In a city where speakeasies, pop-ups and impromptu supper clubs can grab the attention of diners, a new spot opened quietly on the edge of the 9th Ward.
(1117 Montegut St.) opened in November on a quiet stretch of Montegut Street, though news of the opening was only first reported this week
, and the owners have so far eschewed publicity, giving the spot a reputation of being the neighborhood's best-kept secret.
N7 might no longer be a secret, but the French bar and restaurant just steps off St. Claude Avenue is easy to miss — a red stenciled sign adorning a wooden gate is the only indication of what lies behind the tall fence shielding the building, which used to house a tire shop, and before that, a horse stable.
The restaurant’s name stems from France’s Route Nationale 7, the highway that stretches from Paris to the Cote d’Azur, frequented by city dwellers heading south for the summer. Inside the space, a few smaller, cozy rooms include all the hallmarks of a quant roadside bistro, including dusty mirrors hanging on the walls, a distressed copper bar and dim lighting that immediately feels romantic and inviting.
The menu, too, is overwhelmingly French: Mussels are served swimming in garlic and white wine, pommes frites are accompanied by lemony aioli, and a chalkboard lists a daily selection of cheese, the only dessert option on the menu. What stands out even more might be the spot’s warm embrace of canned seafood – including a selection of roughly 10 types of fish and bivalves, including Portuguese mackerel, sardines from France, Spanish squid and smoked oysters from Washington State.
Slight Japanese accents round out the diminutive menu, including a tartine of sake-cured salmon and pork katsu. The wine list is mostly European and predominantly French and a small bar includes a collection of select liqueurs, sakes and shochu.
N7 is open Monday through Saturday for dinner, beginning at 6 p.m.