It’s been awhile since we’ve dined at Toutant. Nearly 5 months to be exact. A restaurant focusing on southern comfort foods and good drinks had been accompanied by rave reviews, and come mid-January, we had reservations set with our friends Taylor (@InTheBuffBlog) and Jake (not from State Farm).
I know, it’s been awhile since we visited. While we’ve kept our notes on the experience, we’ve gone back and forth many times on what we thought. We found a recurring problem in the preparation for this visit – everyone praised Toutant. When we hear a universal viewpoint, we visit with a preconceived notion and recap our experience comparing our feelings to others.
If fried chicken doesn’t cross your mind when you hear southern cuisine or comfort food, you probably also don’t think chicken wings are best in Buffalo. On this evening, the only way to start was with the appetizer special Nashville Hot Chicken. Those who avoid joining sweet and heat are mistaken; this dish married the two in the most exquisite way. Just like we would never question what Bo knew, we shouldn’t question that Buffalo knows chicken. For now, I won’t attempt to rank the best chicken dishes, but Toutant will make the list if we ever do.
Hush Puppies and the Celery Root Soup rightfully showed that starters should always be ordered. And Oysters, which Alix recently discovered are better than she thought.
Another thing we’ve learned from our date night adventures is to never shy away from common dishes. Enter: the Angus Beef Burger. Restaurants have done a great job at showing the days of simple ground beef are behind us. This burger was a blend of 3 different meats and topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and cheese, and accompanied by homemade potato chips. While Alix rightfully placed that order, I was feeling the love of comfort food and the Shrimp & Grits were all my eyes could see. Whether you’re looking for a common entree or traditional southern cuisine, both of these will do the trick.
Fun fact: Chef James Roberts named his restaurant after his family’s fishing and trapping camp just outside of New Orleans. From the ambiance to what he plates, I don’t think there’s any reason to leave disappointed. On a future trip, I think we’ll find seats at the bar where we’ll enjoy a couple more appetizers, maybe fried chicken, and cocktails. Oh, and brunch? We’ve heard this is a must.