WHY IT'S NOTEWORTHY
If the Peppermill stopped serving breakfast, a lot of people wouldn't know what to do with themselves in the morning. It has become the best and most popular place in Metairie for that meal, very plain to very fancy. Not quite as busy at lunch and dinner, the Peppermill does even better cooking with those meals, blending Creole standards with New Orleans Italian dishes, many of which are now served only here.
The breakfast menu is so comprehensive and well-executed that it's no mystery why the morning meal is so popular. They make elaborate poached egg dishes with seafood and hollandaise as well as they make pancakes and sausage. The rest of the day, the food is served at neighborhood-restaurant prices, but with ingredients of good quality and recipes which, although old hat in many cases, are good old hat.
The Peppermill began in the 1970s as a fern restaurant, a feminine spinoff of the old Buck Forty-Nine Steak House. Josie Riccobono was its tastemaker. She died right after the hurricane, but her grandchildren have moved into place and have lately modernized much of the menu.
The lush, ornate look of the early days gave way to a cleaner, more modern new environment after Katrina, which required a major renovation of the whole restaurant. The two rooms offer many private corners; many of the regulars have favorite tables.
»Fried eggplant sticks.
»Angel hair Angelique (crabmeat, tomato cream sauce)
»Oysters Riccobono (baked with mushrooms, bread crumbs and garlic).
Crabcake with peppercorn sauce.
»Shrimp Vinnie (remoulade with avocado).
Shrimp and avocado salad.
»Trout meuniere or amandine.
»Veal Josephine (with crabmeat and bearnaise).
»Charbroiled veal liver and onions.
»Red beans and rice (Monday lunch special).
Below are breakfast dishes:
»Crabcake eggs benedict.
Eggs Pontchartrain (crawfish and mushrooms).
»Sausalito omelette (spinach, mushrooms, garlic)
FOR BEST RESULTS
The sheet of daily specials includes much of the best food. They're unusually good with veal here.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
They Peppermill is famous for its crawfish bisque, but it's just average. The lighting is a big harsh, especially in the rear dining room.
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 +2
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar -1
- Hipness -2
- Local Color
- Good for business meetings
- Early-evening specials
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch
- Open all afternoon
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations honored promptly
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
The new generation of the Riccobono family is doing some nice new things at the Peppermill, modernizing without destroying the restaurant's menu and style. A couple of weeks ago I built a dinner entirely from dishes they've done for decades. In a way, they were the same. In another way, they'd been buffed up to keep up with current standards. I see a lot of that going on there, and a few new dishes, too.
I depart every meal at the Peppermill lately with the feeling that it's on the verge of breaking out and getting as hot as it was in it early years, when you couldn't get into the place. But it remains under-appreciated, and for a ridiculous reason: because some people find the presence of older diners offensive. How does the age of the other diners affect the food and service? They don't, is the answer.