The Old O'Brien's Gets New Life
Tom Fitzmorris November 04, 2019 10:36 Dining Diary
The West Bank can add another good restaurant to its meager roster of places for discerning diners there. In the not-at-all-expected space next to a gigantic storage unit on LA 23 that was the wonderful O’Brien’s Grille, the new Southern Charm Bistreaux and Bar has a familiar menu like we've seen in many other local restaurants with Creole-Cajun menus. Plus some unique dishes. It also has younger customers, and a chef with credentials. Chef Louis Brown has won awards in the last few years in the Louisiana Best Chefs Competition.
When we sat down to lunch, I had resigned myself to go without oysters. The oyster market is so pressed and expensive that I expected the Southern Charm to tell me there were no oysters at all. But they were able to serve baked oysters three different ways: Rockefeller, Bienville, and basic like the Drago’s brand that started the craze. Louisiana oysters come mostly from Belle Chasse and beyond. And here they were, along with lots of other seafood, steaks, and other main ingredients. And some unusual ingredients, like chicken livers, for anyone looking for that. We saw a lot of them going through the dining room, so apparently there are a lot of people looking for that. But mainly they are looking for another nice place to eat without crossing the bridge.
The Italian, Mexican, and Asian restaurants in Gretna are good, but there's a strong need for more upscale eateries. Where are LeRuth's, Willy Coln's, the Bistro Steak House? We’ll likely never again see the level of dining like LeRuth’s offered, but Southern Charm fills a nice niche.
Besides the oysters, we had a lunch special of Mama’s pot roast, served with vegetables and crab boil seasoned whipped potatoes. The lunch specials are very affordable and quite varied, and there were a number of other things to try next time. MA wanted to get the mushroom appetizer with seafood in a delicious-looking sauce, that made an adjacent table very happy. And Louis is very proud of his pork chop, which does sound enticing.
For dessert, I got the bread pudding, which was different. Not the usual brick. This was thin, and presented nicely. Really delicious, with a delicate vanilla flavor.
The building looks like a storage building that looks better inside by far. To find Southern Charm, head south on LA 23, and just past Gretna Boulevard, look across for a large building with the word "Storage" facing the restaurant's parking lot. They need a bigger, better sign.
Southern Charm Bistreaux And Bar.
Gretna: 2020 Belle Chasse Hwy. 504-263-5100.