500BestSquareChicken Pontalba @ Palace Cafe

Chicken Pontalba was created at Brennan’s back in the 1940s. Even the Brennans look upon it as an almost hopelessly antiquated dish. Which it probably is. That, however, takes nothing away from its goodness. It’s a half-chicken (or perhaps just a breast) that’s been broiled or baked. It’s covered with a combination of ham, mushrooms, and potatoes, all sauteed in butter. Over the top of it all is bearnaise sauce.

Chicken Pontalba reached a peak some years ago when the Palace Café had rotisseries for the chickens. They got rid of those, but brought them back last year. Even though the Palace Café offers the dish only on their weekend brunch menus, at least we know where to find it. Clancy’s, on the other hand, has it on the menu all the time. Other restaurants serve it as a special. Brigtsen’s, which acquits itself well on the dish, is one of those. But, like everything else there, it’s here today, gone tomorrow.


Palace Cafe. French Quarter: 605 Canal. 504-523-1661.

This is among the 500 best dishes in New Orleans area restaurants. Click here for a list of the other 499.