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Cochon

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930 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70195

December 30, 2011

I’ve been thinking about this review for over a month now making sure that I was being fair.

The food was a mixed bag for us. The fried rabbit liver with pepper jelly was beyond awesome and I nearly ordered another plate of it immediately after the first bite. The fried boudin balls were good, though I preferred the ones we had at lunch at Boucherie more. The Louisiana pork was mildly disappointing – I’d had better pulled pork many times before at 1/4 the price and our cracklins were missing the crack and were kind of flabby. My wife loves mac and cheese and all three of us really loved the pancetta-studded version at Butcher, so we figured it would be a no brainer here. Nope, as it turns out, not great.

Dessert was further down the scale still. The hummingbird cake was dry and rather unpleasant. The pineapple upside-down cake was pretty unremarkable and pairing it with a lime sorbet emphasized all the wrong notes of the dulce and the pineapple.

And then there was the service, which was uniformly bad. I called from the hotel to let them know that we’d be a few minutes late. “No promises,” the front of house said. “Our reservations are full tonight.” So we scooped up my sleeping daughter into the stroller and started running. As the time for the reservation crept closer and we hadn’t yet arrived, my wife told me to run on ahead. I was glad to see lots of people out walking on Tchoupitoulas or I wouldn’t have really dared.

I arrived, on the verge of out of breath, to find a restaurant that wasn’t half full. Now, had I called and said “we’re going to be an hour late,” I would get making a point of not intending to hold our reservation on a Friday night. But by the time we finished eating, the restaurant still wasn’t even approaching full. I’d fully explained that I had a sleeping kid that was possibly going to make us late. Why not cut us some slack?

Our server started out charming and ended up absent. He walked us through the menu and made a few recommendations, and the food got out to us in short order. When it came time to get a check, though, he disappeared for 45 minutes. My poor daughter, 30 minutes short on her nap (my fault) and having put on her party manners at some fairly upscale establishments over the past week, absolutely lost it about ten minutes into that 30 and my wife left to return to the hotel for her. I watched our server flit around the room, taking drink orders and flirting with the ladies for the rest of the 20 minutes before he returned with the ARE YOU KIDDING DID WE REALLY SPEND THAT MUCH check. I’m not one to often tip below 20%, but between the reservation static and making me wait so that he could run up people’s bar tabs, I was feeling punitive.

This was our last night in NOLA. Earlier in the trip, I’d almost bought a shirt at Butcher but figured, since Cochon was around the corner, that I’d return and grab it after we ate. Sadly, the Cochon experience colored Butcher enough that I left without the shirt. I’ll skip Cochon next time and camp at Butcher instead for half the price and better food.

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