Everything about Cowbell cries out for a battered, hand-painted wooden sign in front that says, "Last Chance For New Orleans Food!" Cross that railroad track, and you have indeed left the city, in a neighborhood that does indeed resemble the End Of The World.
Cowbell seems to be as much a work of performance art as it is a restaurant. The restaurant occupies a former Gulf Coast gas station so old that not just the service but the brand are extinct. An incomprehensible collection of signs and sculture stand here and there. The menu is eclectic, with many dishes that don't seem to belong in a place whose main specialty is hamburgers.
On Cowbell's website, owner- chef Brack May calls himself a philosopher, social entrepreneur, and teacher in addition to his cooking gig. That's credible--he was the chef in charge of Cafe Liberty for a time. We first got to know him during his stint as chef of Cobalt--the hip bistro he built with Susan Spicer in the space where Luke is now. (He says that "Cowbell" isn't a reference to "Cobalt.") Brack opened Cowbell in 2010 in the former Station 8801, which established a legacy of hip hamburgers at this location. Brack extended that.
The westernmost restaurant in Orleans Parish, Cowbell is next to the railroad tracks at the mutual end of Oak and Eagle Streets. It blends in perfectly with the neighborhood, with its kitchen and tables still adapting to the layout of the gas station. The ones inside are more comfortable, but the battered picnic tables outside are more popular.
Make sure you know about the specials before thinking about your order. The chef is talented and comes up with some great new ideas.