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Gambit's 2012 Winter Restaurant Guide: Louisiana Contemporary 

5FIFTY5 New Orleans Marriott, 555 Canal St., 553-5638; www.marriott.com A fillet of wild Louisiana redfish is topped with jumbo lump crabmeat and served over spinach salad with lemon-thyme vinaigrette. The seafood gumbo is made with shrimp, crawfish, oysters, crab, andouille sausage, okra and file powder and served with a scoop of white rice, crabmeat and chopped herbs. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

7 ON FULTON Wyndham New Orleans Riverfront Hotel, 701 Convention Center Blvd., 525-7555; www.7onfulton.com Battered and fried haricots verts are served with remoulade. A traditional seafood gumbo features crabmeat, shrimp and crawfish. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

ALLEGRO BISTRO 1100 Poydras St., 582-2350; www.allegrobistro.com Paneed veal is topped with Creole mustard and crawfish hollandaise. Crawfish carbonara features penne pasta, crawfish, applewood-smoked bacon and peas tossed with cream sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

APOLLINE RESTAURANT 4729 Magazine St., 894-8881; www.apollinerestaurant.com Smoked crabmeat and apple salad includes goat cheese, honey roasted walnuts and white balsamic aioli. Grilled diver scallops are served over corn and local fava bean succotash with a bacon plank and corn puree. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

ATCHAFALAYA 901 Louisiana Ave., 891-9626; www.cafeatchafalaya.com Pan-roasted chicken breast is served with goat cheese, polenta, rapini, fra diavolo (spicy sauce) and natural jus. The crispy pork belly is served with butter beans, arugula, clams and harissa. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

BISTRO DAISY 5831 Magazine St., 899-6987; www.bistrodaisy.com The Belgian endive salad comes with julienne Gala apples, Amish blue cheese and toasted walnuts in an apple cider vinaigrette. Pan-roasted and porcini-dusted chicken is served over brioche-mushroom bread pudding and arugula with truffle oil and thyme reduction. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

BOUCHERIE 8115 Jeannette St., 862-5514; www.boucherie-nola.com Chef Nathanial Zimet opened this cozy restaurant following the success of his gourmet food truck, Que Crawl, aka the Purple Truck. The blackened shrimp and grit cake comes with warm house-made bacon vinaigrette. Boudin balls are drizzled with garlic aioli. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

BRAXTON'S RESTAURANT 636 Franklin Ave., Gretna, 301-3166; www.braxtonsnola.com A laid-back lounge ambience permeates this West Bank eatery, which features spicy house gumbo loaded with shrimp, crab, sausage and turkey necks. Blackened chicken breast is served on top of fettuccine Alfredo with salad. No reservations. Dinner and late-night Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CAFE B 2700 Metairie Road, Metairie, 934-4700; www.cafeb.com The Creole crab dip is made with a medley of Creole cream cheese, bechamel and goat cheese and is served with brioche croutons. Buttermilk fried oysters are served with horseradish cream, leeks and bacon. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

CAFE ETIENNE 423 10th St., Gretna, 309-4072; www.cafeetienne.com Locally grown green tomatoes are hand-battered, fried and topped with spicy poached shrimp with house-made remoulade. The Caeser salad features flash-grilled romaine topped with minced anchovies, lemon pickle, shaved Parmesan and house Caeser dressing. Reservations accepted. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

COCHON 930 Tchoupitoulas St., 588-2123; www.cochonrestaurant.com Cochon serves refined and innovative versions of Cajun classics. The Louisiana cochon is served with turnips, cabbage and cracklings. The braised country-style ribs are served with brown rice, pickled mushrooms and beets. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

DAKOTA 629 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 892-3712; www.restaurantcuvee.com/dakota Dakota's signature Brie soup comes with a dollop of crabmeat on top. Steen's cane syrup lacquered duck is served with a buttermilk cornmeal waffle, spring peas, carrots, creme fraiche and strawberry jam. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

DANTE'S KITCHEN 736 Dante St., 861-3121; www.danteskitchen.com House-made boudin rouge is served with a roasted garlic cracker, sauteed bell pepper, pickled watermelon and black pepper bourbon mustard. Chicken roasted under a brick is maple glazed, topped with a fried farm egg and served on a potato and bacon hash cake. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Mon., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

DICK AND JENNY'S 4501 Tchoupitoulas St., 894-9880; www.dickandjennys.com Pecan-crusted Gulf fish is topped with Creole meuniere and served with crab and truffle micro-green salad. Corn-fried Louisiana oysters are served with Southern coleslaw and remoulade. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards.  $$$

EAT NEW ORLEANS 900 Dumaine St., 522-7222; www.eatnola.com Eggs Dumaine features grillades served on an open-face biscuit topped with poached eggs and hollandaise with a side of grits. Butter roux based butterbeans are slow cooked with Gulf shrimp and served over rice. Reservations accepted. Breakfast Tue.-Fri., lunch Tue.-Sun., dinner Tue.-Sat., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

EMERIL'S 800 Tchoupitoulas St., 528-9393; www.emerils.com The menu at chef Emeril Lagasse's flagship restaurant is rooted in Louisiana cooking. Saffron- and chili-dusted jumbo shrimp are served with sweet potato corn grits, skillet beans, Benton's bacon and mango chow-chow. Escargots and Yukon Gold potato fondue is made with Amarelo cheese, chorizo and parsley and served with country bread. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

FEELINGS CAFE 2600 Chartres St., 945-2222; www.feelingscafe.com Gulf fish Nicholas is a grilled fillet brushed with Dijon mustard and served with grilled shrimp, creamed spinach and new potatoes. A 6-oz. steak is topped with blue cheese and mushrooms, and served with new potatoes and asparagus. Reservations accepted. Dinner Thu.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

HERITAGE GRILL 111 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 934-4900; www.heritagegrillmetairie.com Roasted duck and wild mushroom spring rolls are served with mirin soy dipping sauce. The hanger steak is served with red wine demi-glace, blue cheese compound butter, crisp fries and grilled asparagus. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

HOTEL MOTELEONE CAROUSEL BAR AND LOUNGE 214 Royal St., 523-3341; www.hotelmonteleone.com A menu of appetizers is available at the redesigned Carousel Bar. Artisan pizzettes are mini bagels topped with combinations such as oysters and artichoke or red beans and boudin. A small plate features beef tenderloin on crostini with caramelized cippolini onions and Humboldt Fog cheese. No reservations. Lunch daily. Credit cards. $$

JUNIPER RESTAURANT 301 Lafitte St., Mandeville, (985) 624-5330; www.juniperrestaurant.net The seafood bouillabaisse contains shrimp, scallops, clams and Gulf fish simmered in saffron Creole sauce. Braised pork shank osso buco is served with oyster-andouille dressing and Jack Daniel's cane syrup. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

K-PAUL'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN 416 Chartres St., 596-2530; www.kpauls.com Chef Paul Miller presides over the kitchen at Paul Prudhomme's landmark restaurant. Drum is blackened in a cast iron skillet and served with compound butter, potatoes and vegetables. At lunch, flash-fried oysters fill a po-boy dressed with house-made oyster mayonnaise. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

LA COTE BRASSERIE 700 Tchoupitoulas St., 613-2350; www.lacotebrasserie.com This Warehouse District brasserie features a contemporary Louisiana-inspired menu. Salmon is glazed with Tabasco and Steen's cane syrup and served with roasted mirliton and shrimp ragout. Duck and andouille sausage gumbo is served with Louisiana Jazzmen rice. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

LA PETITE GROCERY 4238 Magazine St., 891-3377; www.lapetitegrocery.com The paneed Mississippi rabbit sandwich is dressed with pimento cheese and grilled onions on multi-grain bread. Braised pork osso buco is served with stone-ground grits, kale and gremolata. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

THE LAKEHOUSE 2025 Lakeshore Drive, Mandeville, (985) 626-3006; www.lakehousecuisine.com Barbecue shrimp are served over Parmesan polenta. Seared Gulf shrimp and crab ravioli are served with pine nuts, baby spinach and truffle jus. Reservations recommended. Dinner Fri.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

LE FORET 129 Camp St., 553-6738; www.leforetneworleans.com Roasted lamb loin chops are served with Dijon spaetzle rapini carrots and lamb jus. Seared diver scallops come with cauliflower puree, carrot and frisee, warm pancetta vinaigrette and a scallop chip. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards.  $$$

LOUISIANA BISTRO 337 Dauphine St., 525-3335; www.louisianabistro.net The Dirty Bird features duck confit on dirty rice with a special sauce. The puppy drum Pontchartrain is pan-roasted puppy drum with blue crab meat and lemon-caper beurre blanc. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

M BISTRO;Ritz-Carlton, 921 Canal St., 670-2828; www.ritzcarlton.com Off the third floor lobby of the Ritz-Carlton, M Bistro offers creative and refined versions of Louisiana favorites. Red bean and rice hummus is a unique starter. Other options include jambalaya fritters and tuna tartare. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

MANNING'S 519 Fulton St., 593-8118; www.harrahsneworleans.com Named for former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning, this restaurant's game plan sticks to Louisiana flavors. A cast iron skillet-fried filet is served with two-potato hash, fried onions and Southern Comfort pan sauce. The fish and chips feature black drum crusted in Zapp's Crawtator crumbs served with Crystal beurre blanc. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

MARIGNY BRASSERIE 640 Frenchmen St., 945-4472; www.marignybrasserie.com Blackened redfish is served with a soft-shell crab and Southern fried rice with crawfish tails, all topped with crawfish cream sauce. The Frenchmen Street po-boy is filled with fried green tomatoes, fried shrimp and remoulade. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MIA'S BALCONY 1622 St. Charles Ave., 301-9570; www.miasbalcony.com Pan-seared duck breast is served with Red Stag black cherry bourbon glaze and vegetable risotto. The red drum Napoleon features lightly floured and seared layers of fish with crawfish, crabmeat and dill cream sauce over sauteed spinach. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

MILA 817 Common St., 412-2580; www.milaneworleans.com Chefs Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing update Southern and Louisiana cooking at MiLa. Deconstructed oysters Rockefeller are poached oysters served with spinach, bacon and licorice root. For dessert, try creamy rice pudding. Reservations recommended. Breakfast daily, lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

N'TINI'S 2891 Hwy. 190, Suite D, Mandeville, (985) 626-5566; www.ntinis.com The crab cake and shrimp pasta features shrimp in three-cheese Alfredo sauce topped with a lump crab cake over rotini pasta. Another popular item is the red bean and crawfish soup. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

ORLEANS GRAPEVINE WINE BAR AND BISTRO 720 Orleans Ave., 523-1930; www.orleansgrapevine.com Flounder is stuffed with Pontchartrain blue crabmeat, topped with crawfish-tasso cream sauce and served with pecan popcorn rice and baby vegetables. Herb-scented rack of lamb is topped with brandy-peppercorn glaze and served with truffled mashed potatoes and baby vegetables. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

PATOIS 6078 Laurel St., 895-9441; www.patoisnola.com  Chef Aaron Burgau offers contemporary Creole cuisine with rustic accents. Pan-seared grouper is served with crispy parsnips, wilted spinach and Pernod-scented leek and fennel oyster stew. A spiced Muscovy duck breast comes with lacinato kale, Cotechino sausage, duck confit and wild rice callas and chestnut honey reduction. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

PERE ANTOINE 741 Royal St., 581-4478; www.pereantoine.com The barbecue shrimp features shell-on shrimp sauteed in olive oil, butter and local herbs served with hot French bread for dipping. Soups include oyster and artichoke soup and gumbo. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $$

PETUNIA'S PLACE 2020 Hwy. 59, Mandeville, (985) 674-3436; www.petuniasplace.com Redfish Julia features a grilled fillet topped with creamy crawfish sauce over pasta in garlic butter. Pork tenderloin is drizzled with bourbon sauce and served with potato cakes. Reservations accepted. Lunch Thu.-Tue., dinner Thu.-Mon. Credit cards. $$

THE RED MAPLE 1036 Lafayette St., Gretna, 367-0935; www.theredmaple.com Redfish Pontchartrain is a pan-seared fillet topped with lump crabmeat and mushroom-sherry cream. Fried mirliton comes with shrimp, andouille, lump crabmeat and fried oysters in bordelaise sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards.  $$$

REDEMPTION 3835 Iberville St., 309-3570; www.redemption-nola.com Chef Greg Piccolo runs the kitchen at this restaurant located in a former church. The crispy paneed avocado cup is filled with jumbo lump crabmeat ravigote. The roasted breast of duck is served atop andouille, red onion and Louisiana yam hash and is finished with Kodota fig jus. Reservations accepted. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

RESTAURANT AUGUST 301 Tchoupitoulas St., 299-9777; www.restaurantaugust.com Chef John Besh's flagship restaurant provides an elegant setting for his contemporary Louisiana cooking. Signature house-made gnocchi are tossed with blue crab and Perigord truffles. The breaded trout Pontchartrain is served with mushrooms, lump crabmeat and hollandaise. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

RESTAURANT CYPRESS 4426 Transcontinental Drive, Metairie, 885-6885; www.restaurantcypress.com The rabbit sauce piquant combines farm-raised rabbit stewed with onions, peppers and celery in spicy tomato broth and served with Andouille rice pilaf and baby beans. Pan-sauteed veal is layered with portobello-crabmeat dressing and topped with sherry beurre blanc. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

RIB ROOM 621 St. Louis St., 529-7046; www.ribroomneworleans.com Chef Rene Bajeux is at the helm of this French Quarter institution. Entrees include prime rib and meats cooked on the rotisserie. Roasted prime rib is crusted with herbs and sea salt and served au jus. Seared Gulf tuna features shiitake mushrooms, arugula, braised fennel, pasta, tomato and saffron oil. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

SAL & JUDY'S RESTAURANT 27491 Hwy. 190, Lacombe, (985) 882-9443; www.salandjudys.com Chef Sal Impastato's spitini features thin-sliced pork wrapped around ham, provolone cheese and tomato-basil relish and is topped with sauteed mushrooms. Trout amandine is served with salad and green beans. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sun., dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

THE SAZERAC RESTAURANT Roosevelt Hotel, 123 Baronne St., 648-5486; www.thero-oseveltneworleans.com Shrimp foie gras dumplings are served with Southern greens, garlic oil and cane vinegar dipping sauce. Crispy sweet breads and waffles is served with Smithfield ham, a sunny-side-up quail egg and maple demi-glace. Reservations accepted. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

SUGAR HOUSE Embassy Suites, 315 Julia St., 525-1993; www.embassy-neworleans.com Popular menu items include gumbo, crawfish etouffee, shrimp and grits and the seafood platter filled with shrimp, oysters, crawfish and a soft-shell crab. Baby back ribs are served by the half or full rack. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

TOUT DE SUITE CAFE 347 Verret St., 362-2264 The Atchafalaya is a grilled buttermilk biscuit topped with crawfish etouffee, poached eggs and sauce piquant. Pain perdu features almond-crusted brioche topped with orange zest and maple syrup. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

VACHERIE Hotel Ste. Marie, 827 1/2 Toulouse St., 207-4532; www.vacherierestaurant.com Vacherie's updated Louisiana cuisine includes a fritatta of Louisiana crawfish, fontina cheese and green onions cooked to order in an iron skillet. The rabbit cassoulet features braised rabbit with white beans, leeks, carrots and gravy and is served with smothered collard greens with smoked pork belly. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

THE VERANDA AT THE INTERCONTINENTAL NEW ORLEANS 444 St. Charles Ave., 585-4383; www.ihg.com The Veranda serves Louisiana-inspired dishes such as gumbo ya ya, made with shrimp, crawfish, sausage and okra. Shrimp and grits features shrimp sauteed with Abita Turbodog. Reservations accepted. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

VIZARD'S 5015 Magazine St., 895-2246; www.vizards.net For a starter crabmeat Nelson features crispy eggplant topped with jumbo lump crabmeat, crimini mushrooms, green onions and bearnaise. Grilled redfish is served with haricots verts, rice callas and tomato beurre blanc. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$ 

WATER STREET BISTRO 804 Water St., Madisonville, (985) 845-3855; www.waterstreetbistro.com Roast duck is topped with scallions and toasted pecans and served with fig and port compote. Gulf shrimp are sauteed in olive oil with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, garlic, artichoke hearts, leeks, red onion and capers. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$$

ZOE RESTAURANT W Hotel, 333 Poydras St., 525-9444; www.wneworleans.com Zoe's contemporary Louisiana cuisine includes dishes like New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp served over a stone-ground grit cake. A crawfish quesadilla includes caramelized onions and peppers, pepper Jack cheese and chilled sauce piquant. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

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