Go for the Sazerac or the "barbecue shrimp" (Mr. B's Bistro, New Orleans)

I was put off by my first Sazerac a few years back.  I tried one from someplace listed in a guidebook as a "must"---selling them out of a window on Bourbon Street, if I recall---plastic cup, lots of ice, not much whisky---confirmation of rule no. 1 for a visit to New Orleans ("stay away from Bourbon Street").

But I finally decided to risk it again, and it turned out OK.  Actually better than OK.  Mr. B's Bistro is not my top restaurant in New Orleans, but I end up there fairly frequently if the crowds on d'Iberville make oysters at one of the places there impossible, especially if I'm with a bunch of colleagues who just want to eat and aren't going to be into a long meal at someplace like Bayona or Stella!.  And sure enough, my meal there this time was highlighted by the excellent company---pragmatist quantum mechanic Chris Fuchs, category-theoretic quantum sculptor Bob Coecke, and epistemic game theorist Adam Brandenburger---rather than the food.  (My shrimp and grits were decent, but the grits too garlicky and over-flavored and the bacon-wrapped shrimp nowhere near as flavorful---except for the bacon---as the ones at Herbsaint, while an appetizer of fried oysters on the half-shell with beurre blanc  would have been better as just a straight pile of fried oysters.  Bob liked his barbecue shrimp, though (which I've also thoroughly enjoyed there on other occasions), and Adam his fish.  But anyway, while waiting for dinner, an extremely tall, distinguished Southern gentleman bartender made me a Sazerac---the drink identified with New Orleans, made from Sazerac rye whisky, bitters, simple syrup, the glass rinsed with Herbsaint liqueur or some other Pernod-like liqueur, or absinthe in the old days.  Truly tasty---no skimping on the high quality whisky.  I had two decent Sazeracs over the next few days---the better of the two at the Napoleon House bar, a more mediocre but still quite drinkable one at Pravda (standard bar for Bob Coecke and crew on their New Orleans visits, slightly odd Soviet/Goth decor, but quiet enough for conversation).   So, if you too end up seeking refuge in Mr. B's from the roiling masses queueing for oysters or for a seat at the Redfish Grill, just have a Sazerac and enjoy sitting or standing at the long wooden bar with brass rails---then try the barbecue shrimp, complete with bib, if you're staying to eat.  "Barbecue shrimp" isn't barbecued---it comes in a bowl full of butter, spicy sauce, and you eat it with your hands, soaking up the sauce with bread.  I don't think I've had it elsewhere for comparison, but Mr. B's was plenty tasty both times I had it there.

2 thoughts on “Go for the Sazerac or the "barbecue shrimp" (Mr. B's Bistro, New Orleans)

  1. OK, Bob, now I have to just so nobody gets the wrong idea. I guess after Mr. B's we went to Pravda, but I don't think I had two Sazeracs in one night. Or did I? Could be.

    And thence to the Dungeon. In brief: Pabst blue ribbon, $2 a bottle. I had one, and it was pretty good for a $2 beer.

    Oh yeah, and straight Goth decor and (mostly) clientele. Not quiet enough for conversation. Quite an interesting scene to observe, not as wild as I might have thought a goth/metal bar a few doors off Bourbon street might be, but wild enough and apparently it was a slow night. And a good chance to hear heavy metal music the way it is supposed to be .... LOUD!!!

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