Tucked away, slightly off the main road leading to the French Quarters, is a small boutique hotel – Catahoula. Rustic in charm, with multiple outdoor communal areas, Catahoula is host to a Peruvian bar and an Asian themed vegan restaurant.
On a recent trip to New Orleans, my husband Scott and I decided to check out this seemingly unusual venue. I mean, how many times are we going to come across another vegan-Peruvian-Asian fusion restaurant?
With open minds and growing hunger, we arrived at Piscobar around 7:00 p.m. and were immediately pleasantly surprised by the ambiance. Exposed brick, vintage furnishings, and white and black tile flooring lead us to a small bar boasting six or so stools.
Slipping into the two chairs adjacent to the front window, the bartender – who also played the role of host and server – greeted us with enthusiasm. Notifying him this was our first time at Piscobar and that we were looking for vegan dishes, he began to guide us through the sharing menu.
Once through his spiel, he informed us that three out of the six items listed were sold out. Slightly disappointed, we proceeded to order the only three items available – Night Market Dumplings, Sweet Potato Dumplings, and Stuffed Baozi.
With our menu items ordered and drinks in hand, we headed to the rooftop patio. The alfresco space emitted a relaxed desert vibe, decorated with patterned rugs, string lights, and various arid plants.
Sinking into our cushioned love seat to enjoy our drinks and each other’s company, I noticed something unusual about my husband’s drink. He ordered the traditional Peruvian drink, Pisco Sour. While not at all strange for this Peruvian staple to adorn an egg white whip, it was quite unusual for a vegan restaurant to be serving eggs.
As I knew I would be writing a review of this restaurant, I wanted to make sure I got my facts straight. So I headed back downstairs, three flights, to inquire about the “white foam” – was it egg whites or as I hoped, aquafaba.
Upon my inquiry, the bartender informed me it was indeed egg whites. While neither my husband nor I suffer from an egg allergy, I was perplexed as to why we were served this after explicitly noting we are vegan.
The rationale provided was that we needed to ask for the egg white substitute, aquafaba, specifically. So… as a heads up to future vegan patrons: Every time you place an order be sure to declare your vegan wishes.
Before heading back upstairs to the patio, the bartender also let me know I would have to bring our three dishes to the rooftop. Due to limited staff, one chef and one bartender, he would not be able to deliver our items. It seemed odd, but luckily, I used to be a server. Harnessing my underutilized plate balancing skills, I transported our dishes.
Despite the hurdles encountered to get to this point, the food looked and smelled delicious. Every bite of every dish was enjoyable. The flavors were complex, texture spot on, and serving size just right for “small plates”.