Saturday, September 11. Sizzle At Gallagher's Grill. A few days ago Dan Scott called to ask me out to dinner. He's one of many who took pity on my de facto bachelor state during the two months when Mary Ann was going to be in Washington. She didn't stay that long--she's here now, in fact. But the Scotts didn't know that, and were happy that she'd be with us.
Sitting at a bar in a first-class restaurant and having a single pre-dinner cocktail with friends is among the most agreeable activities I know. There's nobody I'd rather share that moment with than Dan and Kathy Scott. Dan was the person who first suggested that the Eat Club could probably take some great cruises. He hosted the first few of them. After decades in the business, he'd been everywhere and knew how to play everything. And he knew how to have a good time. It's always a better party if the Scotts are there. I wish he were still in the travel business. When Commodore Cruise Line suddenly shut down some years ago, he was left holding the bag, and he took such a fiscal hit that he was never able to recover. We could never do business again, but we've remained friends.
The bar tonight was in Gallagher's Grill in Covington. Dan and Kathy say they go there for dinner every Saturday. Good choice. I'm a big fan of Pat Gallagher's style. He appeald to the appetite rather than the psyche with his food. The quantities of butter, cream, eggs, salt, and pepper he uses are sub-optimal from the standpoint of healthy eating, but it sure does taste good.
Mary Ann and I shared Pat's formidable appetizer assortment. Lump crabmeat ravigote in an artichoke bottom. Enormous shrimp remoulade. A crab cake with a very zippy aioli. Deviled eggs. We passed this all the way around the table, and found things left to nibble on when it landed in front of me again.
Dan said that his favorite dish here lately is the veal chop. It must be. Both he and his wife ordered it. Basic preparation: grilled to a turn, sauced with a sort of marchand de vin sauce with mushrooms. He let me have a taste. It's better than most veal chops, which I find are usually too dry. Not this one.
Mary Ann and I stuck with the program and had steaks. Pat always did serve good beef, but after his five-year stint as executive chef at Ruth's Chris in Metairie, his offerings in this department are better than ever. Mary Ann's was her default: ribeye. Something went wrong. On the way back home, she said it was terrible. It looked overcooked from my perspective, but that's how MA eats beef, so I thought nothing of it. I wish she had spoken up.
On the other hand, my plate held something near the peak of steak eatery. A sirloin strip, sizzling in butter, topped with a generous slab of foie gras. I don't even want to think about the fat numbers on that. But I don't eat this every day, so I enjoyed it enormously.
I brought an old (2002) Tyrrell's Australian Shiraz, given to me years ago by Clark, the Gourmet Truck Driver. (I don't know why, but he gives me two or three very good bottles of wine a year.) This stuff was just delicious, the sharp edges shaped and rounded by seven years in the bottle. Certainly perfect for a table full of red meat.
Almond cheesecake with strawberries was a nice ending to this surfeit of goodness. I picked up the check to encourage the Scotts to invite us over to their house sometime soon. Kathy is a terrific cook, and Dan has a great music collection on top of his always-amusing banter. I have some wines I need to open.
Gallagher's Grill. Covington: 509 S Tyler. 985-892-9992.