New Orleans is chock full of awesome places to eat, but we had a particularly spectacular dinner at A Mano, on Tchopitoulas. The idea behind A Mano is that most everything is made there, by hand. But what I found truly beautiful is that we didn’t just have a lovingly hand-crafted meal, we had an experience.
We were a group of 7 business people out for dinner after a trade show. We were tired, hungry, and probably a bit wound up from our day. We got to the restaurant just as it opened, and we were probably a bit too boisterous for the other table or two, but our server, Rayne, took us gently under her wing and walked us through our orders. We ordered ricotta bruschetta, the Affettati Misti platter (sliced meats) and carpaccio. The bruschetta was creamy and lovely, and the meats were all delicious. The carpaccio was gone in a flash.
Then we moved on to the next course – there was a bit of negotiation, as we realized that we should share some items so that we could try even more of the delicious menu. I had my own pasta course – manicotti – served with a shredded pork ragu that melted in my mouth. The pasta was perfect and was topped with cheese that made a wee crust on the top. Every bite melded in my mouth like magic. Others had the Gnudi, which were a dream in sage butter, and the spaghetti carbonara which was light and beautifully flavored.
For an entree I shared the hangar steak which was impeccably, delectably cooked – an absolute dead-perfect medium rare. I’m such a steak temperature snob that I nearly weep when a restaurant gets it this right. The flavor was perfect. The wine and beverage list was lovely as well – I tried two whites and a delectable red and all were fantastic. Their selection includes some regions and varietals that are a little out of the ordinary, and priced comfortably. My only disappointment was that I ordered the cannoli for dessert – I wished I’d gotten the chocolate torte instead. I love this restaurant and highly recommend it. I can’t wait to go back!