Okay, true, it’s not a cheap eats, but since it was one of my best friend’s birthday and my mom was in town, you gotta splurge once in a while (or eat here when someone else is paying). Orsay in Riverside/Avondale is one of the best restaurants overall in Jax, but expect to pay for it. However, during happy hour, they have drink specials (one can try their famous pear jalapeño margarita for half price) that also includes appetizers for $5 and up. So if a restaurant is out of your budget, you can have a happy hour cocktail and a couple of appetizers to sample their food. Some appetizers are so big, you get pretty full already.
Eating light was not on the agenda that Friday night however. With a table of 10 ravenous foodies who all purposely ate little during the day to indulge that night, we barked our appetizer orders once sat along with our drink orders. (We scared the waiter, I think). I order the cucumber lemon zest martini (because that sounded so refreshing) that was beautifully executed, but was a bit too cucumbery for me. Laura ordered the French pear martini that she said was very good. Next up, my escargot appetizer (slippery little suckers), my mom had the roasted corn bisque (that was amazing, slightly sweet, roasty, comforting soup), Cathy (the birthday girl) has French onion soup, and Laura & Tom had the fried pork belly special appetizer. Escargot was classic and special, just as I remember in Paris. Laura & Tom enjoyed their pork belly so much, it didn’t even make the photo! Cathy loved her French onion soup, but thought Bistro Aix’s was better (her hunt for the best French onion soup review is coming here soon).
Conversation rolling, appetizer plates cleared, we moved onto to our main courses. I ordered the famous duck breast with lentils, bacon, parsnip puree, and crispy parsnips, my mom ordered the Carolina trout, Cathy and Laura, the burger with foie gras and red onion marmalade, Mike ordered the croque madame, and Marian ordered Prince Edward Island mussels with fries. The verdict? Everyone was ecstatic their meals were all perfection; much sharing was going around, and as our bellies expanded, so did our smiles. Not a simple complaint.
It’s not over yet though. We ordered chocolate pear terrine, chocolate expresso torte, and creme brulee. Trying all three among the table, each dessert was unique and specially delicious; the torte was not overly sweet and very rich. Creme brulee was the best that I have ever had, and the pear terrine was so light, refreshing, and airy. Overall, a perfect dinner, amazing conversation (mostly about food given the company we were in included two 1st place chili competition winners), and a fulfilled birthday wish. Try this place if you can, you will not be disappointed!