If attention to detail is what you seek when it comes to fine dining, look no further than The Gregory.
Nestled in the Watermark Hotel in downtown Baton Rouge, this restaurant is a wonderful addition to an already bustling dining scene. Named after famed sculptress Angela Gregory whose frescoes adorn the dining room walls, diners will delight in an experience as they are transported to a Gatsby-era establishment.
The sumptuous atmosphere is matched by its top-notch food, where details like garnish and plating take dishes over the top.
On a recent visit with a friend, we opted to go all out and treat ourselves. We began with scallops ($16) and a fried lobster cake ($9). The scallops were served sizzling in a cast iron pot. They were meaty and full of flavor. The sautéed green tomatoes and corn salad they were served atop was an interesting choice that worked well. The smoky mix of the scallops when blended with the sweetness of the green tomatoes was exciting and brought out the best in an already delectable dish.
The fried lobster cake was one of the more original appetizers I’ve tasted. It was lightly fried, with none of the oiliness that often accompanies a dish like this. When dipped into the accompanying tarragon aioli, the lobster’s succulence was brought out in full. Add to that the clever use of chili threads as both a garnish and an additional flavor, this appetizer was quite a treat.
For our main courses, we continued on the seafood theme, choosing Gulf fish ($23) and redfish ($25). What’s so intriguing about The Gregory is that it’s fashioned in a delightful "days gone by" manner. When you order, however, you’re given your very own iPad in which to do so. It’s a creative use of old meets new. Each meal comes with options for not only descriptions, but also wine accompaniment.
It was clear that much thought had been put into those wine choices, as they couldn’t have been better for what was soon to be a "love at first bite" moment.
Sitting high above the Gulf fish was a mound of crab maque choux. It was served with buttermilk corn cakes and a pepper jam. The redfish was bathed in a Meunière butter sauce and served with potato leek fritters and fire-roasted green tomatoes.
I’m always a tad funny with fish. It’s either too hard or too flaky, but both of these fish dishes were cooked as fish should be. They were firm, yet soft enough to melt in your mouth without being at all flaky. The impression each bite left behind was exquisite.
With full and happy bellies, it was a struggle to forge on. But one mention of butternut squash bread pudding ($6), and we simply had to go further. Served in a cast iron pot, the squash had an almost peachy hint when browned with powdered sugar crystallized on the top.
The Gregory was a lovely experience. From an informed wait staff full of stories of the original building, to a beautifully unique way in which you receive your bill and leave your very own watermark on the place, it’s most certainly sitting high on my list of new Baton Rouge favorites.
150 Third St., Baton Rouge
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Sunday; menus vary depending on the time
Info: thegregorybr.com or (225) 408-1800
Pros: Fried lobster cake; beautiful atmosphere; creative use of old meets new in service and dishes
Cons: Pricey; can be noisy and a tight squeeze.