Crescent City Steak House
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
The Crescent City created the prime New Orleans-style steakhouse as we know it–along with the irresistible sizzling-in-butter method of serving it. It has been almost changeless over the years, a standard by which all other steakhouses can be measured–even though it’s a long time since it could be called the best steakhouse in town. On the other hand, it’s significantly less expensive than other premium steak places.
All the beef is USDA Prime; all of it is dry-aged on the premises. That word “all” is key. No other steakhouse can make that claim. The aging is less assertive in flavor than it once was, because of the way some customers object to it. For connoisseurs of aged beef, what they serve here has no equal. The cuts that benefit from the aging most are the strip, T-bone, and porterhouse, although fans of the ribeye will like this one.
John Vojkovich–one of many Croatian immigrants who built restaurants in New Orleans in the early 1900s–created this very straightforward steakhouse in 1934. It looked and operated then almost exactly as it does now. The location was key to its success. On the route away from the Fair Grounds Race Course, it early on built a clientele of guys with money to use in celebration but not much culinary savvy. But almost anybody can get his head around a first-class steak, and they did. The restaurant is now operated by the founder’s wife and children.
The main room is moderately small, with a distinctive antique-modern look (I can’t think of another term for it). Tiled floors, a pressed-tin ceiling (not original, but added by a movie crew during a post-Katrina filming there), rounded windows and doors all around (the room has four entrances, although they use only one).
Vegetable beef soup
»House salad (iceberg, tomatoes, white asparagus, anchovies)
Shrimp salad (iceberg, black olives, tomatoes, shredded carrots) Caesar salad with or without steak tenders
»Filet mignon, wrapped in bacon
»»Porterhouse for two or three
»Potatoes au gratin
Fresh-cut French fries
»Potatoes lyonnaise (with onions)
»Brabant (cubed, with garlic butter)
»Spinach (sauteed or au gratin)
Broccoli (steamed or au gratin)
»Bread pudding with brandy sauce
»Krasna’s Creole cream cheesecake, topped with fresh fuit
Z pie (ice cream pie, chocolate cookie crust, caramel sauce, whipped cream and sprinkles
Ice cream (vanilla or chocolate)
»Café au lait
FOR BEST RESULTS
The steak is everything here. Appetizers and side dishes have improved in recent times, but are still there only as filler around the steak.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Although the family doesn’t want to change anything from the way the founder created it, some aspects of the menu still could benefit from upgrading. They seem to know this, and have improved the salads and added a couple of seafood entrees for your non-carnivorous friends.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +2
- Value +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Local Color +2
- Good for business meetings
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations accepted
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
We are nearing the end of the longest possible Carnival season. And that means many steaks must be eaten, if a) you follow local tradition most strenuously or 2) you love steaks. I’m in both categories, which explains why on any Mardi Gras you will find me at around two in the afternoon eating a sirloin strip steak at the Crescent City Steak House. Also there will be enough others to fill the dining room, another dining room you probably didn’t know was even there, an upstairs dining room that even I didn’t know was there, the entire bar and all the open space in the entrance, and perhaps even some acreage in the parking lot.
I can’t imagine a better place to say goodbye to steak for forty days. Like an old parading krewe, the Crescent City has been left behind by more modern organizations. But that doesn’t mean we can’t love it.