For my first post, I figured I would stay close to home and fill you in on some new happenings in The Big Easy. Not surprisingly, for a city known as a cuisine capital of the world, New Orleans recently hit the 1,400-restaurant mark—that’s nearly 600 more restaurants than what the city had prior to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Even cooler, National Geographic Traveler has named New Orleans as one of 21 must-see destinations in the world for 2014. (And, it was one of only two U.S. cities to make the list.) So, if you’re a foodie, this is one place to add to your must-visit (often) list.
GRAB A BITE
Patrick and Rebecca Singley, the husband-wife owners of famed New Orleans restaurant Gautreau’s, recently resurrected Marti’s on the corner of North Rampart and Dumaine streets in the French Quarter. This legendary restaurant, which closed in 1988, is new again thanks to modern design updates, and bold and rustic bistro fare from chef Drew Lockett. Grab a seat at the bar, and enjoy a Pimm’s Cup or Sazerac paired with small plates (think sautéed blue crab claws and grilled rabbit sausages), or a seat in the dining room for a plate of seared Columbia River king salmon. Oh, and don’t forget the impressive raw bar. 1041 Dumaine St., 504.522.5478
This sleek new steakhouse in the French Quarter features an in-house butcher shop (yum!) and an extensive wine list (yummier!). Go for the apps (like the Chateaubriand tartare with smoked paprika, shallots, capers, Dijon mustard and quail yolk) and stay for the main course (like the veal cheek braised in red wine and root vegetables with truffled polenta, champignons and pearl onions). Or, order from the butcher’s block and try the bone-in ribeye, cap off selection. This is one hot restaurant that can’t be missed if you’re in the mood for dry-aged beef and a taste of the Mediterranean. 620 Chartres St., 504.267.3500
Cajun Vietnamese is all the rage right now, and MoPho (located in Mid-City) is the new up-and-comer. Its fusion menu consists of items like bánh mì-inspired Po-Boys (try the sloppy roast duck) and pho with head cheese. The chef, Michael Gulotta, came from John Besh’s Restaurant August, so you know it’s good. Be sure to check out the outdoor deck and the fine array of spiked bubble teas. 514 City Park Ave., 504.482.6845
For a truly luxe (and exclusive) dining experience, try Square Root. There are only 32 seats available each night, and the only option is an avant-garde chef’s tasting menu. The meal on any given night is based on ingredients at their peak, and the menu is determined prior to your arrival. Just contact the restaurant 48 hours in advance of your reservation to make sure any food allergies or restrictions are addressed. And don’t miss the killer cocktails! 1800 Magazine St., 504.309.7800
Check back next week for tasty tidbits on the New Orleans cocktail scene!