Kevin Kelly loves dragonflies. When he first toured the property as a prospective buyer, a dragonfly landed on his shoulder. For him, it was an omen. This was where he needed to make his home. From the time he purchased the plantation in Darrow, Louisiana, Mr. Kelly has surrounded himself with the very best decorators, art collectors, gardeners and chefs he could possibly find. He and his team have transformed the mansion and verdant 38 acres surrounding it into a destination that can only be described with superlatives.
My husband and I recently enjoyed both dinner and breakfast at The Carriage House Restaurant on the grounds, and both meals were expertly prepared, presented and served. We walked into an elegant dining room with soft jazz playing in the background and live birds in cages by the window. The room is encased in massive embossed crown moldings with chandeliers hung from giant medallions perfectly proportional to the size of the room. There are marble tiled floors, and the back wall features two large fireplaces with mirrors at least eight feet tall hung over each mantel.
Joseph Dicapo, a Baton Rouge, LA native, is the Executive Chef at The Carriage House Restaurant. He is a graduate of the Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts in Denver, CO and has been at The Carriage House for six years, first as Sous Chef before becoming Executive Chef. He understands the area, the best food sources and the regional cuisine.
The Carriage House features products and produce from Fekete Farms, Belle Ecorce Farms, Bonnecaze Farm, Chenier Family Farm, Feliciana’s Best Creamery, Feliciana Green Houses, Fletcher Family Farm, Glaser’s Produce Farm, Anna Marie Seafood Company, Naquin Family Farm, Morrow Farm, Mon Jardin, Papa John’s Farm, Plantation Pecan, Vicknair Family Farm and from the Vegetable and Herb Gardens right there on the Houmas House grounds.
For dinner, we chose the Brown Sugar Brined Pork Rib Chop and the Blackened Redfish, and for dessert we shared White Chocolate Bread Pudding finished with Sweet Rum Cream and Mixed Berry Cobbler with Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream. Every bite was sensational!
Breakfast the following morning began with Dragonfly Biscuits (surely the idea of Mr. Kelly), fig preserves and pecan butter.
Our entrees were Bananas Foster Pain Perdu (French toast) and an Omelet featuring applewood bacon, cherry tomatoes, brie cheese, and 3 eggs.
The quality of the food matches the elegance and sumptuousness of the dining room. Chef Dicapo continues to experiment, so each season is sure to bring seasonal menu options bursting with flavor and creativity. Walk through the gardens, tour the mansion, and peruse the extensive gift shop before or after your meal. The Carriage House is open 7 days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for breakfast and 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for a casual evening dinner. The address is 40136 Highway 942 (River Road) in Darrow, Louisiana. It is located about an hour from the New Orleans airport or a half hour from Baton Rouge. It is well worth the drive on Louisiana’s Great River Road from either direction.