Magical Meals - Page 2
A dining guide to New Orleans
A dining guide to New Orleans
Posted Sat, 05/28/2011 - 10:57
Tapas at RioMar
Dining room at Luke
The author on the patio of Green Goddess
Chefs Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing are a husband-and-wife team from Mississippi and Louisiana, respectively, so the restaurant’s name is a hybrid of their home states. She was named the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2004. The five-pouched-oyster appetizer is amazing, and the vanilla bean rice pudding is the best I have ever eaten. And at $20, the three-course lunch is a bargain. 817 Common St. (in the Pere Marquette Hotel). 504-412-2580. L Mon.–Fri., D Mon.–Sat. $$$.
French Quarter (“Vieux Carre”)
Settled in 1718, this is the first neighborhood of New Orleans. It is contained by Esplanade, Canal, Rampart, and the river. There are more than 130 restaurants here, and most are excellent (but beware of tourist traps in this hood).
Acme Oyster House
I never liked oysters until moving to New Orleans. But people around here prize their salty bivalves, and ever since I gave them another try at Acme I’ve been hooked. Acme is just about everyone’s favorite, though, so get here early or prepare to wait in a very long line. My family loves the chargrilled oysters—placed directly in the coals and cooked in their shells. A dozen never seems enough, but I also sop up lots of the cheesy butter with the great French table bread. The raw oysters are first-rate also. The best seats in the house are at the marble countertop bar, where you can get a close-up view of the shucker’s floor show. 724 Iberville. 504-522-5973. L,D daily. $$.
Antoine Alciatore founded his restaurant in 1840, shortly after arriving from France. Today it is still run by his descendants, making it the oldest restaurant in America owned by a single family. Six U.S. presidents, a pope, and countless celebrities have dined here. The menu used to be entirely in French, but recently they started accommodating Americans with some English translations. Required eating is the Oysters Rockefeller, which was invented here in 1889. Antoine's also invented my all-time-favorite egg dish, Eggs Sardou. 713 St. Louis. 504-581-4422. L, D Mon.–Sat., jazz brunch Sun. $$$$.
Founded in 1918 by a French native, this is a shrine to golden age French Quarter restaurants that still delivers a great meal. Start at the French 75 bar with its eponymous champagne-based signature cocktail. After your meal, ask to have the flaming café brûlot made in front of you; it is high performance art. 813 Bienville. 504-523-5433. D daily, jazz brunch Sun. $$$$.
I love the courtyard, which is one of the city’s very best. The food is excellent also. 912 Royal. 504-412-8965. L, D Thu.–Sat., brunch Sun. $$$.
Café Du Monde
No menu here—just great coffee and the best beignets (French donuts) in town. Café Du Monde is one of the rare places loved by locals and tourists with the same intensity. A century before most cities had coffee shops, this was a place to drink café au lait and hold court on the patio for hours at a time. 800 Decatur. 504-525-4544. Open 24/7. $. Cash only.
This is the place where Sicilian immigrants invented the muffuletta in 1906. The lines can be long, but they move fast. The sandwiches are worth the wait, and always served to-go. 923 Decatur. 504-523-1620. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Tues.–Sat. $.
Where else but New Orleans can you find a gritty little dinner where the waiters dance and sing show tunes? 900 Bourbon. 504-598-1010. Open 24/7. $.
New Orleans has a lot of truly wonderful patisseries, but this is my favorite. The setting is unbeatable, with stained glass and ancient painted plaster crown molding. Still intact are the 19th-century green mosaic tiles on the sidewalk outside differentiating the “ladies’” entrance from the “gentlemen’s.” 617 Ursulines Ave. 504-524-4663. B, L Wed.–Mon. $.
I’m normally with Fran Lebowitz: “Brown rice is ponderous, chewy, and possessed of unpleasant religious overtones.” But this place makes me want to go vegetarian more often! (Although it does have some great meat dishes too). After a few days of heavy New Orleans food, full of rich creams and butter, you may want a light cleanse at this place. 307 Exchange Place. 504-301-3347. L Wed.–Mon., D Thu.–Sun. $$.
This is a small, unassuming place with an utterly forgettable name, but you will never forget your meal here. For the three-course “Feed Me!” the chef asked us a few questions and then we trusted him to surprise us. He brought crawfish beignets, swordfish over greens with pot liquor, and buffalo short ribs—truly amazing. 337 Dauphine. 504-525-3335. D Wed.–Sun. $$$.