Dave and I went to the soft opening of a new restaurant here in New Orleans: Mondo owned by chef Susan Spicer. The restaurant is in Lakeview and is a family friendly pizza and New Orleans' food joint. Formerly home to Lago's, the new decor is light and friendly with light wood and soft greens and beiges. The decor is classy with a nod to its family low-key dining. One side of the restaurant is still given over to the bar area and the back opens up to a brick, wood-fired pizza oven. We sat in a booth and only brought our littlest family member with us. Issa promptly charmed the entire waitstaff, took a bottle during appetizers and slept till dessert. (Angel baby.)
Dave and I tried two starters: the steak tartare and the fried eggplant with aioli. The steak was delicious and came with thinly sliced potato chips lightly salted to counter the sweetness of the steak. The eggplants were lightly breaded, perfect for dipping in the creamy sauce.
We also had to try one of their pizzas. Below is the traditional basil, tomato and mozzarella. The basil was fresh and the crust was thin and crunchy around the edges. This size makes a pizza doable as an appetizer as well as a main dish.
For our main dishes, I got the braised duck leg on a turnip cake. I have never even heard of a turnip cake, but it was delicious. It was kind of like a flavored tofu cake. The kale with the duck was cooked wonderfully, and the duck itself was juicy and sweetly flavored. It fell right off the bone.
Dave got the fish of the day, drum. It was plump and tender and came with chunky potato wedges. The fish was cooked in a muddy water sauce, which kept the flavor of the fish and was not overpowering.
For dessert, I had the cinnamon beignets with a yogurt, honey and nut dip. We had to get it to go due to the baby getting fussy, but at home they were light and slightly sugared. None of the meal was too heavy, so we left feeling satisfied and not uncomfortably stuffed.
Two starters, two main dishes, one pizza, dessert, a cappuccino and a bottle of Pellegrino ran us about 85.00. They are definitely offering affordable meals that are still delicious and New Orleans' inspired.
The one detraction was that by the end of the meal the combination of the sun setting through the windows next to our booth and the fire in the oven made the room very warm. Most of the A/C was going out the two doors, one by the bar and one by the dining room. The baby got fussy, and we had to go sit in the car to cool off. They need to crank it up in there. It was loud as well due to the low ceiling and the close proximity between the main dining area and the large bar area. Dave found the booths uncomfortable as well, so we'll probably grab a table next time.
The wait staff and other staff were all very friendly and seemed to really be excited about the new place. We will certainly be back to try the rest of the menu. The kids have a great selection on their menu as well, so we will bring the other two next time and see how they like it.
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