For a feast for all senses away from the French Quarter, take the St. Charles street car line to Camellia Grill. This trip to a great New Orleans institution includes an architectural tour as “the car” moseys past fabulous houses, mansions and Audubon Park. Jump off at Carrollton Avenue near the end of the line. Just across the street is The Camellia Grill, with its white columns and pink neon sign. Inside you will find 29 seats at a serpentine counter staffed by white-coated waiters and cooks at open grills.
While there is no one signature dish, the Chef Special omelet is a house specialty: bacon, ham, onion, Swiss and American cheeses, and French fries all held together with lighter than air eggs whipped in a blender. This concoction is cooked on a flat grill, gently folded and then blanketed with a delicious, rich chili. Finally, the plate is crowned with French fries and delivered piping hot. The chili is almost a necessary anchor, as this omelet is so light and fluffy it could otherwise float away.
For a beverage choice, the orange freeze is another house specialty. Available in several other flavors, the orange freeze is quickly blended using orange juice, simple syrup, ice and French vanilla ice cream. Its texture is neither that of a shake nor a slushy. It is frothy and the flavor is delicate, not too sweet, so it is a great companion to a meal.
Camellia Grill is known not only for its breakfast served all day, but also for its sandwiches. A simple hamburger (dressed, of course, which is New Orleans speak for mayonnaise, chopped lettuce, tomato and pickle) or grilled cheese with bacon is elevated to gourmet delight, especially when paired with an order of chili cheese fries.
Camellia Grill’s desserts include a variety of pies: pecan, chocolate pecan, apple, and several cream pies. The pecan pie notable because the usual way of serving it is to grill a slice in butter before topping it with a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream. Grilling intensifies the flavor of the buttery crust.
Don’t be surprised is there is a line of eager, hungry diners. You will find an eclectic mix of locals, tourists, and students from nearby Tulane University, just blocks away. It’s definitely worth the wait.
— Review submitted by Marlene Bellis and Philip Roth, aka, tsores.