Saturday, May 18, 2013

“Two coworkers go to lunch…

and talk about food. Again and again and again. Six years later, these two cooks turned journalists decided to go back to their career roots and realize a shared dream of opening a restaurant. The Saint Street Inn is the result of an ongoing and ever-evolving conversation about that restaurant and what it should be, about going the extra mile to pull together the best of what Acadiana has to offer: from its fresh local produce and seafood to its finest smoked meats and artisan breads and cheeses…” (

We first heard about The Saint Street Inn from Gary Paul, co-owner of 2Pauls Radically Urban Barbeque and had more than fond memories of our lunch there last year. And we remembered how busy it was during the Lafayette lunch hour which seems to run from noon to 1:00 p.m. precisely. (Is there a law mandating that all Lafayettians must eat lunch between these precise hours?) So we planned accordingly and arrived just before 1:00 to find the inside dining room almost empty, but the front porch full.
Saint Street is located on a residential street not far from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and unless you are looking for it, you might never find it. In fact, if not for the sign on the roof, you might mistake the Inn for just another residence.
The restaurant’s interior is not pretentious and could be best described as “homey.” A small bar sits along the back wall where the Inn features Louisiana-brewed beers
and the walls serve as a rotating art gallery for local artists.
“Hanging out at the Saint Street Inn, for many, is like being a part of a low-key, but quirky and fun party…. One of the things the Saint Street Inn has done well is directly connecting to the depths of community knowledge — not only about food tastes and whereabouts, but music, as well… ‘People really responded to us being determinedly local. Not only is the food local, but it really has become the neighborhood bar,’ co-owner Mary Tutwiler said.
‘People ride their bikes and bring their dogs by. I had kids the other day using the front porch as a stage. They were putting on a show. It’s fun’” (Jan Risher at

“Farm to Table” is the Inn’s operating philosophy and their website lists an impressive array of local farmers and food purveyors. “Years ago Tutwiler spent a year in France and shopped daily at local markets. She says that experience shaped her perspective on ‘the sterility of American supermarkets,’ and she wanted the new restaurant to be a testament to the difference in food that’s grown locally and eaten fresh…. Tutwiler says the Saint Street Inn’s menu ‘is driven by what walks in the door that week.’ Whether it’s fresh wild blackberry coulis that is transformed into an original mojito or a load of vegetables, Tutwiler and co-owner Nathan Stubbs and their staff have fun figuring out what they’re going to do with the bounty of South Louisiana” (Jan Risher at

While there is a somewhat set menu, every day brings with it new specials. On the day of our visit these were blackberry-watermelon lemonade, broccoli and potato soup with cheddar, shrimp remoulade salad, and a farmer’s market stir-fry. And it was with the soup that Chuck began his meal.
While I thought it could have been a bit warmer, this was still an ethereal puree of broccoli and potatoes augmented with enough cheddar to form cheese strands hanging off the spoon, but not so much to overpower the broccoli and potatoes.

He followed the soup with the Le Picnic described on the manu as a plate of sliced prosciutto and salumi, artisan cheese, seasonal fruit and vegetables, Kalamata olives, house made jam or local honey, butter, and artisan bread. The plate that arrived contained some noticeable substitutions, but these didn’t bother Chuck a bit.

The plate contained three small ramekins containing honey, pepper butter, and strawberry and pepper jelly. The meats were a very rustic duck pate and prosciutto; the cheeses were a Saint-andré (“a high (~75%) milk-fat, triple crème cow's milk French cheese in a powdery white, bloomy skin of mold…. It has a soft buttery texture, tangy edible rind, and tastes like an intense version of Brie.” []) and a manchego (“…a cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the Manchega breed…” []). And completing the plate was a small dollop of long-cooked onions—almost like an onion marmalade—that was both a bit sweet and a bit sour.

And this came with a plate of grilled bread. And I should tell you that when that plate was gone, he requested another.

I indulged in my love of mushrooms by ordering the Warm Mushroom and Lentil Salad with pan-seared Breaux Bridge shiitake, crimini, and oyster mushrooms, lentils, chevre, baby greens, and balsamic vinaigrette.
With the exception of the greens and the chevre, all components were served warm. What you don’t see beneath the mushrooms and greens is the bed of tiny lentils upon which the dish rested that were cooked until just soft and not mushy. I do think that the lentils were lacking something. Maybe salt?

The specials board listed chocolate chip cookies as the dessert, but I suspect that, given the obvious sign of something having been erased, there had been another selection that was gone by the time we arrived. So we passed on dessert.

This was a very good lunch, although not a perfect one. Still, it was worthy of 4.5 Addies.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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