Eat & Drink

Desi Vega's Steakhouse

628 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA 70130

Restaurant Review

Anecdotes & Analysis

Just when it seems clear that we have enough steakhouses to meet the demand, another two or three--always at the top end of the price spectrum--move in. This one is particular note, however. After over a decade of success fourteen blocks uptown, the owners of Mr. John's Steakhouse reached capacity. With no room to expand where it is, they opened a branch in a great location: in a commanding location on a growing restaurant row, in a neighborhood clearly on the way up.

Why It's Essential

The widespread rumor (started some ten years ago in this newsletter) that Mr. John's is the city's best steakhouse made tables there irritatingly difficult to find. The solution to this problem was to open a second steakhouse with equally alluring food, close enough to get the overflow from the original but far enough away to have its own clientele, too. The concept is simple: the entire steak repertoire is USDA Prime grade (more of a rarity than is widely believed), and the steaks come out with New Orleans-style sizzling butter.


Desi Vega is a partner in both this and Mr. John's. Aside from a cool-sounding (and real) name, his qualifications include stints at Commander's Palace, Emeril's, and Ruth's Chris. The restaurant is co-owned with longtime restaurateur Rodney Salvaggio and Paul Varisco (who many remember for his great rock band of the 1960s). The trio took over management of the former Mike's on the Avenue on the first day of 2013. It's the dining room of the Lafayette Hotel, where at least ten previous restaurants have come and gone over the decades. The chef's name tops the owner's: Muggsy Beals.

Dining Room

This has always been a handsome space, with large windows giving onto Lafayette Square and Gallier Hall, tall ceilings and a light-colored, suave look. Thick white tablecloths and wide spaces between tables lend not only comfort but a tolerable sound level. Former Mike's co-owner Vicky Bayley runs the front door with her usual gleaming style and personality. Saints players can often be seen dining here.

For Best Results

Although the new restaurant doesn't yet have the oversupply of regulars that Mr. John's does, it is very busy, and reservations are a very good idea--even for lunch.

Bonus Information

Attitude 2
Environment 2
Hipness 1
Local Color 2
Service 2
Value 0
Wine 1