Mulate's New Orleans

The dining experience at Mulate's (I'm told its pronounced MOO-lahts), on the corner of Convention Center Blvd. and Julia Street in New Orleans, is so nice you'll want to eat there twice. That's what I did Saturday night on my arrival in New Orleans. And don't skip dessert!

From the outside, the restaurant appears to take up an entire block, and there's plenty of room inside. The restaurant has a large open floor plan with plenty of seating, a dance floor and space for live music. The music and dancing heated up around 7 p.m. Saturday, but the food was good all night. Mulate's is a casual dining experience anyone with a taste for New Orleans cuisine should enjoy.

My first meal, around 6 p.m., started with an appetizer cup of seafood gumbo which included shrimp, crab meat and crawfish tails ($5.99 per cup, $10.99 per bowl) which was just right after I spiced it up with a bit if hot sauce. Mulate's also had a zydeco gumbo which consisted of shrimp, chicken, sausage and okra. The gumbo was served with the rice on the side.

The menu had a bevy of eclectic appetizers, including frog legs, meat pies, and shrimp remoulade. There were also several more conventional apps such as bite size catfish, fried or grilled oysters, crab claws and crawfish tails. The portions sizes seemed average, at least for an overfed nation like ours.

For my entrée, figuring you can't go wrong with the house special, I chose Catfish Mulate's ($19.99). This consisted of a seasoned catfish fillet topped with Mulate's crawfish etouffeé, with jambalaya, sautéed vegetables, and a twice-baked potato all on the side. The combination of catfish and crawfish etouffeé was excellent, and the jambalaya was the best of the sides, though all were good.

Also popular is the Cajun seafood platter ($19.99 fried, more if grilled) consisting of stuffed crab, fried crawfish tails, fried shrimp, fried catfish, and fresh fried oysters. This wonderland of fried delights came with jambalaya and french fries. You could also get the platter grilled for a little extra.

My first meal was capped with a fudge pecan brownie a la mode which filled the plate (and later my stomach) topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. If you're one who likes that sort of thing (you know who you are) then this dessert will not disappoint. The prices for desserts and drinks weren't given, but Mulate's wasn't giving those away for free. The bread pudding and caramel cheesecake were also vouched for by dining companions.

As if timed specifically for our meal, the band and dancing started up as we finished our desserts around 7 p.m. The music and dancing only enhanced the atmosphere, and wasn't so loud as to overpower conversation even at a table right near the stage. (See video posted below)

The alligator appetizer, which I tried later ($9.99, plus $1.99 for blackened) while out with a group of sports writers, was popular all around the table with my dining group, and it came with a tasty remoulade dipping sauce. I finally stopped eating after a cup of crawfish etouffeé which was almost as good by itself as it was when topping the catfish.

I wasn't alone in enjoying Mulate's. A group of University of Alabama athletics department staff including Athletics Director Mal Moore, also took in the dining and atmosphere and left with smiling faces.

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