Nestled in the quaint Garden District neighborhood of New Orleans lies a special Creole cottage known by locals and foodies alike as the Mosquito Supper Club. Depending when you walk by the 1898 Victorian home, you might pass right by it noting its charming beauty, but not much else. Pass by on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evening however and you’ll see 2 long farm tables filled with strangers turned quick friends, dining over oysters, biscuits, and gumbo by candlelight. There are no frills, no fancy trappings, only the necessary amount of silverware, and a large serving of Southern hospitality.
“We created a restaurant that we wanted you to feel at home at,” says Chef Melissa Martin, who started Mosquito Supper Club to share the cuisine she grew up eating throughout her childhood in Chauvin, Louisiana.
Serving a five-plus course meal of delicious food and cocktails, gathering at Mosquito Supper Club is an experience that’s seasonal, delicious, and quintessential New Orleans. Read on for our interview with Melissa, including her top tips for entertaining with true Southern charm.
Tell us about Mosquito Supper Club. What inspired it, and what can diners expect to find there?
I was inspired by the food that I grew up eating in the tiny fishing village of Chauvin, Louisiana. Women cooked the food and recipes and techniques were passed down as if through an apprenticeship; by watching, learning and doing, and by chasing a flavor. I wanted to share that food with anyone who wanted to take a seat at our tables.
At Mosquito Supper Club, diners can expect two 12 top tables and a five course Cajun meal inspired by my mom, aunt’s, and grandmother’s cooking. They should expect to meet strangers and to leave the dinner with new friends.
What does a typical day look like for you running Mosquito Supper Club?
6AM I wake up early and meditate. Then drink a cup of coffee with my partner and take the dog out. This ritual of coffee with my partner is very important – we try to just read or talk and not get started on work things too early. I have an Almond Butter or Peanut Butter sandwich and a smoothie almost every morning. Then I start dealing with emails and business stuff such as paying bills etc. Lately I spend a lot of time working on my cookbook. There is always so much to do when writing a cookbook.
I try to go to the gym as much as possible to swim or run, then I head into the restaurant and check in with my Front of House Manager and Sous Chef. I help clean the restaurant and ready it for service. We finish last minute details of desserts, prep, or errand running, then we open the doors at 6:30PM. I help out with service and try to leave for home no later than 10:45PM. Usually my staff is closing without me. I call my partner on the ride home and he opens the door when I arrive to our home in Mid-City, at which point I get home and elevate my legs for 20 minutes, chat with him about our days, and then go to sleep.
How does New Orleans culture play into what you do?
New Orleans, Louisiana is known for its true hospitality. Everyone is welcome at the table here.
We created a restaurant that we wanted you to feel at home at. Plus, you get the chance to dine in a Victorian home from 1898.
What’s your best tip(s) for cooking with the seasons?
1. Find a Farmers Market and get to know your Farmers.
2. Keep a log of things you liked and things that work. I keep recipes on the fridge that the family likes to eat. Whether it’s Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce, or her Meatballs recipe, or a quick and easy soup recipe. You need reminders of what works and at what points of the year they are best to cook.
3. Then make it easy to acquire those ingredients. We make pancakes at home a lot. We use 100% freshly milled flour from our local mill, local eggs, butter and milk and a sourdough starter. We keep frozen blueberries from the season and use local Cane syrup. We can enjoy these all throughout the year and they are just pancakes, but they are made with local ingredients that have integrity.
Tell us about Sunday brunch at Mosquito Supper Club.
Our dinners are at night so our guests rarely get to enjoy the exquisite light that streams in and to see how beautiful the space is during the day. At brunch you get to experience the best of being in an old 1898 Victorian home in the Milan neighborhood of New Orleans. It feels like you’re eating in someone’s home.
What did you serve at this one?
Our brunch menu changes week to week. We get to be a bit looser than at dinner and enjoy making biscuits, putting caviar on eggs, serving raw oysters and trying new things that we don’t have the opportunity to serve at dinner – like Monkey Bread, Bread Pudding, & Galettes. We also run chicken and duck gumbos and whatever else we can find to cook with at the farmers market.
What are your 5 essential items for hosting a gathering?
I am a minimalist so I say strip it down to the bare essentials. Brunch doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to warm, inviting, and filling.
1. Because brunch is early I would choose menu items that can be made ahead of time or items that quickly come together.
2. Go simple on the tabletop. Gather lots of cuttings from the outside for a natural feel. There’s no need to get flowers — just cut some things.
3. Let go of some of the last minute details and have guests help out. Have guests help make the table arrangements, the last minute table prep or food prep, dressing a salad etc.
4. Invite who you want to hang out with and you’re most comfortable with.
5. Keep it small.
What would your last meal be?
Raw Oysters or Toast, Olive Oil and Honey.
What’s your go-to hostess outfit?
Ha. All of my clothes and shoes could fit into two suitcases. So my go-to outfit is just something from my basic wardrobe. A light easy skirt, a comfy apron, and a light t-shirt. Fabric that breathes and is easy to move in.
Name 5 items we’d always find in your fridge or pantry.
- Drinking Yogurt
- Smoked Aged Gouda
What/where was one of the best meals of your life that you will never forget?
Hartwood in Tulum, Mexico is like a ballet, a beautiful dance. Every meal is an unforgettable one because of all the players involved?.
Who are your dream dinner party guests?
What’s the secret to a great party?
People you love that you can be yourself with and have absolutely no pressure.
The Camille Styles tagline is, “Live Life Like You Mean It.” How do you live life like YOU mean it every day?
By being present. I meditate everyday and remind myself constantly how lucky I am. Work hard, stay focused and be thankful and humble.
Share your favorite spots in New Orleans with a few words about what you love about it.
- City Park ?because 1000 year old live oaks will definitely ground you. I walk my dog here as much as possible.
- The New Orleans Athletic Club? I’ve been a member for over 10 years, there are times I was too busy or sad to go but then life changes and you get to rekindle a relationship with an old friend. I love this old gym in downtown Louisiana. It’s where I do some great thinking.
- Sunday Shop? because what’s not to like. I treat myself to Abby’s plants from ?Nest Botanicals? all the time.
(I listed 6+ because this city is chock full of gems!)