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NOLA Grill at Frisco Square



We’ll take you there!
That is the promise of Chef Nick Totten and his boss Christine Totten.
  Nick was raised on the taste of Hilton Head in large part to his grandmother Dot’s formal training and his love of the kitchen. The only jobs that have ever interested him had to involve the taste and energy of the kitchen.
  After graduating from the highly regarded Johnson and Wales School of Culinary Arts, the young chef applied for a job in the kitchens of Emeril’s in New Orleans. The taste of the Louisiana gulf coast with its French and Cajun influence of seasoning left a big impression. Nick returned to North Carolina with visions of the culinary nameplates like Commanders Palace, Mr. B’s, and Emeril’s as well as the exposed bricks and wrought iron lamp posts of Toulouse and Bourbon Street.
  While working his way up the culinary and management layers of highly regarded restaurants in Hilton Head, he incorporated his lessons in seasoning in Louisiana with the Gullah and low country flavors of the Carolina coast.
  An opportunity to work under locally renowned chef Dean Fearing at the Mansion of Turtle Creek lured the now seasoned executive chef to Dallas.



  After 8 rewarding and growing years with the popular Dodies Group, the Tottens were ready to give Chef Nick his own play ground.With the encouragement and support of his business manager and wife Christine, the McKinney resident's leased an available corner lot in Frisco's vibrant and every growing Square.



The League of Extra-Ordinary Reviewers welcome Bob Brown of Bob Brown Realty, the current President of the LSU Alumni of Dallas and child of the 9th Ward who raised himself and his family from poverty.
Also Isabell Rossigol a long respected friend who can’t remember all the wining and dining experiences she has had in her native Louisiana.
One of my regular favorites is Terri Green another Frisco and Collin County fixture who practices law, sits on a probate bench, and is just darn entertaining as company and as a reviewer.
Rick Fletcher offices just across the street from NOLA as well as being a seasoned writer and dining  voyeur , he can give you Frisco locals a great perspective. 
Enjoy! JB Blocker
 
Isabell Rossignol, Publicist from N.O., to N.Y., to DFW

   I am a Cajun lady from South Louisiana and eating today at Nola's brought me right back home. As you walk into the restaurant you get that sweet New Orleans feeling of wrought iron and exposed brick. Like most true Cajuns, I started off my meal with a cup of coffee and boy did they pass the test.  Good strong Community Coffee with chickory that wasn’t burned and bitter.
by cup or by bread bowl!
  We then went on to a gentle tasting of some of their specials and I am still shaking my head up and down with a giant smile on my face.  We all had a taste of the three soups and I am torn between the She-Crab and the perfect gumbos.
  Then arrived what I consider the piece de resistance....charbroiled OYSTERS. We were all reaching for more! Yes, I am still shaking my head up and down but my feet are tapping "Oh when the Saints come marching in!"
  My entrée was Lemon Grilled Shrimp and it was great. Since we were sharing and sampling, I’ll have to go back for about a dozen times just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
  Oh! Did I mention the bread pudding? Someone said it was ‘Slap yo momma good’ and they weren’t kidding.
  I have been recommending them ever since. I’d wish Chef Nick and Christine good luck, but they don’t need it. Just give them a visit and you can visit New Orleans fair. It was great fun!


Bob Brown, Pres. of LSU Alumni of Dallas and Bob Brown Realty
  When I first stepped into the NOLA Grill I felt like I had left Frisco and entered any number of restaurants that you may find in and around the French Quarter of New Orleans. I was born and raised in New Orleans and my lovely Anne is from just around the bend. We can just as easily be critics as fans.
  Asking a South Louisiana Native if he would like to review the cuisine of an authentic New Orleans style restaurant and sample the cooking is like having tickets to a LSU Tiger’s game.  It’s like you died and went to home.
  Being part of this sampling was as filling as eating three or four meals.  Who says you have to be hungry to eat all you can and pretend to be tasting for a review.  It was super, fantastic, awesome, splendid, and tremendous and that was before we got to the main course.  
  By the time we got to sweets I had run out of words to describe the tantalizing that my taste buds were receiving and I could feel the inner Cajun in me grin from ear to ear.  
  First we tasted 3 soups.  Crab, it was good, duck, it was better and seafood, it was the best.  When the appetizers came out I had some of the best tasting and tender gator bite this side of the Mississippi, tried the Fried Green Tomatoes with a shrimp on top and was pleasantly surprised, the Grilled Andouille Sausage was to die for and the Charbroiled Oysters were even better than I remembered from a few nights earlier.
  For the main entrée we all chose different dishes and I had such a hard time selecting that I was last and still had a great selection, Blackened Catfish, tasted superlative.  The Lemon Shrimp that Isabell chose was a commendable dish, The Pasta with Shrimp and Crawfish was wonderful, the Etouffee combo made me want more and the Fried Oyster Dinner was an essential of the taste test and passed with flying colors. 
  The dessert course was a savory taste of three chosen by Chef Nick to delight our palate.  There is nothing more delicious than Crème Brulée when it is prepared correctly, and every chocolate lover delights in the decadent Chocolate on Chocolate cake, but my favorite was the Bread Pudding, southern style with a bourbon sauce and ice cream on top.  It was the ultimate finish to a meal fit for a Cajun. 
  Chef Nick and Christine, with food this good you will have many repeat customers and I am happy to be in that number.  Thanks for the royal treatment and see you again soon.

Terri Green, Collin County Assoc. Probate Judge and local attorney.
  When entering NOLAs restaurant for lunch in Frisco Square, you immediately feel as though you just stepped off a “”Nawlins River Boat”, strolled up  Bourbon Street and walked right into the lively, open, and energetic atmosphere of a restaurant in the fun-loving French Quarters.     Yep, the combination of food, music, and creativity, along with the  smell of authentic Cajun cuisine, created by Chef Nick fill the air!
  Being a home grown East Texan, I wanted to try a traditional New Orleans delicacy, so I opted for one of their signature soups, she-crab soup to be exact.   It lived up to all of my expectations from its vibrant color, and mouthwatering ingredients including creamy crab, herbs, celery, and onion with just a touch of sherry!  WOW, it was definitely a savory Cajun specialty!  
  Next up, fried gator?  In my typical attorney style, I exclaimed “What?  Is it real? How did they catch it?  And most importantly, “How did it get here on my plate??   Skeptical, I could not fathom taking a bite of any gator formerly lounging in the infamous Louisiana river inlands, but  decided to be brave, smile and try it. Actually, J.B. made me try it!
   Boy was I surprised!  What a robust flavor! I would describe it as similar to chicken, with just a tad bit of wild game flavor!  So, now getting excited about the many different cajun delicacies, I was anxious to see what was being delivered next by the excellent and knowledge staff! 
  OH MY—OYSTERS!!  I could readily tell, these were not just ANY oysters, but hand shucked, charbroiled in garlic, herbed melted butter with bits of green onions,  top with a mound of parmesan cheese and baked!  Since they ARE my all-time favorite food, I did not feel the need to share this appetizer with my colleagues!  After that oversized platter, there was really, no need for me to “taste” anything else!!
  But  WAIT, how could I possibly pass up the opportunity to indulge my taste buds with delicious dishes of  Duck/Andouille sausage gumbo,  fried green tomatoes, jazz fest pasta, with  choices of shrimp, crawfish and/or chicken stirred and  just the  right amount of parmesan herb cream sauce? Well, you are right!  I could not wait to taste each of them to discover more Louisiana flare!!
 
red beans and rice appetizer
Two hours later, I thought, surely by now, even in New Orleans they are finished eating, but wrong again! Out from the pristine kitchen and swinging  doors, comes the staff, delivering three desserts!
   I must say, I spied it immediately…an oversized, hot out of the oven,  scrumptious looking bread pudding square, topped with ice cream and whipped sautéed bourbon glaze! One tasty bite?? No way! There’s no need to be a lady at this point……so, move over boys, this exquisite dessert is all MINE! 
   So, to end this story, I will simply say, “oh my, put a fork in me, I am done”-- this food critic has over indulged in the delights of real New Orleans cuisine!
  For any Friscoans with a jazzy taste, wanting a great atmosphere, and a taste of real “Nawlins” style food that you definitely won’t find in any other restaurant in our fair city, take a stroll into NOLA Restaurant for some bona fide Cajun/Creole cuisine!  No doubt after your exceptional dining experience, you will just want to sit back, wait for the Mardi Gras parade to begin and start catching some beads!

Rick Fletcher, Local businessman, Frisco Foodie, and Reviewer
 Finally, authentic New Orleans Cajun and Creole cuisine has arrived in Frisco. This is not that cheap, mostly fried seafood that many Texas restaurants try to pass off as Cajun fare. This is the best New Orleans style food that I’ve found outside of the French Quarter.
  My hat's off to owners Nick and Christine Totten for bringing NOLA Grill to Frisco Square. Even though I was a regular at the previous tenant Josephine's Italian Bistro - the decor, food, and service have all been turned up a few notches. Upscale, yet casual – the perfect place for a date night – or a quiet business lunch. I haven’t tried the patio yet with our current hot summer temperatures, but I predict it will be a big hit in the Fall and Spring.
  Significant thought, care, and expense was incurred in creating the large gated patio by removing a prior parking space, moving the existing front door, and rerouting the sidewalk. Well worth the investment in my opinion – Frisco is sorely lacking in al fresco dining options. Also, a side benefit of relocating the previous entryway was the addition of a much larger and more upscale bar with outside service.  
  Being a true Johnson & Wales trained chef with experience working in New Orleans restaurants, Nick brings a well-qualified menu that lives up to this restaurant’s lofty name. We started off sampling three soups – the She Crab soup, the Seafood gumbo, and the Duck and Andouille Sausage gumbo. All came out piping hot – with my favorite being the duck and sausage gumbo since it was the heartiest and also had the most “kick” to it. I also give high marks to the crab soup since it was not burdened with an overly thick broth, therefore allowing you to actually taste the crab.
  The Gambino’s bread, flown in daily from New Orleans, is exactly the kind of authentic touch you’d expect from a restaurant named NOLA Grill. Followed by the arrival of a plethora of appetizers – my favorite dish of the day “hands down” was the Charbroiled Oysters. I’m not even a big oysters fan, but this appetizer should be their advertised SIGNATURE dish in my opinion. The incredibly smoky taste hovers over the garlic herbed butter and can easily be ordered as an entrée.
  I also give high marks to the Grilled Andouille Sausage Succotash (made with red beans and fried leeks) and the Fried Green Tomatoes & Shrimp Remoulade. We sampled 5 entrees with my two favorites being the Lemon Grilled Shrimp and the Blackened Catfish.
  Frisco just doesn’t have enough seafood restaurants, so NOLA helps fill that void in a big way. The Jazz Fest pasta was spectacular as well – just the right Parmesan creme sauce – and you can order it with shrimp, crawfish, or chicken. I ordered it with a mixture of shrimp and crawfish on this visit.
 
Christine, Mayor Maso, and Nick
We didn’t try the salads on this visit – but that left plenty of room for desserts! We sampled the crème brulee, the chocolate flourless torte, and the New Orleans bread pudding. The torte was as rich and smooth as the finest fudge. I’m not a “chocoholic” so I divided most of my time between the crème brulee (it was flawless!) and the bread pudding. On a previous trip I had commented that the bread pudding had more of a vanilla sauce whereas I personally preferred a stronger bourbon flavored sauce. So I was pleasantly surprised when Nick brought out the newly improved bread pudding and said he had listened to customer input and tweaked the sauce by adding a stronger dose of whiskey.
  This is a sign of an independent restaurant that prioritizes customer service and then has an executive chef with the “culinary chops” and requisite confidence to experiment in the kitchen (vs. all those chain restaurants that use only corporate prescribed – and strongly adhered to - recipes prepared by junior chefs and kitchen staff.)
  I am very pleased that NOLA is now a part of Frisco’s Town Square and my neighbor. Trust me, I’m a dedicated Foodie.


 

- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962. Email: jbnorthtexas@gmail.com 

2 comments:

  1. Those charbroiled oysters look superb! Can’t wait to try them out when I’m in the area! Unfortunately, that picture set off a sudden craving for oysters. I guess I know what we’re having this Saturday on our night off. Haha!

    Crystal

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  2. You had me at oysters. And my, those look scrumptious! Definitely worth trying out if you’re a big fan! The friendly staff and great service is a very big plus.

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