Ever since I read Calvin Trillin’s piece in the New Yorker on this authentic New Orleans road house, Mosca’s, I’d been planning to go.
Finally, with four nights in New Orleans on the itinerary, I was willing to give up half of one to drive about 20 miles out to Avondale and Mosca’s for the Chicken a la Grande.
Mosca’s was everything Mr. Trillin said it would be. And though we were the only non-locals in the joint, we were treated no differently than anyone else. It was if we had been here last Tuesday and would be back on the following.
Mosca’s is a vanishing breed on the American restaurant landscape. The food is good, the drinks are strong and the servers are capable. That might not seem like a lot - but it is way more than you get in some of the fanciest, trendiest places everyone is hollering about on Yelp!
Oh - and Mosca’s is on Yelp!, btw.
And the Chicken a la Grande recipe is online, too.
But as Calvin Trillin writes,
“The dishes aren’t complicated. For instance, Chicken a la Grande—which, John Mosca informed me, was named after a horse trainer named Charles Grande—has in it, in addition to the chicken, only salt and pepper, rosemary, oregano, white wine, and, of course, ten cloves (or is it heads?) of garlic. Still, James Edmunds, who takes great pride in being able to reverse-engineer dishes from the restaurants he likes, has never been able to replicate Chicken a la Grande. ‘I’ve made any number of tasty chicken dishes in the attempt,’ he told me. ‘But no Chicken a la Grande.’ Since the recipe calls for the chicken to be cooked in a skillet, James suspects that his failure has something to do with his not being able to match the heat of a restaurant burner—plus the fact that, as he puts it, ‘they know how to do something that I don’t know how to do.’”