Well I got back Sunday evening from 4 days in New Orleans. What a town Myself and my 5 friends (chefs) had our dinner at Commanders Palace. It's a classic Victorian, pretty but not to over the top (compared with other aspects of N.O). We we're greeted with sincere southern hospitality, thanks to Ella Brennan who was on site and dining that evening. To reach our table we we're escorted through the kitchen, which we all enjoyed as the line was pumping and you could sense the electricity that only cooks can understand. Then we went through a courtyard to reach our table in a elegant dining room. We all decided on the tasting menu which they call "The Chef's Playground" 8 courses for $85 and with the wine pairing for an additional $35. We opted for the food and wine menu.We started with an amuse of Menage A Foie. "Pan roasted "A" Foie Gras- "Gingersnap" bread pudding and sherry marinated foie gras ice cream with preserved Louisiana figs and spiced pecans. I found the Foie tepid which made it dull with the foie ice cream which was overly sweet and did not have a noticeable flavor of the liver and it was served in a tuile that also was to sweet and to thick in texture. The pecans were just strewn on the plate with no purpose. the best part of the amuse was the fig. Our first course was scallops and caviar. Hackleback, Choupique and steelhead trout caviars with cucumber ribbons, bronzed fennel and charred key lime vinaigrette. "wine, Commanders Palace cuvee, brut 1999" (Iron horse) The scallops were decent, but nothing to speak of, to cold so they lacked any sweetness inherent to a good scallop. They we're however cooked very well. The caviars I think made more of a color statement than a flavor statement. The cucumbers and fennel was nice. Second course Lobster Thermidor Ravioli. Lobster-Fleur de teche cheese ravioli with fire roasted lobster bisque. Wine,Kim Crawford, Sauvignon blanc, New Zealand 2004 The ravioli was sweet and plump with a very well made thin pasta shell. The accompanying bisque was deep in lobster flavor with a fine velvety nape. The wine sucked with this dish. To minerally and light on body to make any dent or marriage with the rich rav and bisque. It just dried everything out. Third course Black Angus beef and Oysters Prime beef carpaccio, corn fried oysters and smoked tomato-horseradish vinaigrette. Wine Berger, Gruner Veltlner, Austria, 2003 Ok, The beef was charred, excellent flavor but not a carpaccio, the oyster we're gulf raised and very creamy and a perfect cornmeal crust. all was stacked on micro greens with the vinaigrette drizzled around, but little salpicons of fresh horseradish killed any chance of the Gruner to say hello. Intermezzo "Coup de Milieu" Blood orange tequila sunrise. Nice presentation, but made no sense in it's conception, sweet and no acid. Next came the Citrus glazed yellow fin tuna Citron Fleur de sel, baby bok choy and black trumpet mushrooms (did not see any) with a meyer lemon glaze. Wine Stephan Vincent Pinot Noir, Monteray County 2003 I have no clue why this wine was chosen for this course, all I can say is it was like drinking orange juice right after you brushed your teeth, scary combo. The wine was weak with little body and the Meyer lemon glazed (which was good) sucked all the life out of the Pinot. The tuna was sweet and meaty and properly cooked but thats all I can say about that dish. I'm happy I don't play baseball for a living because I would struck out and be benched by now. Next was the Cypress smoked Muscovy duck breast breast Wine Folie a Deux. Zinfandel blend 2003. Five bean cassoulet croquette, Winter celery confit, sunny side up Quail egg and duck liver financiere. This was the best plate and wine pairing of the evening, yet cassoulet croquette and celery confit left a little to be desired as far as concept goes (just keep things real)the duck was well cooked medium rare and sliced thin. The liver financiere was warm and creamy and the wine s soft jam and black pepper spice worked well (or better than all the rest) with the dish. Brescianella cheese Wine, Marco Negri, Moscato d' asti Toasted almond fig croustade, wild cipollini onions, ruby port glaze and pepperdoux spiced pecans. Palette fatigue because nothing had assemblage in this menu and dish. (I wanted to go out and just eat oysters somewhere ) Dessert Vanilla bean custard and Atchafalaya basin honey Wine Warre's Warrior Port. What can I say, Port with custard and honey? Chef Tory Mcphail tries hard, but comes up short in to many components and the new "Wine guy" as they call "Her" is from Seattle and has a long way to go to understand this type of cuisine. So, I had a good time eating and drinking with my friends, but I cannot recommend with good conscience Commanders Palace. To Many laurels resting about.