#24 Among The 33 Best Seafood Eateries
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Whoever designed this restaurant has a great sense of the New Orleans restaurant past. Throughout Ignatius’s dining room are are references to eateries from the dim past. None in particular, but a fanciful hybrid of many of them. That’s charming, but for the kitchen to accomplish the same feat is remarkable. You find dishes whose origins range from a century ago to about 1979. That’s further enhanced by the most important and difficult accomplishment: everything comes out delicious. What with the neighborhood prices, it becomes one of the most likeable restaurants on Magazine Street. Which is saying something.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
In the same way that Mardi Gras royalty makes fun of authentic leaders, Ignatius is a subtle, tasty parody of the classic old French Creole restaurants in the Quarter. It serves shrimp remoulade, trout meuniere, filet mignon, and other dishes in that category. In fact, Ignatius makes nice work of all that. Yet, it’s equally rewarding to get a roast beef poor boy or a plate of red beans.
The best start: a pile of the excellent hand-cut fries and a cocktail. From there, good luck comes from all parts of the menu, top to bottom. Even the dishes that seem to be aimed at tourists (jambalaya, shrimp and grits, etc.) meet all local standards. The roast beef poor boy–the house specialty in the narrow first Ignatius–remains fine here, reaching the upper five percentile with its cooked-in-house beef, a flavorful gravy, and toasted French bread. On the other end of the spectrum you find surprisingly fine fish dishes, a good crawfish etouffee, and interesting daily specials. Sunday brunch is a big deal here, with an unexpectedly varied menu.
The name invokes the milieu dreamed up by the late John Kennedy Toole in his unique, meme-generating New Orleans novel Confederacy of Dunces. The restaurant has had two lives. The first was a poor boy shop that opened during the immediately post-Katrina boom on Magazine Street–a good time for a restaurant to become established. In 2011 Ignatius moved to a much larger space in the densest part of Magazine Street’s restaurant row. The bigger kitchen allowed a more extensive menu.
The dining room looks like Galatoire’s, Arnaud’s, Antoine’s or Tujague’s, if those places had been done on the cheap. That seems to have been the goal, not likely to have been executed inexpensively. Big windows face the street. Passers-by see an appealing cafe-like environment, with mirrors and ceramic tile floors. Inside its a bit starker, but in a charming way. The servers are not the quickest-moving in town, but this too seems to fit with the mood of the place.
FULL ONLINE MENU
Fried green tomatoes, red remoulade sauce
Red beans and jambalaya sampler
Poche’s pork & jalapeño boudin
Creole seafood gumbo
Chicken & sausage gumbo
Corn and crab bisque
Creole jambalaya (chicken, andouille, alligator, Creole sauce, corn macaque choux
Speckled trout meuniere
Bronzed redfish (without crabmeat)
Filet mignon, lemon butter, garlic potatoes
Fried catfish or shrimp platter
Bayou platter (jambalaya, red beans, crawfish étouffée)
Crawfish or shrimp Ignatius (cream sauce, parmesan cheese, mushrooms, crawfish tails)
Roast beef poor boy
Sauteed shrimp remoulade poor boy
Cochon de lait poor boy, jalapeño cole slaw
»Bread pudding, with ice cream
»Pecan pie with ice cream
FOR BEST RESULTS
Any one dish here may work as an entire meal. A bowl of gumbo will not allow those of normal appetite to also have a poor boy.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The menu is a bit repetitious. It could use about ten percent more diversity. They should leave the bread for the sandwiches in the oven just a minute or two longer.
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 +2
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +2
- Sidewalk tables
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations