Last Updated on Monday, 04 June 2012 19:26
Dozen Best French Bistros
French bistros have become very popular across America in recent years, and feel very much at home in New Orleans. If a restaurant serves any five of the following. . .
Coquille St. Jacques
Poulet a la grandmere
Coq au vin
Onglet (hanger steak)
Steak au poivre
. . . then it's probably a French bistro. On the other hand, the line separating the French from the Creole-French bistros is finely drawn, and some readers may have a favorite that I perceive as being on the Creole side. Enjoy!
1. Chateau Du Lac. Old Metairie: 2037 Metairie Rd. 504-831-3773. Better every time we try it, with the cooking of Brittany-born Jacques Seleun. The most original of all the local bistros.
2. Patois. Uptown: 6078 Laurel. 504-895-9441. The distinction in Aaron Burgau's cooking is that most of its dishes are offbeat interpretations of old French and Creole-French classics. Easy to understand why it's always full.
3. La Petite Grocery. Uptown: 4238 Magazine. 504-891-3377. A contemporary approach to the French bistro style, with a few dishes rarely seen in the other places on this list (steak tartare, for example). Several kinds of absinthe in the bar.
4. La Crepe Nanou. Uptown: 1410 Robert. 504-899-2670. Long before French bistros were all over New Orleans, La Crepe Nanou felt and tasted like a dislocated slice of Paris. The food is classic bistro fare: fresh, French, inexpensive, and more delicious than you anticipate.
5. Herbsaint. CBD: 701 St Charles Ave. 504-524-4114. Donald Link's best restaurant, with country-style French food with a mild Cajun accent.
6. Meauxbar. French Quarter: 942 N Rampart. 504-569-9979. The illusory name keeps some would-be customers from trying what they would find to be a superb French menu. It's not a bar. best place to eat near the Mahalia Jackson Theater.
7. Lilette. Uptown: 3637 Magazine. 504-895-1636. An unchanging, polished menu inspired by Chef John Harris's time in France. The specials show this off most forcefully.
8. Lüke. CBD: 333 St Charles Ave. 504-378-2840. The Germanic quality of the room and some of the food is really the Alsatian touch. Although a lot of old favorites from a bygone New Orleans day are here, this is country French food for the most part.
9. Flaming Torch. Uptown: 737 Octavia. 504-895-0900. A long menu of the bistro classics, with a particular emphasis on steaks and coq au vin. The last two chefs have moved in the Creole direction, but the French flavor is still strong.
10. Cafe Degas. Mid-City: 3127 Esplanade Ave. 504-945-5635. The longest-running, most casual of French bistros, easy to love. Start with pate, then mussels, steak frites, and creme brulee.
11. La Cote Brasserie. Warehouse District: 700 Tchoupitoulas. 504-613-2350. The mussels, bouillabaisse, oyster bar, whole fish, and the general style of the restaurant is just on the French side of the Creole Divide. Maybe too big for a bistro, too, but. . .
12. Ciro's Cote Sud. Riverbend: 7918 Maple. 504-866-9551. Famous for pizza because that's what was there before the current French owners brought in the escargots. All the non-pizza is good, too.
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