Soft-Shell Crab Grenobloise @ Cafe Lynn
~ 500 Best Dishes

Soft-Shell Crab Grenobloise @ Cafe Lynn

500BestSquare The food at CafĂ© Lynn has always been solid, even during the years when it worked out of a former Burger King. (It’s in a comfortable bistro-style space, now.) Owner and chef Joey Najolia learned his strokes during years of work as chef de cuisine at La Provence, and his menu is sprinkled with flavors from that part of France, blended with new Orleans qualities, too. “Grenobloise” in classic French cooking refers to dishes sauce with butter and capers, and that’s exactly what we have here. When soft shell crabs are available–and Chef Joey usually does find them–they come out with a thin, crisp, golden crust and a tang from not only the capers but the vinegar in which they were cured. If big crabs can’t be found, you get two medium-sized softies, with no diminution of enjoyment. Read entire article.

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Bouillabaisse
~ 500 Best Dishes

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse @ Bistro Daisy Bouillabaisse has never had a strong hold on the menus of New Orleans. Its popularity swells and then ebbs, such that it becomes a rarity at times. We are in one of those low points on the graph, and left with only a few versions to choose from. That’s necessary, because among the most interesting aspects of this semi-soup, demi-stew dish is that it’s made differently by almost each chef that takes a shot at it. Right now, Bistro Daisy has one of the most reliable…

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Fried Eggplant @ Galatoire’s
~ 500 Best Dishes

Fried Eggplant @ Galatoire’s

How did the custom begin of having fried eggplant sticks at Galatoire’s? And why are they served with powdered sugar on the side? The answers: fried eggplant (or fried anything, really, including soufflee potatoes) are great with cocktails. And everybody drinks cocktails at Galatoire’s. And eggplants are sometimes a little bitter, and the powdered sugar takes the edge off. They’re seasoned nicely but fried in such a way that they come out a little limp. Before that bothers you, take another sip of that Sazerac on the rocks they serve. Read More. . .

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Lemon Ice Box Pie @ Clancy’s
* Red Bean Edition

Lemon Ice Box Pie @ Clancy’s

500BestSquare All of Clancy’s desserts are understated and simple. No flaming, no spun sugar, hardly even any layers. This nice little tart is the restaurant’s most talked-about ending course. Simple, but perfect: a lovely little pie with a rich custard and the ideal lemon component to balance off the sugar. Very good with a glass of Sauternes or Auslese. Read entire article.

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Carnitas @ El Mesquite Mexican Grill
~ 500 Best Dishes

Carnitas @ El Mesquite Mexican Grill

500BestSquare Carnitas is roast pork cooked slowly until it’s so dense that it’s almost hard. In the process, the fat and cartilage in the meat brings the flavor of the lean (and it’s all lean when it arrives) to a high pitch. It’s identified more with Cuban cooking than Mexican, but that doesn’t stop El Mesquite–the best of the West Bank’s many Hispanic restaurants–from turning out a great version. More about this dish. . .

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Duck Tchoupitoulas @ Tommy’s
~ 500 Best Dishes

Duck Tchoupitoulas @ Tommy’s

500BestSquare In an era when most duck dishes consist of either the grilled breast or the confit of leg, the duck at Tommy’s is unusual in being a half duck, still in one piece. It’s roasted to a crisp skin and a tender interior and fills a plate grandly. Also on there is a slightly sweet, slightly peppery sauce sharpened with vinegar and raspberries. The whole thing is underlined with fresh spinach, and there’s wild rice on the side. In other words, it’s the kind of duck dish that was almost universal twenty years ago. It’s great to know a few places that still roast duck that way. Tommy Andrade’s excellent Creole and Italian restaurant is the best. More about this dish. . .

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Spinach Pie @ Byblos
* NOMenu.com

Spinach Pie @ Byblos

500BestSquare Spinach pie is better identified as a Greek dish than as a Lebanese one. But the cuisines are related, and the way Byblos makes it seems Greek to me. The lightness is the key. Both the phyllo pastry and the spinach-and-feta filling are puffy, lacking the heaviness we sometimes find in other versions. All the flavors are in balance. The portion is large enough almost to make an entree. More about this dish. . .

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Crab On Crab @ Cafe B
~ 500 Best Dishes

Crab On Crab @ Cafe B

500BestSquare This is almost too elegant for the neighborhood cafe this place set out to be. The pasta is made in house, the seafood inside is vivid, and the sauce–a cream sharpened by Champagne–is suave. As if it needed it, a small spoonful of Louisiana caviar (a great product) goes over the top. The dish is older than the restaurant, having come from owner Ralph Brennan’s Bacco, which is in limbo at the moment. More about this dish. . .

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Smoked Salmon And Bagel @ Stein’s Deli
~ 500 Best Dishes

Smoked Salmon And Bagel @ Stein’s Deli

500BestSquare In this well-worn deli, the refrigerator cases are full of meats from both the Jewish and Italian traditions, and are as fine as can be found locally. This is also true of the breads, which becomes a godsend when one has grown up eating New York bagels and has a hankering for them. New Orleans has as few good sources of excellent bagels as New York has poor boy bread bakers. Dan Stein brings his bagels in from New York regularly. Add the silky smoked salmon and the usual accoutrements, close your eyes, and pretend you’re in the Apple. It almost works. More about this dish. . .

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Char-Broiled Oysters @ Drago’s
~ 500 Best Dishes

Char-Broiled Oysters @ Drago’s

500BestSquare It’s a simple dish, a fact that kept fancy restaurants from offering it until the dish became such a phenomenon that almost any restaurant with a local theme had to add it to the menu. Shucking oysters is the first step, and most chefs don’t want any part of that. So it fell to the city’s great oyster specialist to create and serve them, by the hundreds of sacks per week, to people willing to wait quite some time for them. Are they really as good as all that? Yes. Why? Because the oysters are so good. Which also explains why other restaurants never quite get it up to Drago’s standard.

In the unlikely case that you never had them before, Drago’s char-broiled oysters are shucked fresh, blasted by fire and steam on an open grill, basted with a lot of garlic-herb butter, dusted with Parmigiano cheese, and left on the grill till the juices bubble. Simple, yes. But so good that you can eat dozens of them and still want more.

The dish really ought to have a name as distinctive as its flavor. And that name ought to be oysters Drago. Restaurants that serve it ought to give credit to the originator. It’s not like Drago’s isn’t a major presence in the local dining scene. Read entire article.

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Roast Lamb Leg With Hummus @ Mona’s Cafe
~ 500 Best Dishes

Roast Lamb Leg With Hummus @ Mona’s Cafe

500BestSquare Although hummus is thought of as a dip or spread, it is also commonly used in Middle Eastern restaurants as a sauce, usually on roast lamb served in large cubes. Mona’s–which I think makes the town’s best hummus–they make an interesting variation on this with ground lamb and beef mixed together, made into patties and grilled. The sauce for this is sort of hummus without the chickpeas–just the sesame-seed paste called tahini, with some oil and lemon juice. More about this dish. . .

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Crabtini @ Ruth’s Chris Steak House
~ 500 Best Dishes

Crabtini @ Ruth’s Chris Steak House

500BestSquare You can guess from the name that this is a martini glass (the only martini ingredient in play) filled with extraordinarily large lumps of crabmeat, first wetted down with a vinaigrette, then topped with the mayonnaise-based remoulade sauce. The only problem with this is that the corporate spec is not for local crabmeat. But good is good, and this is. More about this dish. . .

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Triple Crab Stack @ La Thai Cuisine
~ 500 Best Dishes

Triple Crab Stack @ La Thai Cuisine

Crab Stack In Three Layers @ La Thai Cuisine This sounds irresistible and insane at the same time. It works because La Thai is as much a Louisiana-style restaurant as a Thai explorer. And because this is a tower of crabmeat. . . and how far wrong could you go with that? The tower begins with a crab cake, forming the foundation. Then a soft-shell crab mounts the stack, to be topped with jumbo lump crabmeat. A Thai-style chili glaze amplifies all the flavors. For crab fanatics with exotic tastes….

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Crab Stack @ La Thai Cuisine
~ 500 Best Dishes

Crab Stack @ La Thai Cuisine

500BestSquare This sounds irresistible and insane at the same time. It works, because it’s basically all crabmeat, but in several forms. It starts with a soft-shell crab, topped with jumbo lump crabmeat. Nothing too far out. But than here’s a crab cake underneath that. And a Thai-style chili glaze amplifies all the flavors. For crab fanatics with good taste. Read More. . .

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Lasagna @ Katie’s
~ 500 Best Dishes

Lasagna @ Katie’s

500BestSquare Through most of recorded history, lasagna was made in a large baking dish, the better for the sheets of pasta, layers and cheese and meat, and flowing tomato sauce to bake to lusciousness. The problem with this for restaurants is that a large number of orders must be made at one time, and held until an order for lasagna comes in. Katie’s got around this by. . . More about this dish. . .

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Lasagna @ Gio’s Villa Vancheri
~ 500 Best Dishes

Lasagna @ Gio’s Villa Vancheri

Lasagna is something you have to be in the mood for. And very hungry. Attached to the concept of layered pasta, cheese, meat (maybe) and red sauce is the corollary that it must be served in a portion so big that only a laborer or a twenty-year-old man can finish it. Even if you can’t eat that much, you feel cheated if the lasagna is smaller than brick. That brings a degree of grossness to the dish, and most makers don’t get past it. Chef Giovanni Vancheri manages to keep it elegant without mini-sizing the slab. More about this dish. . .

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Double-Cut Pork Chop @ Rue 127
~ 500 Best Dishes

Double-Cut Pork Chop @ Rue 127

500BestSquare My favorite entree at this compact but excellent Mid-City bistro is a thick slab of bone-in pork loin. The menu makes no claim for its source–it’s not from a Mangalitsa or Kurabuta pig. It’s lean and beautifully trimmed. Yet it lacks nothing in its flavor. Could win against the pedigreed chops in a blind tasting. More about this dish. . .

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Vichyssoise @ Antoine’s
~ 500 Best Dishes

Vichyssoise @ Antoine’s

The last place that served vichyssoise in the classic manner was Antoine’s. The bowl of soup came out resting on a bed of ice held up by an ornate utensil used for nothing else. But the flavor was even better. This was an unusually rich version of the soup, including a bit of sour cream in the recipe. Vichyssoise was a victim of the paring-down of Antoine’s formerly 130-dish-plus menu following Katrina. But they haven’t forgotten it. It’s currently on the new summer lunch menu, part of the $20.14. three-course lunch. Great soup, one we don’t encounter often. Read More. . .

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Pate Maison @ La Provence
~ 500 Best Dishes

Pate Maison @ La Provence

500BestSquare During the years immediately following John Besh’s purchase of La Provence from his mentor Chris Kerageorgiou, the chefs who came and went kept trying to distance themselves from Chris’s old house pate. made mostly of chicken livers and butter, it came to the table complimentary. It wasn’t a brilliant pate, but it sure was good, and it’s hard to argue with free. The customers, however, would not hear of the departure of the pate, no matter how good the replacement was. Current chef Erik Loos went along and restored the stuff to tables. Still free. More about this dish. . .

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Oysters Slessinger @ Katie’s
~ 500 Best Dishes

Oysters Slessinger @ Katie’s

500BestSquare One of the major additions to the kitchen and the menu when Katie’s reopened (five years after Katrina shut it down) was an oyster-shucking operation. And as has been the case in restaurants with oyster bars, Katie’s installed an array of grilled oyster dishes, of which this one is best. The bivalves get grilled on their half-shells with a topping of bacon, spinach, shrimp and Provel cheese. Read entire article.

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Oysters Anthony @ Bosco’s
~ 500 Best Dishes

Oysters Anthony @ Bosco’s

500BestSquare Almost every Italian restaurant in town makes its version of Italian-style baked oysters, topped with the familiar mixture of bread crumbs, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and herbs. A few of them add their own unique touch to the dish, as Tony Bosco does when he scatters some thinly-sliced ham into the topping. A little extra red pepper, too. More about this dish. . .

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Spanakopita @ Acropolis Cuisine
~ 500 Best Dishes

Spanakopita @ Acropolis Cuisine

We don’t have many Greek restaurants in New Orleans, but this one keeps us from starving to death while hoping for more of them. The cooking is homestyle and yet polished. There’s no better example of that than the spinach and cheese pie. Its flavor is full and wonderful, while at the same time the lightness of the dish makes it irresistible. Read More. . .

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Pizza @ Ciro’s Cote Sud
~ 500 Best Dishes

Pizza @ Ciro’s Cote Sud

500BestSquare The pizzas are New York-style pies with thin crusts with a thinner crisp layer at the bottom. The sauce is lusty in its use of garlic and herbs, and the cheese and toppings are first-class. The funny thing is that the owners had no intention of serving pizza when they took over the old pizzeria with the idea of serving French bistro food. . . More about this dish. . .

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Panneed Eggplant @ Corner Cafe
~ 500 Best Dishes

Panneed Eggplant @ Corner Cafe

500BestSquare Lots of restaurants serve panneed eggplant sticks or rounds. They tend to be either Italian cafes, neighborhood places, or Galatoire’s. The eggplant, more often than not, suffers from the propensity of eggplant to soak up a lot of oil. But some restaurants get it right, as this little, slightly scruffy, well-named eatery does. More about this dish. . .

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Banana Cream Pie @ Emeril’s
~ 500 Best Dishes

Banana Cream Pie @ Emeril’s

When Emeril’s first opened in 1990, it enjoyed the services of a pastry chef who went by the name of Mr. Lou. He came with Emeril from Commander’s, and stayed a few more years until he retired. The banana cream pie served Emeril’s was a collaboration between Emeril and Mr. Lou. It is insanely rich, with nearly a quart of heavy whipping cream in every pie. Not something to eat often, but a fantastic treat when you do. Read More. . .

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Barbecue Shrimp @ Mr. B’s Bistro
~ 500 Best Dishes

Barbecue Shrimp @ Mr. B’s Bistro

500BestSquare Pascal’s Manale’s original barbecue shrimp recipe is still good. But Manale’s can’t really change its recipe, even for an improvement. Mr. B’s was not under such a restriction when Chef Gerard Maras, intrigued by the possibilities, changed the dish just enough. He cooked it more or less in the standard way, but at the last minute before serving emulsified some additional butter into the sauce. That not only made it look better, but it gave the sauce an even greater flavor release. More about this dish. . .

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Oven-Roasted Turkey, Dressing, Gravy, And Vegetables.
~ 500 Best Dishes

Oven-Roasted Turkey, Dressing, Gravy, And Vegetables.

Oven-Roasted Turkey, With Stuffing, Gravy, And Trimmings. @ Joey K’s Joey K’s was on the front lines in the crusade to save the big-menu neighborhood restaurant. Its menu still contains the familiar dishes from the 1960s and before. They cook all of this as well as it ever has been, without a hint of irony or fakery. The dish that proves this most convincingly is the roast turkey with dressings, exactly the way it’s done on Thanksgiving. Indeed, why do so few restaurants serve turkey except during the holidays? Why…

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Seared Duck Breast @ Boucherie
~ 500 Best Dishes

Seared Duck Breast @ Boucherie

500BestSquare Boucherie has elements both of a gourmet bistro and of a barbecue joint. One thing’s for sure: they know how to create exciting dishes with red meats and birds. Their duck entree is an especially good manifestation of that theory, crisp on the outside and juicy within. From what they find in the farmer’s markets they make a succotash with a nice crunch and vividly fresh flavor. The final touch is a sort of pesto made with almonds and dried fruits. Yum, More about this dish. . .

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Stuffed Mushrooms @ Fausto’s
~ 500 Best Dishes

Stuffed Mushrooms @ Fausto’s

500BestSquare Fausto’s stuffed mushrooms are not only the most delicious I’ve ever encountered, but they come close to winning the size contest, too. An appetizer is enough for two. Despite that, they are entirely elegant, both in the lightness of the crab-lump-riddled stuffing and the lemon butter sauce.. . More about this dish. . .

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Turtle Soup @ Cafe Sbisa.

Turtle Soup @ Cafe Sbisa Founded in the early 1800s as a neighborhood cafe, coffeehouse, and bar, Cafe Sbisa has come and gone several times in its history, but always managed to hold on to its sense of style and Creole-French cookery. In its most recent reincarnation, the best dish on the menu is an old-style turtle soup, one that comes closes to my old favorite at the old Brennan’s. In its thickness, seasoning complexity, and general deliciousness, about the only reason to not sample it on every visit is…

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Wedge Salad @ Acme Oyster House
~ 500 Best Dishes

Wedge Salad @ Acme Oyster House

Although the famous place for a wedge salad with blue cheese is (and has been for many decades) Charlie’s Steak House, the version served at the Acme Oyster House beats it by the thickness of a lettuce leaf. The Acme’s version is always fresh, loose, and crisp. The dressing is superb and served in such quantity that you almost have enough to take home to dress another salad. And they crumble bacon over it. Tomatoes can be had for More to come. . .

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Grilled Hawaiian Spearfish, Fava Beans, Butterbeans,  Wild Mushrooms, Citrus Brown Butter @ Lilette
~ 500 Best Dishes

Grilled Hawaiian Spearfish, Fava Beans, Butterbeans, Wild Mushrooms, Citrus Brown Butter @ Lilette

Among the very few downsides of having great local seafood is that we don’t get as much exotic fish as, say, New York or San Francisco restaurants. John Harris has a history of using visiting fish, particularly from the Pacific Ocean, and here’s a great example of that. Interesting species over the Aloha land, beyond mahi-mahi. I haven’t seen the same one twice–another hallmark of the chef’s curiosity. I would say that fish is the most exciting food they cook here. More to come. . .

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Moo Shu Pork @ Five Happiness
~ 500 Best Dishes

Moo Shu Pork @ Five Happiness

500BestSquare Moo shu pork is one of a dozen or so dishes whose appearance on New Orleans Chinese menus in the early 1970s marked the beginning of a new era for that cuisine. Like many of the other new dishes, moo shu pork came from the royal Mandarin kitchens, and was more complex than what we had tasted before. The sauce involves a mix of restrained sweetness and spice, fleshed out with black mushrooms, root vegetables cut into thin matchsticks, and thin petals of beaten, barely set eggs. All this is spooned into thin pancakes (like very thin flour tortillas), rolled up, and eaten with the fingers. Five Happiness was one of main proponents of the new style, and their moo shu is excellent. More to come. . .

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Shrimp Toast @ China Rose
~ 500 Best Dishes

Shrimp Toast @ China Rose

img src=”https://nomenu.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/500BestSquare2-200×200.png” alt=”500BestSquare” width=”150″ height=”150″ class=”alignleft size-medium wp-image-41045″ /> Shrimp toast is one of those new-wave dishes that began appearing in Chinese restaurants in the mid-1970s. Made well, it’s delicious: a toasted slice of white bread on the bottom, piled with a mixture of finely-chopped shrimp with enough egg to hold it together. The whole thing is cut into sixths, sprinkled with sesame seeds, then deep-fried into pyramids of nearly-fluffy shrimpiness. I’ve always liked shrimp toast, but what most Chinese places put out is terrible. The China Rose’s version is not only good appetizer eating, but enough for two or three people. More about this dish. . .

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Filet Mignon @ Keith Young’s Steak House
~ 500 Best Dishes

Filet Mignon @ Keith Young’s Steak House

The most appealing aspect of a filet mignon is its thickness. The thicker, the better. Yet most steakhouses limit this to nine or ten ounces of beef. Keith Young–who not only owns the restaurant but selects the beef, cuts it by hand and grills it–has a fourteeen-ounce filet, And that may be conservative. It’s a beauty of a cut, one that will please the many lovers of tenderloin out there. Lots of good sauce options, too. Read More. . .

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