Rue 127. Mid-City: 127 N Carrollton Ave. 504-483-1571.
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Rue 127 is a teeny restaurant housing a staff of extraordinarily skilled people in both the kitchen and dining room. The premises–especially when viewed from the easy-to-miss exterior–are so modest that the ambitiousness and polish in the food and service come as an almost mind-bending surprise. At some point it hits you that the prices seem too low for the kind of food. But the kitchen delivers full on its promises. Nor is there any lack of generosity in what comes to the table. The excellence of the food, the value, and the smallness of the premises make for full houses most nights. Weekend reservations have become particularly hard to get.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
In the fertile restaurant community around the intersection of Canal and Carrollton, Rue 127 is a particularly pleasant addition. Forty-four seats, plus a dozen more outside on the sidewalk, fill up at lunch and dinner. The kitchen is no more sizable, and it seems impossible that it puts out the variety and quality that it does.
The style is Contemporary American cuisine. It’s not what I’d call cutting-edge cookery, but the tradeoff for very carefully turned out, familiar dishes is a very welcome deal. Without having to put brand names or points of origin on all the ingredients, the chef cooks groceries of unimpeachable fineness. The result is my favorite kind of menu: one on which everything sounds spectacular. The wine list is short but well-chosen. Great cocktails.
Chef Ray Gruezke, a New Orleans native who worked and trained in New York and elsewhere, opened Rue 127 in early 2011. He had been part of the original kitchen team at Le Foret, and left when its chef Jimmy Corwell did. His pastry chef Joanna Palmer spent some time at Commander’s Palace and Cochon before coming here. The building was a converted cottage from the early 1900s. Before Rue 127, it was Arabesque, a short-lived if very good Middle Eastern restaurant.
Inside the front door is a small bar on one side, and a wide hallway lined on one side by tables. This widens into what would be in most bistros the small dining room. Here, it’s the end of the line. The back wall has a big window looking into the kitchen, another place where they need all the space they can get. Other walls are mounted with cool art. If the weather is decent (95 degrees is considered decent), another dozen people can be seated in what used to be this converted house’s back yard. The service staff is young, sharp, and fun.
FULL ONLINE MENU
Steamed mussels, coconut milk, kaffir lime, ginger, chiles, pommes frites
Butter lettuce salad,
Candied pecans, ricotta salata, dijon vinaigrette, fresh herbs
Gumbo, dck confit, roasted chicken, spicy andouille, horseradish potato salad
Roasted cauliflower and corn soup
Corn-fried oysters, chipotle aioli, pineapple, cilantro
Diver scallops, celery root puree, apple, shiitake mushrooms, artichoke
Double cut pork chop, bourbon and roasted corn coush-coush,
Duck breast , basil kumquat rice, sauerkraut, kimchi, peas
Red snapper roulade soubise, carrots, oyster aoli
Beef strip loin, crispy potatoes, red onion jam, roasted oyster mushrooms, serrano-banana pepper vinaigrette
Roasted chicken half, mac and cheese, roasted brussels sprouts, rosemary dijon jus
Pan seared, panko-herb crusted Scottish salmon, white and green bean succotash, bacon broth
Blueberry upside down cake
Flour less chocolate orbit cake
Deep fried red velvet cupcakes, dipping sauces
House made sorbet of the day
FOR BEST RESULTS
Reservations are absolutely essential. Despite the small size of the place, it’s fun to have a party of six here, just so you can get at least a taste of all the dishes that sound irresistible.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
It will be hard to make a profit in such a small space, and this food needs better availability. They will need to move at some point. For now, a more powerful air conditioning system would be a big bonus.
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 +2
- Hipness +2
- Local Color +2
- Sidewalk tables
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations recommended