New Orleans restaurant tour
During a recent trip to the Big Easy, my partner and I had the opportunity to try several fabulous new (or newly improved) restaurants. Here's my gastronomic diary.
Mother's Restaurant (401 Poydras St; 504-523-2917; http://www.mothersrestaurant.net), just outside the French Quarter in the Central Business District, offers regular ol' breakfast food (with a delightful southern twist that includes grits and biscuits) in a standard-looking diner, but everything is top notch quality. The breakfast ham is probably the best I've ever had in such a deceptively casual environment. Lots of friendly, long-term servers had a dash of infectious warmth.
When I indicated to my friends, including some prominent travel editors and writers, I was dining at Cochon (930 Tchoupitoulas St; 504-588-2123; http://www.cochonrestaurant.com/), I could almost hear them salivating on our facebook page! You'll find gourmet takes on traditional southern recipes and dishes including boudin, andouille, smoked bacon and head cheese (need to look it up? Click here!).Highly recommended: fried rabbit livers with pepper jelly toast. Make reservations as early as you can. Despite the current economic downturn this is still a very desirable and much-sought-after table.
Next up was the lovely Sunday Jazz Brunch at Palce Café (605 Canal St; 504-523-1661; http://www.palacecafe.com/). This has been there for nearly two decades with some of the staff there that long. The music is great and the delicious, nouvelle spin on traditional New Orleans fare like Pain Perdu (French bread toast served with pecan-praline sauce, fresh berries, and andouille sausage) is served up by a very friendly, helpful staff.
Our final dinner took place at Lüke (333 St. Charles Ave; 504-378-2840; http://www.lukeneworleans.com/), an authentic French-style brasserie. (We couldn't resist Le Grand Plateau de Fruits de Mer, stacked high with clams, oysters, crab legs, lobster and more.) Previously home to Cobalt (affiliated with the Kimpton Hotel that was here before), this was the gayest of the venues we experienced during our all-too-brief visit to Crescent City, with several tables of gay diners.