September 21, 2015 – I hadn’t been to Mansur’s on the Boulevard in Baton Rouge in quite a while. I remembered it as a very good restaurant. So when my cousin and colleague, Genelle Parker Hughen, and I found ourselves with a couple of hours between appointments I thought she might enjoy a leisurely lunch at Mansur’s. As it turned out “enjoy” was a mild verb for what turned out to be an excellent experience.
Mansur’s has attracted a loyal group of followers since its opening in 1989. The restaurant has accomplished that by consistently serving up some of the finest Creole food you’ll find anywhere. Founder and corporate chef Tim Kringlie, chef/partner Charles Taucer IV and sibling business partners Justin and Brandon McDonald continue their tradition of supremacy into Mansur’s third decade.
We were fortunate that Courtleigh was assigned to tend our table. Courtleigh, who told us he was named for his 2x great uncle from Austin, Texas, is a professional. The kind of professional whose knowledge of food and familiarity with the menu transposes a good meal into an adventure.
I ordered a Champagne Cosmo to enjoy while we discussed the menu with Courtleigh. It’s a cocktail usually made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime topped with sparkling wine. Very similar to my all time favorite cocktail, the French 75. Refreshing on a warm day marking the fall equinox.
Mansur’s is famous for its chargrilled oysters. I thought it would be shameful to dine there without them. I ordered half a dozen. Each oyster rested comfortably in its own pool of Mansur’s special sauce. Olive oil, butter, white wine, grated Parmesan, garlic and spices that Courtleigh didn’t specify. A small portion of bread rested in the center of the dish with an additional loaf delivered for soaking up the sauce. A little lagniappe to start the meal.
Genelle doesn’t care for oysters. I suggested she try just the sauce. She tasted a bit in a spoon. I had made a mistake. The next few minutes was a race between us to see who could use the bread to soak up the most sauce.
I just can’t go back to Louisiana without having gumbo. That was next to arrive at the table. Chicken, duck and Andouille gumbo. I have always believed that I make the best gumbo in the world. I have been mistaken. Mansur’s gumbo was the best I’ve ever eaten. The roux was perfectly prepared. Consequently that wonderful roux-ness that is the base of a good gumbo permeated the bowl. A gumbo to be remembered.
Genelle ordered crepes stuffed with crab, shrimp and crawfish. I had said I wanted nothing but Louisiana food at this meal. I ordered Fettuccini Alfredo. Genelle said that didn’t sound very Louisiana to her. It is the way Mansur’s does it, I told her. Sure enough the bowl of pasta that arrived was covered with shrimp, crawfish and chunks of lump crab meat. It doesn’t get more delightful than that. It doesn’t get more Louisiana than that.
It doesn’t get more Louisiana than Mansur’s on the Boulevard.
It doesn’t get better than Mansur’s.