Since opening in March, Goûter has had a steady amount of buzz surrounding it. I was excited to try chef Chris Wadsworth's new restaurant and his different takes on Louisiana-style foods.
The Government Street space is open and inviting, with plenty of room for a good number of customers and a view into the kitchen. Two separate spaces help keep the noise to a pleasant level. Our waitress oddly had a hard time keeping our drink orders straight, but other than that, she was pleasant and helpful.
The lunch menu is split into small plates, soups and salads, big plates, and sandwiches, while dinner swaps out sandwiches for charcuterie and chef experiences. We assumed that the small plates would be appetizers of sorts, and while the portions were small, all of our food arrived at the same time.
We tried the crawaffle ($10), which I heard about from a number of different people. It kind of reminded me of crawfish étouffée, but with a cheese base instead of a roux. The cheese and crawfish combine to pleasantly ooze over the crunchy waffle, and a little molasses adds a contrasting sweetness. The waffle is a bit crispier and less fluffy than you might expect, but it has to be to hold up to the cheesy concoction.
Also from the small plates, we had the duck 3 ways ($9), which is basically a twist on a deviled egg. The duck egg has duck bacon and cracklin', with a small portion of caviar resting proudly on top of the heap. It's hard to mess up a deviled egg, and this one was well-balanced. The cool filling had a hint of vinegar, and the creaminess was offset by the fried duck on top. The salty hint of caviar was an excellent finishing note.
The sunny boudin sandwich ($11) is the epitome of what a Louisiana breakfast sandwich should be. The sourdough, thickly cut, was gorgeously toasty with the right amount of butter. Sandwiched between it was a patty of boudin, thinly formed so it was crispy and crunchy but still thick enough to provide a great flavor, and a sunny side up egg. It's simple and well done.
However, we were a little disappointed by the specials we tried.
The shrimp callas ($10) were very similar to Italian arancini — rice balls formed with other ingredients and then fried. The balance of shrimp to rice in the callas we had seemed sadly off, with one of the balls containing only a few very small pieces of shrimp. The rice was bland and kept us wishing there was more of the mustard dressing to add some extra flavor. It was underwhelming.
We fared better with the gator po-boy ($12), which our waitress said was likely to be added to the permanent menu soon. The French bread was an excellent bed for the shredded cabbage, pickles and large portion of fried gator. The batter on the gator was nicely spiced, but the gator was a little tough. Again, we wanted for more of the mustard dressing, but this time to cut through the dryness of the sandwich.
The sides served with both sandwiches were a coleslaw and house chips, both of which were excellent. The slaw was simply cabbage with a vinegary dressing that provided a crisp, clean bite. And the chips were similar to pita chips — highly spiced and very addictive.
Overall, we enjoyed our visit. If Goûter keeps following the same path, it will be highly successful in Baton Rouge for years to come. We did echo the thoughts of some others that some portions were very small for the price.
The restaurant breaks the traditional mold of what Cajun food is like in the area, and it's trying new and enjoyable things. There are a lot of dishes on the menu that caught my attention that I didn't get to try, so I'll be back for another visit soon.
3897 Government St., Baton Rouge
HOURS: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday
PROS: Crawaffle, sunny boudin sandwich, interesting flavor combinations
CONS: Pricey for what you get, shrimp callas