Chophouse. CBD: 322 Magazine St. 504-522-7902.
Tom Fitzmorris April 09, 2015 11:01
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS The potential profitability of a top-class steakhouse explains why there have been so many new ones in the past couple of decades. Although there have been moments when the maximum was exceeded (anyone remember Hyde Park Grill?), the allure of a good steak is so universal that it's an easy sell. And the tickets so high that a restaurateur doesn't have to keep the room full all the time to make the nut. My office is a block from the Chophouse. I sure wish Jerry had opened a French bistro or a lusty, garlic-fragrant Italian trattoria instead of just another steakhouse, so I could take advantage of it more often. But then, there are all those law offices around there. [caption id="attachment_35428" align="alignnone" width="480"] Sirloin strip, Pittsburgh style, Chophouse.[/caption]
WHY IT'S NOTEWORTHY The place looks good, the staff is welcoming, and the steaks' pedigrees are all convincing. Right there, the Chophouse can count on getting enough customers from the increasingly visitor-heavy Central Business District. With prices in a league with the high-end steakhouses here, the business model is complete. Whether it adds anything to the market for local customers is a question, what with Ruth's Chris, Desi Vega's and Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse all within a few blocks. [caption id="attachment_36122" align="alignnone" width="480"] Redfish amandine.[/caption]
WHAT'S GOOD Even against dozens of premium steakhouses trying to convince us of the excellence of their beef, the Chophouse has a good story. It's all Prime, for starters--something only a few other steakeries can say. More important, the standard broiling method is "Pittsburgh style," which visibly and palpably sears the exterior while leaving the inside juicy. The contrast is especially exciting for rare steaks. Past the steaks, the abbreviated menu is ordinary or less.
BACKSTORY Jerry Greenbaum owns a small chain of steakhouses and other restaurants in the Southeast, centered in Atlanta. He came here years ago to attend Tulane, and promised himself he'd come back, so much did he like New Orleans. In 2011 he did, opening the Chophouse in the historic, brick-walled space adjacent to the old Board of Trade and the St. James Hotel. Among the many previous restaurants at this address were the Bon Ton, Cafe Brulot, Liborio, and (most recently) Cuvee.
Cuvee wrought an exquisite remodeling here in 2000, and Chophouse inherited it. Tall ceilings, brick walls with handsome arches, and big windows give it a spaciousness that belies the small size of the place. The bar is set apart beyond an arch, and employs a pianist-singer with a very broad repertoire and an amp set a little too loud. The servers are efficient and polite as far as their corporate-style training goes.
[title type="h6"]FULL ONLINE MENU[/title]
Starters Carpaccio Shrimp baked in garlic butter, parmesan, bread crumbs Florida stone crabs (Oct-May) House salad Entrees Delmonico steak, Cajun style or broiled New York strip (two sizes) Filet mignon (two sizes) Bone-in rib eye Porterhouse for two Surf and turf (any steak, plus broiled or fried lobster tail) Pan sautéed redfish amandine Florida stone crabs Sides Steamed asparagus Lyonnaise potatoes Desserts New York cheesecake Gigantic chocolate cake, ice cream Key lime pie FOR BEST RESULTS
The steak is excellent; very little else is. Chophouse opens on many holidays and is also there before Saints home games. This is the only restaurant in town that regularly serves Florida stone crab claws, if you're looking for that very expensive delicacy.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Even though the place and customer tastes are different everywhere, chains insist on keeping the same specs in all their restaurants, even when it makes no sense. This shows particularly in the seafood department.
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 +2
- Consistency +1
- Value -1
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar +1
- Local Color +2
- Live music every night
- Good view
- Good for business meetings
- Open Sunday dinner
- Open Monday dinner
- Valet parking
- Reservations accepted