ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Among the most delightful but least-discussed eateries in the French Quarter are the cafes catering to people who live there. That population has seen a long decline, as more residences become businesses. The result is that many of the old neighborhood places have shifted to the visitor trade, with the expected results. Eat has held off this unfortunate trend so well that it has a substantial following among both locals and people who visit New Orleans frequently.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Although no New Orleans neighborhood has a bigger or better community of eateries, there’s a big gap between the joints selling poor boys, pizza and basic seafood and the big-deal gourmet restaurants. Eat is one of the few restaurants that fill that breach, with middling prices to match..
Eat cooks with no pretenses about setting the standard for New Orleans cookery or reinventing the cuisine. Its menu is easy to get one’s head around, even for people with very basic tastes. The most adventuresome cooking is found on the weekend brunch menu. The food is dominated by Creole flavors, with more attention to delicacy and presentation than usual. Fried dishes–even fried chicken–are better than I expected.
This corner has hosted neighborhood, breakfast-intensive restaurants for decades. a long time. The Quarter Scene was here for about twenty years until Katrina. Not long after the storm, Eat took over the space. It’s one of a small local restaurant group that also includes Vacherie, Cafe on the Square and Between The Bread. The chef at Eat is Jarred Zeringue, a native.
Nearly everyone who has ever reported to me on Eat begins with the same sentence: “It’s a cute little place.” Cute: perfect for those looking for an escape from New Orleans funkiness. Little: it’s really little. Tables and chairs fill the maximum amount of space without becoming inconvenient.
FULL ONLINE MENU
Omelettes to order
Eggs de Provence (baked in a black iron skillet with cream, herbs, bacon)
Eggs Dauphine (poached, country ham, fried green tomatoes, hollandaise)
Eggs Dumaine (veal grillades, poached eggs, hollandaise
Pulled pork cake, mustard greens, poached eggs, creole hollandaise
Two-egg breakfast, bacon or sausage, grits, biscuit or toast
Shrimp and grits
Blue cheese and fig torte
Hog head cheese
Spicy deviled eggs with bacon or smoked salmon
Fried chicken livers with pepper jelly
Chicken and andouille gumbo
Roasted beet and goat cheese salad
Blackened catfish sandwich
Pork tenderloin, caramelized onions, baked macaroni and cheese
New York strip, herb compound butter
Roasted stuffed bell peppers
Chicken and dumplings
Eggplant and shrimp casserole
Chicken fried chicken
Cochon with mustard greens
White beans with ham
Butterbeans with shrimp
FOR BEST RESULTS
Not a place to come in a hurry. Arriving early in the meal period might get a prized window table. Because of the proximity of St. Louis Cathedral School, this location will never have a liquor license. So bring your own wine: no corkage fee for the first bottle, $15 a bottle thereafter).
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The biggest problem here is the relaxed pace of service. I think this may owe entirely to the kitchen’s minute size. I can’t say it bothers me, but it always takes about ten minutes longer to eat here than it seems like it should.
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 +1
- Value +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Local Color +2
- Open Sunday lunch
- Good for children
- Reservations accepted (dinner only)