Just back from a biz trip to the BIG EASY (aka New Orleans). Indeed some of the shops and restaurants are still closed, especially on Canal Street, yet most of the French Quarter spots are up and running and waiting for your visit.
A spot not to miss: NOLA Restaurant from the infamous Emeril Lagasse. NOLA is a fun and funky spot, just a few blocks off Bourbon Street, where Lagasse serves up fresh takes on New Orleans Creole and Acadian Cajun cuisine. The two-level spot features exposed brick-walls and an informal atmosphere with serious cuisine.
My advice: try the Chef's Tasting, which features a four-course menu of the Chef's daily specials with an optional wine pairing. This was my second experience with the Chef's Tasting and wine pairings and both visits were outstanding.
The highlights of the most recent meal included:
Smoked pork and aged Cheddar quesadilla with baby spinach, grilled tomato, shaved red onions and toasted coriander v
Wine: 2005 Kilikanoon Riesling 'Mort's Block' Watervale, Clare Valley, Australia--crisp and clean, with notes of pear, apple, hint of peach, dry, piercing acidity
Flash fried calamari with San Marzano tomato sauce, Kalamata olives, prosciutto and Parmesan cheese
Wine: 2004 La Mozza Tocai Friulano 'Bastianch', Colli Orientali del Friuli, Italy--fresh and clean, with notes of orange blossom, pear, hint of lemon citrus. Crisp finish.
Braised beef short ribs with grilled asparagus, jasmine rice, hazelnuts, ginger-plume glaze and natural jus
Wine: 2003 Monticelli Brothers 'Mario' Sangiovese, Napa, California--notes of sweet cherry, spice, toasted oak, a dash of vanilla, smooth, silky, moderate tannins.
Bittersweet chocolate-hazelnut torte with Grand Marnier crème Anglaise, candided hanzelnuts and fresh berries
Wine: 2003 Gutierrez de la Vega Casta Diva 'Cosecha Miel', Alicante, Spain--rich and honeyed, with notes of peach, candied fruits, honey, silky texture.
534 St. Louis Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Restaurant interior image from www.emerils.com