The very best of the Creole bistros, Brigtsen's gets that way by putting all its efforts into cooking delicious food. No menu posturing; no quirky ingredients or oddball cooking techniques; no heavy emphasis on decor, ceremony, or wine. It's all about cooking up the best local flavors possible, a project at which Frank Brigtsen and his tight little kitchen consistently succeed.
Chef-owner Frank Brigtsen was hired into the kitchen at Commander's Palace by Chef Paul Prudhomme, who made him a willing protege. Frank moved to K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen shortly after Chef Paul opened it in 1979, and stayed there for six years. There he met his wife Marna, with whom he shares the exact birthdate. They opened Brigtsen's in 1986, taking over the former Dante By The River restaurant. In 2012, Frank and Marna opened Charlie's Seafood in Harahan. A difference with the landlord brought Charlie's to an end spring 2013, to the great chagrin of its customers..
It's a century-old cottage, lightly remodeled to provide three small dining rooms. The conviviality among customers keeps the walls from closing in. The most desirable tables (and the hardest to get) are the two in the front windows. Unless you have a problem with small dining rooms, you’ll find Brigtsen’s hospitable and easy to love. Marna Brigtsen and her dining room staff treat customers like guests in their home, with a casual friendliness and good-humored joshing.
A reservation is absolutely essential. Allow the casual-service mindset here to infect your own. Accept the advice of the servers, even if it concerns a dish you've never enjoyed elsewhere. Summer is the best time to come here, because Frank usually dreams up a summer special menu, and reservations are easier to come by.