Editor’s note: As of March 18, Heard Dat Kitchen was still open for business, though “pretty slow … no tourists,” according to Chef Jeffrey Heard.
This is the easy part, saying New Orleans cuisine is Heard Dat Kitchen and the food here, in this city and from this restaurant, is phenomenal. But this is the hard part, Heard Dat resides squarely in the phenomenal.
This next part is semantics. Phenomenal means something completely out of the ordinary, rare and wondrous. As it also means the tangible and ordinary because it, a phenomenon, is experienced through the senses.
New Orleans’ Heard Dat Kitchen is phenomenal, extraordinary, and special in a material way; after you’ve eaten here, you will remember it for a long time. The menu is an album of greatest hits — every dish an outstanding track, an earworm in your mouth; you can’t stop singing it. There are no fillers, just back-to-back bangers; you are reeling, you want to catch your breath, but not here. I only used this analogy once when recommending the restaurant to a visiting friend because I heard myself sound too exuberant.
Then I visited again with some out-of-town guests and one of them was struck by the peas.
This is how you know a place is really good: when the peas are amazing. Who even cares about peas anymore? These guys do.
Peas are usually excommunicated to the hinterlands of the classic three-compartment styrofoam takeout container. But the peas here came in their own case. The small white box yawned open at a slight touch and soft boiled peas, a million roe from a pod, a deep version of the color green, stared at us like WHAT’S UP!
These PEAS really would pack a U-Haul truck up
Put the high beams on, drive up on the curb
At a barbecue and hop up out the back like, “WHAT’S UP?”
We ate those phenomenal peas first, the main put off to the side for now. From the moment we tasted…