Rich cake from a hundred year old famous New Orleans restaurant: Café Sbisa.
From Denny: Louisiana loves good food and New Orleans loves good food and tradition, especially when it comes to venerated restaurants of culinary celebration.
The world renown restaurant was first opened back in 1899 with the Sbisa family, changed hands a few times over the century and found its way back into the family.
Located across from the French Market in what was once the financial district of New Orleans is now an historic building erected in 1820 as a ship's chandler on the lower floors. The family residence occupied the upper floors as was a common practice for the owner to "live over the store."
Originally catering to seafarers, even as a bank for sailors where they could park their pay. Of course, there was the usual brothel upstairs for inquiring minds.
Fast forward to today and the restaurant gave up its once wicked ways and now serves some wickedly good Creole food - contemporary as well as the classic cuisine.
This flourless chocolate cake is adapted from one Chef Hogh's grandmother used to make when he was a child. Many of his recipes at Café Sbisa's are from his childhood like gumbo, crawfish bisque and fabulous sweet potato bread pudding. "The kitchen was the most fascinating room in the house for me," he says.
Some of his other menu creations:
Oysters Sbisa showcases lightly crisped Gulf oysters tossed in an essence of Pernod over creamed spinach with Applewood smoked bacon.
Stuffed eggplant is half of a Japanese aubergine, roasted down with a bit of miso, then stuffed with duck confit cooked until it falls off the bone, with a melted foie béchamel and basil pesto.
The seared Hudson Valley foie gras is served with a rhubarb apple chutney and green tomato marmalade and croustades.
From the appetizer menu are steamed mussels in white wine butter with capers and shallots, fresh dill and a side order of crusty pommes frites. Try sautéed veal sweetbreads with wild mushrooms, onions, crispy prosciutto and sherry butter.
An unusual salad combination offered here is seared scallop with greens, almonds and dried tomato vinaigrette.
The smoked duck and andouille gumbo is a Creole classic. The ducks are smoked on the premises on Café Sbisa’s patio. The they drip off much of the fat before being adding the duck to the dish.
Try Hogh's new Creole style soup which is a red wine crab bisque. He makes it with the liquid from crabs that were deglazed with a bit of red wine, seafood stock, crabmeat, seasonings and a bit of cream.
Tasty entrées include a cold smoked, then breaded and fried soft shell crab. Try a pan roasted fresh Gulf fish over a black-eyed pea ragout. Or how about a glazed semi-boneless Louisiana quail stuffed with pecan Chorizo wild rice over a sweet potato mash. Or get adventurous and try a vol-au-vent filled with exotic mushrooms and Madiera cream.
He makes a mean bouillabaisse with Gulf Shrimp, fish, mussels and scallops in a savory saffron-tinged broth. Do you enjoy roasted rabbit leg? Prefer scallops? Hogh makes seared diver scallops with wild mushroom ragout and roasted corn grits. His New York strip steak is paired with a Stilton mornay sauce. Upscale Creole is a Gulf shrimp epice’ which is jumbo BBQ style shrimp in a spicy andouille cream around a focaccia biscuit.
From some of his evening specials were a grilled trout on a wilted apple and celery slaw with fig butter' escargots Bordelaise; and marinated wild mushrooms with truffle oil and shaved granna padano.
Hogh's desserts include the chocolate sin cake featured here, the sweet potato bread pudding, a coconut tart, crème brulée and a cheese plate.
From Chef Hogh: "With a place like Café Sbisa in the French Quarter that is as locally known and venerated, I want to cultivate the aspects that people always loved about it: an approachable menu and staff, a good casual dining experience; and friendly pricing."
If you plan to visit New Orleans and want to experience this wonderful historic restaurant with creative contemporary Creole food along with the tasty classics:
1011 Decatur St.
New Orleans, La
Open Wednesday—Sunday 5:30 pm to 1 am.
Closed Monday & Tuesday
Most cards accepted. Reservations recommended but not necessary.
Chocolate Sin Cake
From: Chef Glen Hogh at Café Sbisa
2 lbs. chocolate chips
1 1/3 lb. butter
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
Heat chocolate and butter (chunks) in double boiler. Combine sugar and water in a sauté pan and simmer until dissolved, combine with chocolate mixture. Blend until smooth, then remove from heat. Whisk eggs lightly, avoiding excessive air. Gently combine egg and chocolate mixtures.
Using 2 loaf pans lined with parchment, pour cake mix about 1 ½ inch thick. Place pans into a large roasting pan. Place in oven and fill the pan with water being careful not to float the cake pans. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours. Remove and let cool.
Refrigerate to remove from parchment, slice prior to service.
At Café Sbisa, we whip 1 teaspoon finely ground espresso with heavy cream and powdered sugar and top the cake. Add berries and a mint sprig for garnish.
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