The first evening after our arrival in NOLA we went on a long walk to find Cochon Butcher. I’d been warned that Commander’s Palace would probably slay my appetite for the rest of the day, but as five rolled around, I was ravenous. Butcher, as it turns out, is a great place to spend time when you’re very, very hungry.
My introduction to boudin started the meal. Of all the boudin we tried during our trip, this was by far my favorite, even over the devilishly conceived fried boudin balls we encountered in a few places. The boudin at Butcher is creamy and the accompaniments are perfect. We followed it up with a delicious duck prosciutto slider and some pancetta mac and cheese. It was at this point in the meal that I remembered to check my notes and discovered that part of the reason we’d come were the bacon pralines. I went up the counter and asked and got the very bad news that they’d sold out of them for the day around lunchtime.
I moped back to the table and drowned my sorrows with the croque monsieur with country ham and melted leeks. I love pork in all its many forms, but this was my first introduction to the lovely, almost buttery kind that is country ham. We then tore into the pork belly sandwich which was tasty, though it could have been rendered a bit more for my tastes.
As we prepared to end the meal with a PB & J cookie, the manager wandered our direction. As it turned out, a catering order was over an hour late picking up and, as a result, she said with a grin, I can let you have these. And she presented me with an entire box of pralines. “How many would you like?” I thought I was being grateful when I said we’d take the entire box.
As it turned out, I was the one who was being treated. It’s a horse race between these and the rum pralines at Southern Candymakers for my favorite pralines of all time. Not only are they buttery, sweet, and have beautiful whole pecans in them, but I suspect that the porky additions to the standard form of praline isn’t all that’s going on. Given how long they stayed soft and the extra unctuous mouth feel, I’m pretty sure they substitute some bacon fat for some of the butter that normally makes up a praline. I wholeheartedly approve.
I’ll be posting a review of Cochon at some point and we had a pretty bad customer experience there. Despite that, I would return to Butcher without hesitation. They went out of their way to take care of us and the food was second to none.