A little taste of New Orleans cuisine and heritage is what diners expect when eating at Copeland's. From the outside décor to the inside dining rooms, it doesn't appear to be an authentic glimpse into New Orleans life, but Copeland's does provide an enjoyable dining experience to carry the Cajun theme.
It's a busy place, and after a friendly welcome upon entering, my friend and I had a little wait one weekday evening.
The décor (without being too crass) has hints of a cheesiness about it -- almost a forced décor to fit into a New Orleans theme. The tables and booths are cozy and comfortable. Dimly lit, the ambiance is soothing, yet it tends to be a little noisy when the dining room is packed.
We were seated at a small booth for two a little off from the main dining room. This was a good place to be a little removed from other diners. Our server was attentive from the start, but as the evening progressed, she came less and less to our table, and her demeanor was less pleasant.
We reviewed the menu -- the drink menu -- to begin our evening here. Lots of options are on the bar menu -- specialty drinks, martinis, wines and beers. Some fun names include Key Lime Pie, Jazz City, Pontchartrain Beach, Woo Woo, Slow and Comfortable and Blue Lagoon. I chose the Eye of the Storm ($9.99), which is a frozen Margarita with Sauza Gold Tequila, Triple Sec, Midori and Chambord swirled and blended with fresh strawberry. This was all it sounds like and more, delicious and refreshing. My friend had a glass of Walnut Crest Merlot ($5.99) form Chile.
Now, we were ready to review the menu. This Denny's-esque menu was sufficiently large, complete with photographs of many of the dishes. (And, as much as I hate to admit it, it was helpful in deciding my entrée.)
There was lots to choose from -- appetizers, small tasting plates, cold tasting plates, salads, soups, po-boys, burgers and sandwiches, pasta, fresh fish, seafood platters and Copeland's specialties.
We saw Cobb Salad, Cajun Gumbo Ya Ya, Copeland Burger, Chicken Parmesan, Blackened Catfish, BBQ Shrimp and Hot Crab Claws. Our brains were overloaded with choices -- flipping page by page, back and forth -- trying to narrow our focus.
Selecting an appetizer was not an easy decision -- we eyed the Jazzy Wings ($12.99, whole chicken wings seasoned and fried then tossed in spicy wing butter), Hot Crab Claws ($12.99, Louisiana Blue Crab claws sautéed in olive oil vinaigrette with a light garlic touch). We decided upon the Crawfish Bread ($9.49), which is delicate brioche bread thinly spread with artichoke and spinach sautéed crawfish, Alfredo sauce, Monterey Jack cheese and broiled to a golden brown. These were memorable for the ample melted cheese and the fine blending of artichoke and spinach crawfish spread. It was a nice combination of rich flavors.
For our entrée, my friend selected the Crabmeat Ravioli ($6.99) along with the Caesar Salad ($7.99). The Ravioli dish is jumbo crabmeat ravioli smothered in Alfredo sauce and baked. He said the ravioli was very rich with the blending of the Alfredo sauce and the crab meat. The crab was fresh; the only negative was the edges of the ravioli tended to be a little tough. The caesar salad was the basic type -- romaine lettuce with Copeland's Caesar dressing, Parmesan cheese and homemade croutons. Good, solid salad -- fresh greens and rich Caesar dressing.
My entrée was the eggplant parmesan ($10.99). This dish came with an impressive presentation -- stacked high with seasoned and fried eggplant slices on a bed of angel hair pasta with Marinara; this was drizzled with Alfredo and topped with melted Mozzarella, Fontina and Parmesan cheeses. Three eggplant slices were lightly breaded and thick enough to taste the eggplant and not overtaken by the breading. The angel hair pasta was overcooked, too soft for my preference. The cheeses were great accents to the finality of this meal.
Dessert at Copeland's must be a slice of cheesecake. Other options are available, such as Bananas Foster, Homemade Brownie, White Chocolate Bread Pudding, Mile and a Half High Pie, Alex's Carrot Cake, Big Al's Chocolate Fudge Cake, but the cheesecake was what I desired.
The Original Cheesecake Napoleon ($5.99) is Copeland's creamy cheesecake recipe layered between rich moist pudding cake. You've got to add a topping for $2 more -- there are more than 20 toppings, such as Bananas Foster, Original Praline, Caramel, Strawberry, Blueberry, White Chocolate and Chocolate Fudge Brownie. I selected the Original Praline, which is a very sweet sauce that tastes very much like creamy buttery pralines with chopped pecans. Fabulously rich and decadent, this dessert was all that was needed to complete the meal.
Copeland's of New Orleans
3302 W. Kenosha St.
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