Ensconced in the university area neighborhood, Café Freret (7329 Freret St., 861-7890) is a modest eatery that boasts big portions, including an oversized muffuletta made using executive chef and owner Carl Guidroz's Sicilian family recipe.
"Our muffulettas are big, with all homemade olive salad," Guidroz says. "The breads are made for us by Leidenheimer's, and we use the best products we can get. We don't skimp."
Guidroz creates Café Freret versions of various regional classics, including what Guidroz calls New Orleans' answer to the Philly cheese steak sandwich — the Steakbomb, a po-boy packed with shredded steak and topped with Swiss cheese, sautéed onions, mushrooms and bell peppers. The Café puts its own spin on a Spanish tapas menu for its Wine Down Weekend, during which guests can purchase half-priced bottles of wine and choose from a menu of small plates. Cafe Freret has a reputation for being dog-friendly and Guidroz says he is working on a menu of dishes for dogs.
"There's no Three Dog Bakery anymore, so I looked at it as something that [the dogs] need," Guidroz says. "I came up with some recipes and gave them to some veterinarians. They're reading over them, and they're going to let me know if they approve them or not."