I had heard New Orleans was all about food…one of my favorite TV shows, After Hours with Daniel Bouloud, spent part of a season in NOLA… but I was still surprised by the amazing restaurants a group of friends and I experienced last weekend. We had three very distinct and fantastic dining experiences.
First off was August with celebrity chef John Besh at the helm. August is located in the Central Business District in a historic 19th Century building. We sat in the elegant and cosy two-story wine room complete with mahogany paneling, white tablecloths and chandeliers. Wanting to experience Besh’s culinary creations but also trying not to break the bank, I did a bit of research before the trip and found that August serves lunch on Fridays only and offers a $20.09 prix fixe. It wasn’t hard to convince my 5 companions to join me at this rate..honestly the best deal around! We started off with an amuse bouche of seafood custard with truffle oil served in an eggshell. This set the stage for three courses of french cuisine with local influences. In my post-food-coma, I remember fried lobster tail surrounded by salmon carpaccio, a shrimp and sausage stew and pastries filled with chocolate. Yummmmmm.
On the opposite end of the dining spectrum, next up was burgers at Yo Mamas, a local spot off Bourdon St known primarily as a tequila bar. The burger was hand-formed, cooked to perfection and unbelievable… and the tequila wasn’t so bad either. They were raising money for a local kids charity through a “Tequila for Tots” promotion (only in NOLA! ) Needless to say, we did our best to help out the kids…
Our final stop was in the Warehouse District. After the salesguy at a fishing tackle shop and the owner of an Italian clothing store asked “Have you been to Cochon?”, we had to check it out. Cochon (pig in French) is in a very hip rustic contemporary space in a converted warehouse space. Chef Donald Link cooks authentic Cajan cuisine with his own signature style. He has his own in-house boucherie and the homemade Boudin sausage is to die for. We started off with some of the best cocktails I’ve ever had… not too sweet and definitely original… my favorite was moonshine with blueberries and tea. Some of the highlights of the meal included fried alligator with chili garlic aioli, catfish courtbouillon, an oyster & bacon sandwich, smothered greens, oven-roasted local redfish served “fisherman’s style” and the previously mentioned fried boudin with pickled peppers. This was comfort food with a surprisingly sophisticated twist. wow. did I say… wow.
Check out the After Hours episode filmed at Cochin below.