In the New Orleans culinary scene, Brennan is a venerable name. With a portfolio of four restaurants (Tableau, Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse, Bourbon House and Palace Cafe), the Dickie Brennan Restaurant Group offers a range of options. But for people seeking dinner and a show, Tableau (616 St. Peter St., 504-934-3463; www.tableaufrenchquarter.com) is the clear choice.
Tableau shares part of a historic space with Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, the oldest surviving community theater in the U.S. Tableau is located in a corner building that dates from the 1790s. Over the years, the colonial structure has served as everything from a residence for a Spanish governor of Louisiana to barracks for Union soldiers.
In 2012, Dickie Brennan Restaurant Group and Le Petit Theatre entered an agreement. "Dickie Brennan & Co. paid $3 million to Le Petit Theatre for a portion of the under-utilized building," says Wesley Noble, marketing manager of Dickie Brennan Restaurant Group. "This payment allowed for a renovation of Le Petit Theatre and for the first time, an endowment for the nonprofit."
Although Tableau and Le Petit Theatre are independently operated, Tableau caters to Le Petit patrons, offering a three-course, prix-fixe menu for diners attending the theater. "We ask that guests arrive before 6 p.m., and we guarantee that they'll be finished before Le Petit shows start at 7:30 p.m.," says Dickie Brennan, owner and managing partner of Dickie Brennan Restaurant Group. "However, (show) tickets must be purchased through Le Petit Theatre."
Tableau serves classic Creole cuisine with modern twists. "Chef Ben Thibodeaux takes classics like oysters en brochette and tournedos Rossini and creates a more modern presentation," Brennan says. "Like skewering bacon-wrapped oysters on rosemary, broiling them and topping with roasted garlic beurre blanc."
According to Brennan, the most popular entrees are the barbecue shrimp and grits and the barbecued lamb. Tart a la bouille and monkey bread pudding are two popular desserts.
There is live music and late-night dining on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant has three floors for dining, each with a different ambience. The main dining room is on the first floor and features a bar and access to a courtyard shared by Le Petit. On the second floor, there are two private dining rooms and a bar that serves small plates and hosts a happy hour from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The third floor has two private dining rooms, one featuring floor-to-ceiling wine cases, and the other with a small balcony overlooking the courtyard.