|Photo by renee b. photography.|
"I want to know why people think Sylvain is the best thing since sliced bread," he said. "I've been there - dig the atmosphere, the food's solid, but not something I'd write home about."
The fact that he brought up Sylvain was quite coincidental, considering that the Quarter gastropub/restaurant was the subject of our Dining Out column in this month's issue of OffBeat Magazine, which had just hit the presses a few days before.
The reasons that we chose to review Sylvain for this particular month are indicative of its popularity, in my opinion. April, as we all know, is the time of year when the Vieux Carre swells to capacity with tourists and locals packing the streets for the long Easter weekend, French Quarter Fest, multiple conventions, and Jazz Fest evening celebrations. Anticipating these crowds, our editor always encourages us to choose a restaurant in the Quarter to review for April issue. And considering the state of mind (sunburn and inebriated) and dress (shorts and sandals) of most potential restaurant patrons during this time of year, we seek out more casual spots in the Quarter befitting of the typical reader.
The problem is: How many casual restaurants in the Quarter offer food worth writing about? When you are too dressed down to dine at Bayona or Galatoire's but not drunk enough to consider eating at the River's Edge or Bubba Gump's Shrimp Company, what are your choices?
In recent years several restaurants have stepped up to fill in this gap in the French Quarter dining scene - Green Goddess, El Gato Negro, and Sylvain, to name a few. The fact that all of the above examples offer menus which do not include gumbo, jambalaya, or shrimp remoulade is further justification that not every diner is in search of typical creole fare. But they all serve solid (or in Green Goddess' case, borderline excellent) food at reasonable prices in a unique and interesting atmosphere.
Not exactly a shocking recipe for success.
625 Chartres Street
Fri-Sat: 11:30am-2:30pm; 5:30pm-12:00pm
Sun: 10:30am-2:30pm (Brunch); 5:30pm-10:00pm