The High Hat Cafe, in uptown New Orleans, has earned a rep for serving quality Louisiana and Mississippi Delta cuisine; the latter is not a reference to the river really, by the way, but rather a geographical stretch within the state of Mississippi. Oh for goodness sakes, here. Take a vacation in the delta if you’re interested in the history of jazz.
The term “High Hat” can mean several things in English, including snobbery, or a set of cymbals in a drum kit. No telling what the owner had in mind when naming this eatery.
This three year old joint in most known for its fried chicken, served on a plate as a special on Tuesday nights (be prepared to wait in line, I was cautioned), but it turns out the chicken is available most anytime, either as an add-on, like with Monday nite’s red beans, or at other times with gentle cajoling.
I went for the “High Hat Burger” and as I have been on a winning streak with fabulous burgers in NOLA recently (TruBurger, Company, District), I was bound / overdue to run into one that was ho hum.
Using Certified Angus beef for the patty (why don’t chefs know that term really doesn’t mean anything?) and slather with pimento cheese, this one had a lot of promise, but fell flat, and quickly.
Pimento cheese is sometimes referred to as “the caviar of the south,” can be made smooth or chunky, and generally includes cheddar, mayo or cream cheese, pimentos, salt/pepper, maybe hot sauce. Try it on a grilled cheese. Velveeta or similar can sometimes be substituted for the cheddar.
Unfortunately, High Hat’s version falls flat, and is rather flavorless, and was perched atop a burger patty cooked a full 10 minutes past my requested medium rare. For that matter, despite the restaurant being less than half full, it took a damned long time to be served. The burger does have a nice crust from the flat top.
There was also gumbo and oyster/bacon soup at the table, both were served tepid, which wasn’t all that exciting, the oyster was a cream soup, but too thin. The restaurant’s version of a “Wedge” salad was pretty sad overall, but they did manage to score some very nice tomatoes.
The highlight of the meal was the french fries, good enough to get a second order for the table.
In a word, I was underwhelmed. You might not be. Here’s the High Hat menu.