SPOTLIGHT ON: Bo's Kitchen and Bar Room
I don't know if you're familiar with a little thing called BlackboardEats, but if you're not...well treat yo'self and sign up for this email! They serve New York, Chicago, LA, and San Fran. It's not a flood your inbox type of email list either. Sometimes they'll send a list of seasonal favorites, or a great recipe or something. You can also scour their site for reviews on some of the top restaurants in your city. But the best things about them is the email that arrives every few days, give or take, and lists one of these established eateries along with some sort of available freebie or discount for anyone who claims their passcode. Often this means a discount of 30% off the bill, and/or sometimes includes a complimentary cocktail or app or both. When I first signed up I never claimed my codes, thinking I would probably never be dining at such and such a place, and then I realized I was an idiot and now I claim every one. THEN when a friend wants to meet for dinner I can scroll through my BBE list to see where I have a deal--not only do I usually try a new place, but I do so at a discount AND impress my friends with these great perks!
Well my trip to Bo's Kitchen and Bar was exactly one of those experiences. I hadn't seen my good friend Adriane in a while and so I looked to see what was available near her job in midtown. Adriane and I went on a trip with her sister and our other friend to New Orleans a few years back, so when I saw that Bo's was in the hood AND would serve us up some nostalgia, I knew Adriane would be down. Obviously, I was right. She sent me a message about 2 hours before we were originally planning to meet and said she could come out and play whenever, since her boss had already left for the day. I quickly got my act together so we could catch up over a cajun feast!
We got to the restaurant at 6pm, and asked for a table for 2. The host checked and said he could seat us, but at a table with a 7:30pm res, which we figured wouldn't be a problem. We were brought through the bar into the back room, which was very warmly lit and brightly decorated. We were seated at the corner table closest to the kitchen. With this particular deal we received a free cocktail each and a free appetizer with our entrees. Both the food and drink menus were very promising with a lot of options, but it wasn't at all overwhelming. Adriane ordered the Kimi's Cleanse, which included strawberries, mint and cucumber, tasting very much like a spa in a glass plus vodka. I, of course, stayed true to my bourbon heart and ordered the Antebellum, and was not at all disappointed with what was essentially a strongly spiked iced tea.
We got a share plate to start with: Savory Beignets served with "maple bacon devil's delight". Now, if you know Adriane, you'll know she's pretty much a pescatarian, making exceptions every now and again for amazing chicken wings or BACON! This was the right choice! The beignets looked like little yellow pillows atop this dark river of baconey goodness--sweet, smoky and delicious. We ordered 4, but I think we probably could have been satisfied with 2, although I have no regrets! The fried french doughnuts were reminded me almost of a more flavorful and delicate hush puppy, and the bacon was the perfect complement.
For our entrees, Adriane and I went very different ways. While she remained much more dainty with her Sea Scallops, I ordered what I look back on now as probably the most indulgent item on the menu: Cajun Pork Chop Parmesan. I'm gonna let you sit with that for a moment. Break it down if you must: Cajun. Pork Chop. Parmesan. Combining the Cajun and Italian? Emeril would be proud. Now, the waiter informed me that the pork chop, while very large didn't come with any sides or anything so I looked at my dining partner to see if she had interest in sharing something...we went with the Mashed Smoked Potatoes, with candied bacon and brown butter, cuz, why not?!
When our dishes came out I was very impressed with both the beauty of the dishes and also, the size...especially of the chop. Holy cow...or pig, rather! Adriane's plate of scallops was very pretty with lollipop kale, oyster mushrooms and gremolata. I tried a little bit of her dish, which was perfectly cooked and beautifully seasoned. It certainly paired well with the spa cocktail she was drinking! While mine was much more of a beast, which I mean in the best possible way. The slab of meat took up nearly the entire plate, and was covered with sauce and cheese, which is to be expected from a Cajun Pork Chop Parmesan. But rather than a heavy, overpowering tomato sauce, this one had a great balance of flavors and spice to lighten it up in just the slightest sense. And the cheese, which included manchego and gruyere made for a melted top that I'm dreaming about as I type this. If you'll recall my friend does not indulge in chops of pork, but I did share with her some of the sauce and cheese as it was such a great combination of tastes on the tongue. She approved. She was also helpful in the consumption of those potatoes. With just a hint of smoke, they were creamy and light, but not light enough to make the pork chop go away! I wasn't able to finish the plate off, but I tried my best, and if I were to order the dish again I'd skip any sides and probably any starters. #NextTime
Our kind waiter asked if we wanted any dessert. We asked to see the menu, just out of curiosity--for next time, but we were both more stuffed than we even realized. Luckily we wrapped up and it was just about 7:30pm, and we weren't brushed away by the host or anything! We had a lovely meal in a lovely setting, and even managed to catch up a little bit. I really enjoyed Bo's and I'll definitely be back. I can't say that it transported me back to Nola, but I suppose the dishes are more tribute to the flavors and styles, than they are re-creations of classic Cajun dishes. Thank you to Bo's and thanks to BBE for delivering another great evening!