I'd heard about Brennan's since I was young. My dad took a family trip to New Orleans when he was young. More than once he talked about that trip and quoted their cabby, who when asked where to eat in New Orleans, said, "You don't eat in New Orleans. You put your feet under the table and dine!" Dad often told me how wonderful Brennan's was. For him, Brennan's set the standard for Hollandaise sauce that mine would be judged by.
Brennan's is in an old French Quarter mansion on Rue Royale, my favorite street to stroll in the Quarter.
The decor and place settings were as fancy as at August. Definitely a champagne breakfast sort of place. My waiter was O'Keefe. I knew what I wanted to order before I even arrived at the restaurant.
First, I had the New Orleans Turtle Soup. It was dark and thick and rich, and then O'Keefe poured a good shot of sherry on top of it, and it looked even better.
Next I had the Eggs Hussarde. The menu described it thus: (A Brennan's Original) One of the dishes that put "Breakfast at Brennan's" on the map. Poached eggs atop Holland rusks, Canadian bacon, and Marchand de Vin sauce. Topped with Hollandaise sauce.
Not one, but two French sauces! I try to be ambitious in the kitchen, but even though the recipe for Eggs Hussarde is on Brennan's website, I doubt I'll ever attempt it. It would take me all morning to make and still wouldn't be half as good as what they served me.
I finished up with the most fun course, Bananas Foster for dessert. This is the place they invented Bananas Foster! If you don't know about it, watch this clip from the Food Network:
O'Keefe brought the pan with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and sliced bananas over to the table to show me. Then he stepped over to the cart and put the pan over a flame to melt the sugar and bananas. He added the banana liqueur and quietly said he'd tell me when it was time to get the camera ready for the flambé. He poured the rum in and tilted the pan to catch the flame.
The flame went higher than his head. After the mixture cooked a moment and the flame died away, he poured the pan's contents over vanilla ice cream. The hot caramel melted the ice cream a bit, and the texture of the ice cream, soft bananas, and syrupy sugar was divine.
I don't know if it was the sentimentality of the connection to my dad at Brennan's or because it was my last meal in New Orleans, but the food at Brennan's was my favorite. I didn't eat again until the next day. This was a breakfast of champions indeed.