The Coastal Kitchen, with its rotating global menu, is a restaurant that intrigues the heck out of me but always gets the red light due to a real lack of vegetarian options (eh, and the fact that it is outside of the monetary realm that I usually patronize). But a recent special occasion, coupled with a gift certificate and a "New Orleans" menu, inspired me to go.
My dining companion and I started with two appetizers: a tasty arugula salad with grilled pears, shallots, candied nuts and Parmesan cheese, and a really delicious spicy, sweet, rich, jalapeno cornbread slathered in honey butter. Both were enjoyable.
Next came the main dishes, which were the low point for me. They had only one vegetarian main: mushroom stuffed tomatoes in a cheesy bechamel sauce. The fact that I don't really like mushrooms coupled with the fact that the dish arrived a wee bit on the cold side (film on the plated sauce), made it unappealing. It did come with a choice of sides, and I got the beans and rice (plain) and the cheesy grits (buttery and rich).
Luckily the dessert, Chocolate Turtle Bread Pudding, was quite delicious. I generally shy away from bread pudding because I don't like the egg-y custard-y stuff, but this was not like that at all. Instead it consisted of fresh pieces of Le Panier baguette lightly coated and baked til gently toasted in a delicious caramel sauce with warm melty chocolate chips and slightly sweet whipped cream. Oh my goodness it was good.
I'm glad to have finally checked this place out and I can possibly see the appeal if you are a wealthy meat/fish eater. However, from the perspective of a frugal vegetarian, there isn't much that makes me want to return.