Monday, August 23, 2010

The Post-Katrina Top 20: #10 - #6

We have cracked the Top 10 in our survey of the best new food and beverage improvements in post-K New Orleans. If you missed #20 through #11, you can find them here.

#10: Patois - If success were measured by TV face time, Patois would be the highest rated restaurant in the Michelin guide. But before every character on Treme was vying for a table at Desautel's, owners Leon & Pierre Touzet and Chef Aaron Burgau won the affection of diners with this local dialect of French cuisine. Like so many restaurants these days, the menu at Patois is subject to the seasons. Pheasant, duck, and rabbit are mainstays treated with different interpretations, while the popularity of the grilled lamb ribs have assured that dish will remain the same for a long, long time. Patois has also expanded locals' options for a casual yet refined brunch, when the offerings reach far beyond eggs benedict, such as the egg, pork belly, and fried green tomato sandwich.

#9: Rare Cuts - Ordering a steak at a restaurant seems an exercise in futility. Most steaks require little more than salt, pepper, and high heat to turn out an impeccable product. Saying, "Filet, medium-rare" doesn't give us an opportunity to really grade the kitchen. But we still love meat which is why we can't get enough of the thick, dry aged rib eyes from Rare Cuts. Look, you returned from Katrina. Rebuilt your house. Installed a chef's dream kitchen with granite counter tops, Sub Zero appliances, and a Viking range that would make Thomas Keller weep. Let Rare Cuts help you put that kitchen to good use. Choice and Prime steaks, lamb, pork, chicken, foie gras, and more abound at this meatporium. Three locations, Mandeville, River Ridge, and Uptown (Nashville and Magazine) mean you are never a far drive from a great cut of meat.

#8: Green Goddess - From a carnivore's dream to a whimsical place where vegetarians and omnivores can coexist in harmony. Inside a tiny space on Exchange Alley, Chefs Chris DeBarr and Paul Artigues draw from both local influences and their own worldly travels. From India to England and Vietnam to Acadiana, the menu knows no boundaries. And with an original cocktail menu, extensive wine list, and full cheese tasting to boot, The Green Goddess rivals nearly any fine dining experience in the city.

#7: Le Foret - Chances are, given the uncertain state of the economy, you have cut back your dining budget. Maybe you are cooking at home more, roasting your own chickens and pureeing potatoes. So dining at another "casual" dining spot featuring comfort food does not seem to be a good use of that shrinking dining budget. Enter Le Foret, the newest member of the pantheon of top fine dining in New Orleans (other members, Stella! Herbsaint, and August). Remember when you were a kid and your parents would go out to dinner? It seemed magical, special. They would get dressed up, eat at fancy sounding places, and come home giggling. A night on the town means something again as Le Foret recaptures the celebratory, magical element of dining out. At Le Foret you will dine on foie gras souffles floating in a glass smooth puree of butternut squash. Or a plate of escargot topped by a crown of puff pastry. The chef's tasting is the best bet in order to allow you to experience the full panoply of Certified Master Chef Jimmy Corwell's talents. Plus, when you leave the hostess will slip you a little cellophane package filled with a Madeleine. It is enough to make you giggle all the way home.

#6: Boucherie - White table cloths and $30 entrees be damned, Chef Nathaniel Zimet took his mobile Que Crawl concept to brick-and-mortar when he took over the former location of Iris on Jeannette Street. After originally focusing primarily on smoked meats, the menu at Boucherie has since expanded into far East flavors like curry leaf marinated duck breats and grilled yoghurt marinated paneer in curry. But Zimet's long time fans need not fret, because classics like parmesan and garlic butter fries, the pulled pork cake, and Krispy Kreme bread pudding still stand strong on the menu.


Anonymous said...

I see Coquette getting dissed. Here's to Momofuko on the Mississippi getting top billing. Who will claim two in the top 5, Besh or Garcia? The suspense is killing me.

Rene said...

Of course there isn't much suspense in general. There have been a few big names in New Orleans post Katrina. That said, you may just be surprised at who gains the crown.

Donnie Boy Riguez said...

I've got some inside scoop. Here's what I'm hearing from my sources:

#1 - Tom Fitzmorris Supper Club
#2 - The Rebirth of Poor Boys

Clay said...

Thank you for doing this series. I'm so glad someone is doing it.

Green Goddess... Wow. One of the reasons I love it so much is that you can just walk in there in flip flops. I'm almost always in a dress up to go out mood, especially for high end stuff, but there's a niche for showing up in ratty blue jeans for fine dining. It was a niche that didn't exist. Pre-Katrina, that was sort of Mandina's, but after the storm, they up their prices and they actually cleaned the joint up!