We DID go to El Gato Azul for our Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday dinner last night. However. In spite of proprietor/chef Barry Barbe's offerings of jambalaya and gumbo and shrimp etouffee, we chose otherwise.
"The Cat" is a small but culinarily adventurous restaurant. It houses only six or seven tables though it's outdoor patio has room for many more and a stage for music, mostly jazz. It's still a little chilly for patio dining, though it was covered with a tent-like structure along with plastic sides and gas heaters and many others were out there. But we preferred to be inside and were seated at a nice table.
Now I said culinarily adventurous. El Gato Azul is primarily a tapas restaurant, tapas being small plates of appetizers. But tapas in quantity can be a meal and that's what we chose. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures but I can describe our meal.
It began with a couple of very nice vodka martinis. Our first "course" consisted of Mussels Cerveza (steamed with ale and herbs) and Baked Brie "Nachos" (pita triangles, warmed brie, with an apricot and Balsamic vinegar reduction sauce). I liked both but SWMBO said she should have realized the Brie dish would be sweet and she doesn't like to mix savory and sweet, particularly at the beginning of a meal.
(But a couple of glasses of a very nice Malbec red wine helped comfort the tummies and the soul.)
Our second "course" consisted of Santa Fe Shrimp (chargrilled bacon-wrapped shrimp with a Chipotle sauce) and Jammin' Chicken (island spiced and grilled).
(Hmm, that Malbec was good enough for a second glass each,)
We were very pleased with our "meals", all of which we shared. The restaurant was busy, lively with New Orleans jazz on the speakers, one waitress wearing a bright green, sparkly skirt; chef Barry stopping by our table wearing his "fool's" hat. I reminded him that I had interviewed him once for the radio station I was working for back when he was juggling four restaurants in town. (Later, SWMBO and I calculated that was somewhere between 8 and 10 years ago!) I asked him when he was going to open some more restaurants but he said his wife was limiting him to just one.
The one he runs has been a big success and we will return. By the way, if you want to see all the tapas you can get at the Blue Cat, here is their menu. The other side has a great number of entrees if you choose to go that route. And if you're REALLY hungry you can begin with a couple of tapas, then choose your entree. Just don't forget the martini and/or the wine. Or you can order from their beer and ale menu and enjoy something like Moose Drool from Missoula, Montana, or Kiltlifter from Tempe, Arizona.
One added treat: here's a photo of the sunset I took from the car as we set off for the restaurant. It was much more fantastic than the photo shows but still . . .