225's Secret Diners
by 225's Secret Diners
Friday, July 1, 2011
Maison Lacour offers classic French cuisine in an intimate cottage setting.
It seems only natural that a restaurant as traditional and stoic as Maison Lacour would succeed long enough to celebrate a silver anniversary. Marking 25 years of crafting authentic French cuisine in Baton Rouge, Maison Lacour has become an icon of disciplined and refined dining. Eschewing most regional Cajun-French influences, proprietors Eva Jetty and Chef Michael Jetty revel in the nuance and novelty of European classicism. This is not your typical menu of crawfish étouffée and blackened catfish.
Indeed, these recipes and cooking methods were passed down to Michael Jetty from his mother-in-law, Jacqueline Greaud, who was raised in France and opened Maison Lacour in 1986. A decadent Soupe Jacqueline with cream of Brie, crabmeat and asparagus is a tribute to the restaurant’s founder and stands proudly beside Canard du Chef, a broiled duck breast with cranberry sauce, Côte de Veau, a veal chop with cognac flambé, Crêpes Suzette, and other French dishes.
Scroll down to find out what our secret diners thought of Maison Lacour.
The Cajun Carb King
Spicy and substantial is where I’m at.
Escargots ($11.95). Each served in its own cup of awesomeness, these tasty garden dwellers topped with delicious garlic butter kicked off our meal just right.
John’s Favorite ($31.95). The holy trinity: a filet, shrimp and lump crabmeat each served with its own sauce. Together they form a perfect collection of flavors, but the buttery pastry shell filled with lump crabmeat is enough of a treat to carry the entire entree. John’s Favorite will certainly be yours as well.
Maison Chocolate Cake ($6). The description had me at “very dense.” If hardcore chocolate is where you’re at, you’ve found your dessert here. This is smooth, rich and delicious.
Not my taste: Soupe Jacqueline ($8.95). The brie, crabmeat and asparagus present a subtle medley of flavors that didn’t quite do it for me. Certainly the crabmeat was nice, but the combination was enough for me not to order this particular soup again. Next time I’d go with the Bisque a l’Orange.
The bottom line:
I can’t say enough about the ambiance of Maison LaCour. The quaint tables in this comfortable home-like setting transport you to the continent. Each dish was a delicious treat, and I look forward to exploring the menu further, as I know it will now rank among my favorite dining experiences in the city.
The Home-Grown Romantic
I like food hunted last week or just pulled from the dirt.
Venison with Grilled Apple and Three-mustard Sauce ($13.95). The zest and texture of the deer sausage paired perfectly with the sweet, perfectly grilled apple and bite of mustard. I was tempted to lick the plate.
John’s Favorite ($31.95). A grilled 4-oz. filet with Béarnaise sauce, jumbo lump crab in pastry with Hollandaise sauce and shrimp with garlic butter sauce. Whew. This veritable symphony of textures and tastes was delightful even to someone who usually goes for less-than-fussy, free-standing fare. Bravo to the chef.
Chocolate Mousse ($5). The best mousse finds its bliss somewhere between liquid chocolate and stiff peaks. The challenge is catching and then holding that delicate whip. This one didn’t disappoint, and it clearly started with very fine, silky cacao.
Not my taste: Asparagus Crêpes ($13.95). I was excited to try the vegetarian menu because it’s so rare in Baton Rouge. Impressed that the hostess could tell me where the chef purchased his asparagus, I really wanted to fall in love with this dish. Ultimately, though, the high-quality asparagus, while perfectly blanched, seemed to be drowning in its heavy, one-note sauce and a thick crêpe.
The bottom line:
Maison Lacour has a beautiful ambiance that enhances conversation and romance. Tucked off the beaten path, we couldn’t help but feel we’d discovered a hidden treasure, though we’d have loved to see a garden growing behind the establishment. A love of both Louisiana and France is evident throughout the menu, which features a creative array of the familiar and the exotic.
The Global Diner
If it’s ethnic, it ought to be good.
Artichoke Heart ($14.95). My son took the first bite and nearly claimed the entire appetizer his personal domain. The heart was covered in lump crabmeat—and I emphasize “lump”—and bathed in a light, citrusy and delicious Hollandaise sauce.
Mignon d’Agneau ($30.95). Sometimes lamb is much too gamy or gristly. This is lamb done right—a tenderloin rolled in herbs de Provence then baked to a pink medium-rare, thin sliced and served with a mild horseradish sauce. I am a lamb fan, and I’ve had some darn good examples in New Zealand and Turkey. This dish is easily right up there with the best.
Lemon Soufflé ($9). My first bite of the airy soufflé and the slightly crusty top covered in a field of snowy powdered sugar sent me back to my youth, sitting at the kitchen table drinking milk and eating iced lemon cookies with my grandfather. Make sure to order it with your entrees, since it requires 30 minutes prep time.
Not my taste: Crevettes Baton Rouge ($27.95). Everything my party tried I would order again, but if forced to tell you to avoid something, I’d say skip the crevettes. This dish of shrimp in a spicy cream sauce over angel hair was tasty, but as one of my companions noted, too salty. I am nitpicking here.
The bottom line:
I never knew Maison Lacour existed. It’s on a side of town opposite from where I live. But I’m glad that oversight has been rectified. This is excellent date-night dining, or the place to celebrate a graduation, anniversary or birthday. The ambiance is comforting, the wine list is passable, and the French-inspired cuisine is certainly some of the best in Baton Rouge.
"Maison Lacour has a beautiful ambiance that enhances conversation and romance. Tucked off the beaten path, we couldn’t help but feel we’d discovered a hidden treasure..."