After a whirlwind of food and drinks on our first day in the French Quarter, it was finally time to slow down a bit and enjoy a relaxing dinner. We were really excited about trying this next restaurant that came highly recommended from a friend of ours. The restaurant is Bayona, and if you ever go to New Orleans, you absolutely have to dine here.
Bayona is a cozy, romantic restaurant, located just a couple of blocks from Bourbon Street. It opened in 1990 by Regina Keever and James Beard Award winning chef Susan Spicer. The restaurant is beautiful! It’s situated in a 200-year old Creole cottage, and you can dine inside in their lovely dining room, or outside in their beautiful courtyard.
We started out with an appetizer of duck rillette that was delicious. It was made with duck, mostarda, pickles, mustard and crostini. I also ordered a bottle of 2012 Pierre Gaillard Domaine Cottebrune Faugeres that was bold and sumptuous. It paired beautifully with our duck and the rest of the meal.
For our entrees, I ordered the seared sea scallops that came with a Thai green curry sauce, petit bok choy stir-fry and papaya nuoc cham. To this day, I am still thinking about this dish. The sear on the scallops was perfect. The Asian flavors incorporated into the dish was perfect. These may have been the best scallops I have ever tasted. Eric went traditional southern flair and ordered the Spanish sausage stuffed rabbit roulade. This came with romanesco, escarole, romesco and a lemon-olive jus. The presentation was stunning and it tasted amazing. The rabbit just melted in you mouth. Both dishes were fantastic.
For dessert, we kept it liquid, and ordered a glass of 20-year old madeira. It was, hands down, the best madeira we have ever tasted. It was smooth and flavorful, but not syrupy sweet. It was a wonderful way to end a great dinner.
We immediately fell in love with Bayona, and understood why it came so highly recommended. The decor is beautiful, inside and out. There is one wall that is covered with awards and press clippings touting the restaurant’s deserved success. As we were leaving, Eric asked the hostess if Chef Susan Spicer was in house tonight or would be around while we were visiting. As luck would have it, Bayona has a champagne lunch for a limited time on certain days of the week, and that Chef Spicer would be at the restaurant for lunch on Thursday. Needless to say, we made a reservation right then and there! We were both very excited that we were going to be able to meet Chef Spicer in a couple of days!