Reveillon at the Columns Hotel

Christmas Eve was delightful…what with great friends and fabulous food! I got together with several friends at the Columns Hotel for a Reveillon dinner. Reveillon is an event carried over from New Orleans’ Creole families of the 1800’s. Families would fast on Christmas Eve until after Midnight Mass at St. Louis Cathedral, when they would then have their Reveillon, or awakening.

Dinner began at 6pm and upon our arrival, we were greeted by the maitre’d, who poured us water and asked if we were ready for service, to which we replied with a resounding “Yes, please!” I have never had the opportunity to attend a prix fixe meal. The choices were stimulating and left my palate desperate to dine.

My first course was a turtle soup with dry sherry. I have had mock turtle soup before and I think that this was the real deal. Chunks of tender meat were bathing in a tangy and mildly spicy base. My palate was then revitalized with a fried green tomato salad on a bed of mixed greens with feta cheese and a reduced balsamic vinaigrette. The tomatoes were firm and the breading was light enough to showcase the hearty taste of the tomatoes.

For my entree, I chose a pan-seared atlantic salmon with a citrus glaze served over a butternut squash risotto with organic green peas. The meal was also accompanied by a side of grilled asparagus. The citrus glaze on the salmon was light enough to complement the fish without being too sweet. Though I have seen risotto prepared many times, I have never had the pleasure of tasting it. As I said, the dish was a butternut squash risotto with organic peas. It was a delight to my palate. The texture of the rice was similar to that of an al dente pasta and my mouth was greeted by its creamy texture and I was left with a buttery afterthought.

Because I was with friends, we all traded samples. The Osso Bucco was a delight. It was served in a light tomato broth with celery root and potato dumplings. This dish can be served with a variety of meats including veal shank or lamb. I am not sure what the Columns used, but the meat was falling apart on my fork. Tender and juicy and the dumplings were similar to hush puppies. However they were much lighter in batter with a much bolder flavor, light and airy…fabulous!

For dessert, everyone at the table had cheesecake but me. I opted for the New Orleans Bread Pudding with whiskey sauce. It was simple. A few raisins, some cinnamon and spice. And I rounded out the evening with a glass of Southern Comfort eggnog.

All in all, Reveillon was a success and a delight. The food, service and company were spectacular!

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