When Audley and I were mapping out what all we would do while traveling for eight days back in June we knew that while New Orleans was on our path, it really wasn’t an option for a stay with his work schedule. Trying to keep as close to schedule as possible and still maximize our time we picked an option that allowed us to enjoy a taste of NOLA and still make our hotel reservation in Mississippi.
The Red Maple, actually located in Gretna, just outside of New Orleans on the West Bank, is a unique restaurant as it began in a house (to which it is still attached) in 1963 and has expanded over the years as a hidden treasure in the area. It has been owned and operated by several generations of the Trauth family all of these years, a family that has EIGHT
generations of restaurant owners! There is a wall showcasing the family through the years. It truly make dining at the Red Maple a more personal experience.
The Red Maple has lunch and supper service with extensive menus for both. There is also a children’s menu available, although I’m not real sure that I would bring children in for supper as the atmosphere is truly geared for the adult diner.
We arrived early for dinner (just as they were opening for the evening meal) thanks to storms shortening our afternoon at Oak Alley Plantation, which gave me the opportunity to snap plenty of pictures and enjoy impeccable service from the waitstaff at Red Maple.
I loved the decor… copper pitchers and lanterns hanging from the wooden rafters helped create a warm environment.
Tables set for the crowd that would soon fill the space in the main dining room. There are also private rooms and banquet spaces available for groups and a full-service bar with a knowledgable and fun bar tender.
Despite our original reservation being for later in the evening, the maitre de was able to sit us immediately for supper. Our drink orders were quickly filled and fresh house baked bread and butter were brought to our table.
I don’t think my tea glass was less than half full all evening!
Along with a simply amazing blue cheese wedge salad (which I totally forgot to shoot) we started off our meal with a jumbo shrimp cocktail and charbroiled oysters. I absolutely love seafood, especially when fresh is definitely and option.
We were not disappointed at all.
For his main course, Audley ordered the house speciality; Redfish Pontchartrain is a pan-seared fillet topped with lump crabmeat and mushroom-sherry cream.
I cannot begin to describe the richness and flavor of this dish, but next time we are in the area, this is what I am ordering!
Since I was
enjoying a cheat night choosing to splurge a little for supper, I went for the Crawfish ravioli which consisted of Breaded Ravioli Stuffed with Pepper Jack Cheese Over Angel Hair Pasta with a Creamy Crawfish Sauce.
Oh. My. Goodness.
It was absolutely delicious and full of that Creole/Cajun flavor that I was totally looking for when I knew we would be having supper in New Orleans.
Even though we were very early for our reservation, our waiter, nor anyone else in the restaurant made us feel as if we had “messed up” their evening. We found the staff at the Red Maple to be very accommodating and friendly, eager to please their customers.
We left very full and satisfied with the grand meal that we most definitely overindulged in!
After you have enjoyed all of this deliciously rich food, you can take an evening walk through the historic Hook & Ladder cemetery right behind the restaurant.
I know it seems rather creepy, but the above ground mausoleums tell stories you cannot find just anywhere. The Hook and Ladder cemetery was first established in 1859 in Gretna. Buried here is the first mayor of Gretna as well as the first victim of a skirmish between the United States and Mexico.
Some of these tombs are quite simple, while others are elaborate monuments made of marble to honor the memory of those they hold.
Reading all of the names on the monuments was a piece of history in itself as there was such a mixture of French and Spanish names which were the foundation of the Creole/Cajun peoples of Louisiana. But it was also interesting that there were a number of Germanic names inscribed as well.
Multiple generations can be found in many of the tombs; what I consider a unique tribute to each of the families. It’s as if they have always been close and united.
Since I was just talking food, I won’t explain how so many generations can fit into a space that seems so small, but it is quite interesting I assure you!
When reading up on the cemetery I discovered while a Catholic tradition, the locals still spend the last week of October cleaning the cemetery, painting and polishing the mausoleums and participate in the laying of fresh flowers on the graves on All Saints Day; November 1.
It is just ingrained as a part of the culture now.
Truly it was a wonderful and peaceful sunset walk with Audley.
If you plan a trip to New Orleans in the near future, add the Red Maple to your list of “must-do’s”.
Red Maple Restaurant
1036 Lafayette Street
Gretna, Louisiana 70053
phone: (504) 367-0935
And, don’t forget to check out the Hook and Ladder Cemetery right behind the restaurant to walk off your dinner!
You’ll be so glad that you took the time to visit New Orleans’ West Bank!