The sun started its descent as the cab rolled alongside the Mississippi River through the Marigny and into the Bywater. A soft breeze kissed us as we stepped out onto the sidewalk on Poland Street. The evening was perfect, but when we saw the peeling paint and the sagging wood, we had to wonder.
For all the breathless promises of a one-of-a-kind dining experience, Bacchanal didn’t look like much. A modest house long past its prime – if it ever had a prime to begin with. Then we stepped into the backyard and understood.
Christmas lights hung from the trees. Tables and chairs purchased at long-ago Blue Light Specials covered the yard. Flowers bloomed. A jazz band played in the corner. Wine and beer bottles swam in buckets of melting ice. The smells of roasting pork and grilling steak floated from the house. People drank and laughed and flitted from table to table like long-lost neighbors. We had come expecting a restaurant. What we found was a backyard cookout elevated to its highest form.