Digging In: ‘Chinese menu’ chilled jellyfish still proves spicy-hot

Photo by Ian McNulty - Jelly fish salad at Jung's Golden Dragon.
Photo by Ian McNulty - Jelly fish salad at Jung's Golden Dragon.

WILDCARD

Jellyfish Salad

Jung’s Golden Dragon

3009 Magazine St., (504) 891-8280

jungsgoldendragonii.com

Jung’s is part of a small circuit of New Orleans-area restaurants serving a “Chinese menu” with dishes more akin to traditions of the old country than Chinese-American standards.

If these menus aren’t on the table, ask for one and look for the jellyfish ($8.95) under cold appetizers. Cooked down to little ribbons, the chilled jellyfish itself is slippery but still crunchy, like pickled onions, and carries a mild marine flavor.

The dominant flavor, however, is garlic, strewn across this hefty salad in great abundance.

UPSCALE

Goat Cheese Crouton

Bayona

430 Dauphine St., (504) 525-4455; bayona.com

Despite its humble-sounding name, the goat cheese crouton ($10) has become an essential appetizer at Bayona, and for good cause.

Built on multigrain bread cut into triangles, and looking almost homey, the balance of flavors and contrast of textures running through this dish quickly add up to a seductively elegant whole. Capped with the sour tang of broiled goat cheese, the crisped bread provides a durable foundation.

Mushrooms, usually a mix of shitake and oyster varieties, are slivered and enveloped in the Madeira sauce, with the dry, fortified wine’s nutty flavor breathing through rich cream sauce.

CASUAL

Bangers and Mash

The Burning Bush (at the Holy Ground Irish Pub)

3340 Canal St., (504) 821-6828

Walk into any given pub in Ireland, and you’ll likely find customary Irish dishes sharing the menu with an assortment of comfort food from lots of other places.

So it goes at this Mid-City Irish pub, where a tavern kitchen called the Burning Bush serves falafel next to fish and chips. But still, it was the very traditional bangers and mash ($10), served without fuss in a disposable foil pan, that fit the bill one recent night.

The bangers (Irish sausage) were produced locally and proved plump and slightly sweet, like a breakfast link, thanks to an aromatic blend of allspice, clove and nutmeg.

Meanwhile, the fluffy mashed potatoes under a sea of mild brown gravy made a nice soft landing spot for a few pints.

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.