I was very captivated by the ambiance of the restaurant. A lot of dark browns and woods were used in decorating this restaurant but that is offset by white walls and huge windows lining the restaurant. Despite the dark colors, it was still bright and since I do not like a poorly lit restaurant that was a huge plus for me.
But, what I really liked about my experience at Criollo, is our waiter. He was funny yet professional and as attentive as they come. I was able to get that Southern hospitality which doesn't always seem to exist in New Orleans.
At Criollo, like most other restaurants, they start you off with bread but what makes theirs different, is that they serve it with three kinds of butter. Butter can't sell the bread though, so thankful the bread was actually good and fresh. The Foccacia Bread was like the really good homemade kind with actual olives in it.
My boyfriend ordered the special for the day, Chicken and Waffles. He was at first disappointed that it was Chicken breast not chicken parts but the well-seasoned, tender pieces chicken made his not think twice about that one. The Waffles were fresh but on the crunchier side. What really sold the dish was the two accompanying sauces. Instead of regular maple syrup it was their own sweet sauce along with the option of a spicier one.
I, on the other hand, ordered off the COOLinary menu and for my first course, had the Soft Shell Crab Belle Meuniere. The soft shell crab was lightly breaded and fried. Along with the brown butter sauce, onions, tomatoes and wild mushroom, it created a delectable light lunch. It was subtle but flavorful and had just the right amount of sauce that the dish didn't become soupy and the Soft Shell Crab never got soggy.
For my second course, I indulged in the White Chocolate Creme Brûlée. I was amazed by this creme brulee. It wasn't too sweet and you could distinguish the white chocolate flavor without it overpowering the dessert as a whole. The fresh fruit and the pastry shell were a great touch to an already outstanding dessert that I honestly would go there solely for.
If you cannot tell by now, I LOVED dining at Criollo. Obviously I will be back for many more times to come, but now that I have experienced New Orleans dining at Criollo Restaurant, cocktails at Carousel Bar (located just next door) are definitely in order on my next visit.
Criollo Restaurant & Lounge
214 Royal St New Orleans, LA 70130