The much-anticipated Elsie’s Plate & Pie at 3145 Government St. is open for business and a very welcome addition to the Mid-City scene. It’s the brainchild of restaurant management expert Paul Dupré. It is named after his beloved grandmother Elsie Marie Campeau Rupe of Lockport in Lafourche Parish, a real pie aficionado and lover of all things sweet. I can relate. As my culinary obsessions go, comfort food wrapped in pastry is at the top of my list so I went in with pie in the sky expectations and came out feeling full, happy and ready for my next visit.
From the outside, the space looks like a quaint old-school pie shop. Inside, it is a refreshing mixture of modern industrial chic with a little vintage here and there. Elsie’s portrait is painted on the wall overlooking her diners. There is also a counter at the back where guests will be able to pick up pies to order, a service they will be starting in future. You can also buy the amazing pepper jelly made by Dupré’s wife to put on, well everything, at home. For those seeking a really intimate date night space, there are two private dining areas at the back.
At first glance, I was surprised about the extensive selection on the menu. If for some reason one isn’t a fan of pie (gasp), you will have plenty of other choices, including those expected Louisiana staples. Red beans & rice, fried catfish, and poboys are available, along with burgers. The menu also offers fresh salads, which can be topped with chicken, shrimp, or pimento for an additional cost. To sip on, they have a sizeable beer list and will have craft cocktails for those wanting something a bit stronger.
I started with the boudin cakes and the crawfish handpies. The boudin cakes had a great rich flavor. Dupré doesn’t grind the pork to the traditional consistency, giving it more of a pulled pork and rice texture. It was paired with a zesty mayo-like “Bedford” sauce. The two cakes would give a party of four just enough for a taste but not too much to spoil their main meal. The crawfish hand pies were absolutely delicious. Five of them came to the table in a mini skillet with a spicy sauce drizzled on top. Filled with Louisiana crawfish and corn and sausage from the boil, they are fried to perfection and delivered hot. I could have happily eaten all five.
Next it was on to the melts and the “stuff on bread” sections of the menu. Dupré first brought out the shrimp diablo melt: grilled shrimp, roasted red peppers and havarti on sourdough. It was tasty and loaded with enough shrimp to warrant the $11 price tag. It also came with a mountain of fries. I finished off the day’s savory selection with a pimento cheeseburger. It was cooked on the medium side of medium well, just as I like it, and loaded with the ooey gooey topping. It was tasty. It wasn’t the best burger I have ever had but not at all disappointing. All and all, it was the crawfish pies that won the day (as they should). Next time I will be trying Carl’s tomato pie (a roasted tomato and creamy mozzarella baked in flaky crust, finished with fresh tomato and pesto), a crab pie, and the Natchitoches meat pie.
The dessert menu gives you a selection of those favorites you expect with some surprises. Pie Shop apple pie, cherry hand pie, coconut cream pie and amongst others leave traditionalists happy. For those excited to try something a little different, there is tarte a la bouille (a rich Cajun custard in a sugar cookie crust), Gilbert’s root beer float pie, and the almond joy pie. I went for the last one. An individual piecrust with rich coconut custard, whipped cream, slivered almonds and chocolate sauce made it’s way to my table. The custard was creamy (I could have eaten a tub of that on it’s own) and the crust was perfectly crunchy. I could only eat about a half before getting the rest packed up for my Netflix binge later. I can’t wait till they sell these to go.
Elsie’s Plate & Pie’s menu is comforting and unpretentious. Pies are not meant to be anything but. It does have some surprises and twits along the way, leaving pie traditionalists and those more adventurous types with options. Quite simply, Elsie’s delivers what you want and more at prices that are digestible. Entrees run between $7-20. Elsie’s Plate & Pies is open 11 am to 9 pm , Sunday-Monday, 11 am – 10 pm, Tuesday-Wednesday, and 11am- midnight Thursday- Sunday. For more information, visit Elsiespies.com.
Images: Sean Gasser