You know me by now. Franchises are not my favorite place to dine, but at times duty calls me to enter. And, I suppose these are accurate depictions.
A friend and I arrived early one Friday afternoon at Copeland's of New Orleans, 3302 W. Kenosha St., in Broken Arrow. The restaurant was already abuzz with many of the tables occupied. We were immediately seated, but our location was not one of the best. Our four-top table was just across the kitchen entrance, shielded only by a tall row of faux greenery. The noise level grew as the evening passed and the back of my chair was often bumped by passersby and the wait staff.
Our server for the evening immediately greeted us, and asked what we would like to drink. Copeland's, we soon found, is noted for its specialty drinks, especially the Martini menu, lauded as the "coldest martinis in the world." Many flavored vodkas, gins and rums are blended with various combos of other liquors and mixes to offer a range of martinis for all tastes.
My friend and I went with the Crash & Burn ($14.99), a Specialty Drink served in a large fish-bowl glass made for two. This was served with seven liquors including Dekuyper Cordials, Myers' Dark Rum and Southern Comfort, then blended with tropical fruit juices and topped with Bacardi 151. The novelty of this drink was fun, but it did not pack a punch like the waiter advised us it would. He said it is the type of drink that he cannot serve to one person. Okay, so we're lushes.
As we sipped from our fish bowl, we reviewed the menu, which was like reading a chapter book, as is true with most chains. The Appetizer menu has 16 offerings; we chose the Blackened Shrimp Quesadilla ($8.99) and the Magnolia Mushroom ($8.99). The Quesadilla is described as four tortillas filled with Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, roasted corn, black beans, pico de gallo and blackened shrimp. The roasted corn and black beans were the most prominent in each bite and blended delicately with the melted cheeses.
The Magnolia Mushroom was a grilled portabella mushroom cap filled with shrimp, mushrooms, roasted garlic, tomatoes and basil in a white wine garlic sauce. I enjoyed this more than the other, as portabellas are one of my favorite fungi. This was richly flavorful. How can you go wrong with these ingredients? It was served with a slice of Copeland's famous Toasted Brioche, which was used to absorb the garlic sauce.
A few other appetizers that drew our attention included Onion-Mum (a sweet onion, fried and served with a tangy Rosette sauce); Bayou Broccoli (balls of broccoli, bacon and cheese, dried and served with a tasty sauce); Zydeco Crawfish Corn Cakes; and Hot Crab Claws.
The remaining sections of the menu included Appetizer Salads, Salads, Soups, Burgers & Sandwiches, Pasta, Fresh Fish, Classics, Seafood Platters and Sizzlin' Steaks. Brunch, Lunch and Cheesecake Bakery items are also mentioned on the menu.
It felt as if we were wandering through the bayou and swamplands deciding upon our dinners. We eventually made our way through the book, choosing a couple of items from the Classics section, the Shrimp Etouffée ($13.29) and the Blackened Bayou Chicken ($13.99).
My friend's Shrimp Etouffée was very good, but not as spicy and tasty as others I have had. Perhaps a leveling of flavors is needed for such a varied customer-base at chains. This classic Louisiana dish came with little Gulf shrimp in a dark roux-based sauce seasoned with garlic, green onions and spices and served over white rice. My friend thoroughly enjoyed this, but we both found the shrimp too soft; they were not crisp when biting into them, which was not to our liking.
The Blackened Bayou Chicken came as a butterfly breast thinly sliced, coated with Cajun spices and blackened, and served over Copeland's unique mushroom dressing and smothered with a rich, creamy crawfish sauce. This was the better of the two. The chicken had a mild blackened taste and the mushroom dressing was fabulous alone, but with the crawfish sauce, it was taken to another level of rich Cajun and garlic flavor. It was a very good dish--a generous portion for even the most famished diner.
I took home a few other highly recommended dishes, the Ricochet Catfish ($11.99) and the New Orleans Shrimp Scampi ($14.29). Both were very good. The Catfish was battered and lightly fried, topped with pecans, sesame and Copeland's Creole Meuniére sauce. (This sauce, meaning "Miller's Wife," is a delightful sauce made with lemons, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, heavy whipping cream, butter, salt and white pepper.) This was served with Red Hot Potatoes and Onion Strings.
The Scampi is a generous portion of pan-fried shrimp served over angel hair pasta in a light lemon sauce with artichoke hearts, spinach, tomatoes, roasted garlic and parmesan cheese. This was delicious.
Save room for Copeland's famous cheesecake. The Original Cheesecake Napoleon, Signature Cheesecake, Original Chocolate Cheesecake Napoleon and Chocolate Signature Cheese Cake are highlighted.
Copeland's French Quarter decor is enjoyable; the staff is good and attentive and the dining room is large and the volume rises as tables fill. The bar literally changes colors through the evening.
Copeland's Famous New Orleans Restaurant and Bar
3302 W. Kenosha St., Broken Arrow
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