Monday, August 16, 2010

The Post-Katrina Top 20: #15 - #11

We start off this week with the continuation of our countdown of the Top 20 new and improved food and beverage accomplishments in post-Katrina New Orleans. If you missed #20-#16, click here.

#15: Stein's Deli - Sometimes things just make sense. Dan Stein realized New Orleans did not need another po boy shop. What it did need was a New York/Philadelphia/Jewish Delicatessen with an amazing beer selection and an attitude to match. In February 2007, Stein and partner Andre Moreau found a sliver of space on Magazine and crammed it to the rafters with fine meats, stinky cheeses, beer, hard cider, and other hard to find food items. But the true genius is in their sandwiches. Philly cheesesteaks, Reuben's, Chicago beefs, Fernandos, and Kellys have made this place a regular in our rotation. Plus, it is a great place to tell Mike Vick jokes.

#14: MiLa - While Mississippi and Louisiana were fighting over recovery dollars, Chefs Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing were marrying the cuisines of their respective home states in what's still the best and most over-looked hotel restaurant in the city. If we could only eat one dish before we die, then we choose MiLa's pan-roasted sweetbreads over truffled grits with bacon jus. The $20 lunch special is the value of the decade, well besides that Tiger Woods stock we bought last August.

#13: Mahony's Po-Boy Shop - After he simply could not rid himself of the memory of a few bogey po-boy experiences, Chef Ben Wicks decided to open up his own place in homage to the po-boy shops which he grew up with. At Mahony's, the kitchen cooks everything from scratch and does well by both the classics (like pot-roast style roast beef and fried oysters) to the avant garde (like fried chicken livers with cole slaw). Throw in the sensational shaved onion rings and an cold draft Abita root beer, and you have shining beacon of hope for the continuation of the po-boy tradition.

#12: Bistro Daisy - When Chef Anton Schulte left La Petite Grocery, his fans wondered (a) where he would end up next and (b) if he could replicate that soft and magical touch elsewhere. The Chef and his wife Diane went two-for-two when they opened their own bistro inside this old shotgun on Magazine Street. Now the name "Daisy" will always be synonymous with both their daughter and the artful salad of fresh mozzarella and roasted yellow peppers. The crawfish and mascarpone ravioli garners most of the well-deserved praise, but the lamb strip and parmesan risotto should not be overlooked either.

#11: NOLA Brew - After dealing with the hassles of insurance adjusters, contractors, and bureaucrats, Kirk Coco and Peter Caddo knew that what New Orleans really needed was a drink. So they set up a brewery in a warehouse on Tchoupitoulas and started brewing beer. Sound crazy? Well, maybe it is. But there is no denying the goodness of their NOLA Brown with a roast beef po-boy or the Seventh Street Wheat with a bowl of Vietnamese chargrilled pork. With the exile of Dixie, New Orleans once again has a beer to call their own.

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