to attract a younger clientele, though without apparent need, their regulars are very faithful and I was beginning to see why.
John and I were seated immediately and our pleasantly attentive server appeared shortly to take our order. The simple menu offered a variety of classic New Orleans favorites like etouffee and gumbo, but we were in the mood for some po-boys. We ordered an appetizer of Slow-Cooked Duck with grilled orange and pecans in a honey BBQ sauce and a tasty looking stack of homemade onion rings. For my entrée, I ordered a famous Foot-Long Oyster Po-Boy with Havarti Cheese and Bacon and John got the Foot-Long Fried Green Tomato Po-Boy with boiled shrimp and their signature Remoulade.
The appetizers came out quickly and soon we were digging into the rich, moist duck with a sauce so decadent, it almost felt like dessert! Although the onion rings were delicious by themselves, we couldn’t help but try to soak up the leftover Honey BBQ sauce from the duck and we found ourselves guiltily dipping the rings when we thought no one was looking.
Shortly after devouring the apps and licking the sauce from our fingers, our po-boys came out. Filling the large dinner plates, we knew we wouldn’t be able to finish our two huge, foot-long po-boys served on crusty, fresh French bread and resigned ourselves to bringing home the leftovers. The oysters were fried perfectly in a cornmeal-type batter and were plump, juicy and divine. The bacon and Havarti cheese complimented the decadent oysters easily and it was truly a po-boy to remember. John’s Fried Green Tomato Po-Boy was fantastic and their Remoulade was easily the best I have tasted so far.
Our server brought to-go boxes and accurately divined that we were ready for some dessert. One dish jumped out at me from the menu and I immediately chose it from the rest (including a Fried Bread Pudding Po-Boy…WOW!), the Chocolate Pecan Caramel Cluster Cake.
In no time at all, our server brought out two cups of coffee and our dessert that we inhaled much more quickly then expected. The cake was the consistency of a thick brownie with large pecans draped in caramel on top. It was absolutely wonderful!
We breathed a full, satiated sigh, grabbed our to-go box and waddled out of the restaurant. This classic, New Orleans, family restaurant turned out to be even better than I remembered and exceeded my expectations. I can easily see becoming a weekly regular like the generations of families since 1933 who already make this restaurant their favorite stop.