Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 December 2010 16:14
Louisiana Pizza Kitchen
French Quarter: 95 French Market Place, 504-522-9500. Map.
WHY IT'S NOTEWORTHY
Pizza prepared in the style of the French Riviera: very thin, almost crackerlike crusts, baked in a wood-burning oven, more often spread with olive oil than tomato sauce, topped not with layers but piles of cheese, vegetables, meats, and seafood. Pasta is prepared in the same spirit, lighter than in the standard local Italian restaurant. Salads, sandwiches, and daily specials continue these themes. Prices are a great value. Service is a little indifferent, and the place can get maddeningly busy, especially on weekends.
WHY IT'S GOOD
Few local pizzerias put as much into the making of their pies than this place does. The mozzarella is whole-milk. The vegetables are all fresh (even the spinach). Unbleached flour for the crusts. Free-range veal and chicken. And a wood-burning brick oven. What throws some customers is the thinness of the crust and its crispness: this is not a standard pizza. The pastas and sandwiches and the remainder of the menu are good, but not in the same class with the pizza.
Louisiana Pizza Kitchen opened its first restaurant in the triangular building on Esplanade (where CC's is now) in the mid-1980s. It was the first wood-burning, stone-surface pizza oven New Orleans had ever seen. The place also pioneered other now-common ideas, like the bottles of herbed olive oil on the table to go with the bread. They expanded in the 1990s to the French Market and the Riverbend, closing the Esplanade location. For awhile there was a third LPK in Gretna. The two in New Orleans operate independently but have comparable food.
The French Market location has the feeling of a trattoria in Venice or Rome, with low lighting, bustling servers, and a major sidewalk scene going on outside the many windowed doors. The Uptown edition is more like a standard American pizzeria, and more casual.
Soup of the moment
Red beans and rice
Chicken and andouille gumbo
Spinach and artichoke melt
»Wild mushroom raviolis
»Grilled Italian artichokes
Shrimp and corn maquechoux
Ciabatta garlic bread
»All the usual ingredients to order, plus these house specials:
Greek (spinach, tomatoes, olives, feta, mozzarella)
»Four seasons (artichokes, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, asparagus)
Portabella and shiitake mushroom pizza
»Four cheese pizza
Barbecue chicken pizza
»Roasted chicken with black beans and cilantro
»Salsiccia pizza(three kinds of sausage)
Smoked salmon pizza (tomatoes, capers, caviar, red onions, cream cheese)
Crawfish etouffee pizza
Shrimp teriyaki pizza
»Fresh mozzarella and roma tomatoes
»Caesar salad (plain, chicken, or smoked salmon)
Blue cheese and pecan salad
Baby spinach salad
Chicken breast and tomato caesar
Grilled shrimp and sun dried tomato caesar
Grilled salmon caesar
Romaine, red sweet onions, capers. aged parmesan and croutons
Savory herb spaghetti and meatballs
»Pork chop stuffed with goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and spinach, with pasta
Garlic shrimp pasta
Chicken or veal marsala with pasta
»Goat cheese chicken with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, demi-glace over angel hair
»Chicken or veal piccata, lemon-caper butter
Grilled eggplant wrap
Black bean wrap
Chicken caesar wrap
Dijon chicken wrap
Barbecue sausage wrap
Fried or grilled shrimp wrap
Grilled salmon wrap
FOR BEST RESULTS
Don't order your normal pepperoni pizza here. Try one of the specialties, and open your mind to a different style of crust.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Both locations have inconsistencies in the food. Service can be indifferent and slow when the place is busy. They like to open all the doors in the French Market location, and the temperature can get a little warm.
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
- Consistency -1
- Value +2
- Wine and Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +1
- Sidewalk tables
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner (Carrollton only)
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Good for children
- No reservations
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
The French Market location is closed on Sunday.