Best New Restaurants

We suppose it’s a sign of progress that so many new restaurants have opened during the past year. The activity certainly shows confidence in the local economy and is also a tribute to tourism, which provides another level of patrons to fill tables. Here we present our choices of those among the new most worthy of trying. Though we consider all the restaurants to be, more or less, equals, we did make the call and single out one as being the Best of the New.

An editorial committee consisting of our food writers and editors made the decisions. There were some tough choices but all are worthy discoveries.

 

 

Root

Our Choice: Best of the Best

If you fall into that class of diner who says, “I don’t go out to eat for something I can cook at home,” then Root deserves your undivided attention.

During a recent sit-down in the Warehouse District hotspot, executive chef and owner Phillip Lopez was awaiting delivery of a tank of liquid nitrogen. “Now that the weather is hot, I think we can find good uses for it,” he said. He followed through at a meal soon after when a frozen peach mousse – the dessert before the dessert – arrived at our table. Made from a cube of frozen, whipped peach foam that was dipped in nitrogen before being served, it vanished on the tongue in a whiff of peach flavor.

Root’s menu is ebullient, its compositions shot through with a technical curiosity that approaches classic flavor combinations with a modernist perspective achieved through the requisite toolbox. Joining the kitchen’s usual equipment parade is a second-line krewe of dehydrators, immersion circulators and cold smokers. But despite the high-tech gear, Lopez is quick to assert that when creating a dish, it’s the flavor that comes first and that the tools are means to achieve it and not the end itself. “I hate when people label it molecular cuisine, because all food is molecular at some stage, right? It is more about modernization,” Lopez explains. “We take Old World dishes, Old World ideas, and approach them with modern techniques.”
Somewhat surprisingly, guests have been generally responsive to this avant-garde style of cuisine that’s more attuned to what you’d find in cities like Chicago or New York. “In the beginning it was a gamble,” Lopez admits, “but I got lucky with the typical New Orleanian’s palate, because as a rule we like spice and big flavors.”

In the eight months since Root opened, Lopez has been riding a wave of accolades, including a Rising Star award from Star Chefs. He has embraced his leap to ownership with enthusiasm and aplomb. “A lot of restaurants seem to follow that routine where they say, ‘Hey, this works, let’s just leave it alone,’” he says. “I have an opportunity here to put blueprints aside and do something unique.” His tour of duty through five of John Besh’s kitchens – along with training under renowned chef Michel Richard and a stint as executive chef of Rambla – has prepared him well for his first solo run.

Lopez is a young chef, and his kinetic menu reflects that. Dishes tend to be labor-intensive. His Tea Smoked Yard Bird (chicken by any other name – the vocabulary does get a little precious) is a three-step process. The bird starts off in a smoker. Brown sugar, black tea and aromatics (star anise, cloves, etc.) smolder along with the chicken to set the flavor. Cooking is completed in a regular oven, and finally a sheet of “porcini paper” (powdered mushrooms blended with a liquid and then dehydrated on a sheet of acetate) is draped over the top as a sort of laminate that lends not so much a specific taste but a depth of flavor to the skin.

Clearly, food doesn’t have to be this complicated. And the average diner will likely not know how much work has gone into the dish unless they ask. Question your server, though, and you’ll be rewarded with an eye-opening description of the prep work entailed. As an illustration, I asked Lopez to walk me through a dessert simply called Strawberry Delight. The name is where simplicity ends. “We use a lot of techniques,” he warns me, then dives into the explanation. First he makes “strawberry leather” – fruit gets puréed with sugar and water, laid out on acetate then sent through a dehydrator. Next up is a “honeycomb candy,” essentially boiled honey, sugar and water with the late addition of baking soda to cause it to bubble just as the candy solidifies. The batter for the cake component sounds like a cross between an Easy-Bake Oven recipe and a late-night dorm room binge session. Puréed almonds are mixed with cake flour, blended with egg whites, passed through chiffon and put into a whipped cream canister. It gets charged by nitrous, the batter microwaved for 30 seconds and voila! Instant yellow cake. For plating, a vacuum chamber machine draws the bubbles out of strawberry syrup, which clarifies it into a “strawberry gel.” Homemade fizzy rocks, concocted with powdered freeze-dried strawberries, are a garnish, and a frozen yogurt component gets aromatized with black cardamom.

“Strawberry shortcake is pretty much something Americans have been eating forever for the 4th of July, right?” Lopez asks. “So this is my idea of taking those flavors and modernizing them.”

Is all this stuff necessary to make a dessert? No, but it’s fascinating. And if you want a little something you can’t get at home, Root belongs at the top of your list.

- Jay Forman

Root, 200 Julia St., 252-9480, RootNola.com.
Lunch Monday-Friday; dinner seven days a week; open until 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday


Toups’ Meatery
Rustic and Vibrant

Amanda and chef Isaac Toups opened their restaurant, Toups’ Meatery, on April 17 of this year, at the former home of the Mediterranean Café. True to the name, the restaurant is a celebration of all things carnivorous. The Toups family love to eat together, and many of the items on the menu at the Meatery are designed to be shared. The open dining room encourages visiting among tables and, while the place can get loud when it’s full, the atmosphere is vibrant.

Service is overseen by Larry Nguyen, whom this magazine named Maître d’ of the Year in 2010. He and a small staff of veteran servers from other local restaurants have the place running smoothly, despite the difficulty presented by a menu of which the components change regularly.

The best atmosphere in the world won’t translate to success if your food isn’t any good, but Toups’ Meatery succeeds on both counts. In keeping with the trend toward in-house charcuterie, the restaurant has a wide and ever-changing selection of cured meats, sausages, pâtés and rilletes.

The menu includes such standouts as lamb neck over black-eyed pea ragout with minted chow-chow; roasted duck with a sastsuma jus and thyme-roasted turnips; a double-cut pork chop with dirty rice and a cane-syrup gastrique; and chicken thigh confit with white beans, mustard greens and a gravy made from chicken gizzards. The Toups say the theme of their food is “rustic ingredients, finished beautifully.” And that’s a great way to describe it.

What is remarkable about Toups’ Meatery, and the reason that we’re including it in this list, is the passion for food and service that comes through in your interactions with the staff and in the food on your plate. Isaac and Amanda Toups had been thinking about opening their own restaurant for quite a while before the opportunity came along, and while you can’t call the Meatery a “mom-and-pop” operation, it’s got that hands-on, welcoming feel. These are people who love to cook and, more importantly, love to see other people eat well.

- Robert Peyton

Toups’ Meatery, 845 N. Carrollton St., 252-4999, ToupsMeatery.com.
Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday; open until 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday


Apolline
Small-Ball

In baseball parlance – and because we are in that season we should be topical – it’s known as “small-ball.”

Small-ball means not hitting for home runs, but going for singles and doubles. It means keeping the fielders close, so as to cut off hits from the opposing team that usually just drop into the open spaces. And often it means winning by just one or two runs. But it does mean winning.

Apolline is successfully playing small-ball. The dishes are delicious and solid. The service is personal. The drinks are excellent. You don’t have to knock diners off their seats to win. You have to be solid, secure in who you are, satisfied that you can satisfy.

Apolline, which is a Creole girl’s name, opened with little fanfare because for all intents and purposes it was already opened. The restaurant formerly known as Dominique’s boasted Dominique Macquet helming the operation until he went off to consult on the opening of Tamarind, and the soon-to-be opened new Dominique’s just down Magazine Street. Then chef Matthew Farmer, formerly sous chef at Salú, also on Magazine Street, moved in and not a beat was missed.

Farmer is a Metairie boy who graduated from De La Salle on St. Charles Avenue, still in the neighborhood.

The dining space in Apolline is warm and cozy but not tight. If you like a lively scene, sit toward the back near the bar. The cuisine style is described as contemporary Creole, and if this is a direction for Creole cooking, we’re all in for a great future.

The sweetbreads are grilled and served with grits and chimichurri: comfort on top of comfort with a little comfort on the side. Boudin is accompanied by house-made pickles, perfectly crisp and vinegary. Grilled oysters come with garlic butter and piave, an artisanal cow’s milk cheese. Smoked ham and duck gumbo that boasts Jacob’s andouille with a thyme-scented rice will have you thinking about another helping of the same before the main course.

The menu boasts an extensive list of entrees. The drum is sautéed and comes with grits and a crabmeat and mushroom ragu. An aioli lightly covers the fish, and the beautiful and delicate flavor truly shines.

For bigger appetites, or to share, there’s a caraway-crusted pork tenderloin topped with a pork jus, and on the side is an onion and apple chutney with mashed potatoes. The lamb arrives with couscous; the duck leg with andouille and potato hash; and the scallops with a shrimp and corn maque choux.

To Apolline’s credit, there’s an excellent cheese board offered, and desserts are every bit as creative and in-theme as the other courses.

Small-ball isn’t a compromise. Everyone has to be better at their position to play that game. Chef Farmer and his staff have mastered the dynamic in a very short period of time.

– Tim McNally

Apolline, 4729 Magazine St., 894-8881 ApollineRestaurant.com.  
Dinner Tuesday-Saturday

 

Merchant
CBD Creativity

When the Maritime Building in the CBD was converted into high-end apartments, residents there soon received a little lagniappe. Illy coffee distributor Rosario Tortorice was apartment hunting when he bumped into developer Marcel Wisznia in the lobby. “I had an Illy coffee cup in my hand and we got to talking,” Tortorice recalls. This chance encounter resulted in the creation of Merchant, a sleek combination café, coffee shop and wine bar that was subsequently slotted into the ground floor as an amenity.

The new business partners enlisted the help of architect Ammar Eloueini, who designed the striking space. With a clean, minimalistic design that looks as though it were inspired by a certain company in Cupertino, Calif., (home of Apple Inc.), its snow-white louvered walls and ceiling are softened by rustic accents of reclaimed wood. The limited seating gets a boost from a wrap-around dining area that extends into the lofty atrium of the Maritime building. Clearly, Merchant isn’t your average lobby afterthought.

Design aside, in a city where coffee options are still pretty much defined by chicory and hazelnut flavorings, Merchant is one of the few places that studiously avoids such additives and puts the coffee beans first. The beans of choice are, fittingly enough, Illy, and the drinks are classic café selections like espresso, macchiato and cappuccino. Shots are pulled on a gleaming XP1, a custom-built collaborate effort between the renowned espresso machine maker La Cimbali and Illy. “Within 1,000 miles of New Orleans there are probably just three or four of those machines,” Tortorice says. “The thermal stability of it is far superior from anything else on the market.”

The dining menu is grounded in European café standards, punched up slightly with input from Tortorice and a little help from Neal Bodenheimer of Cure. A trip to France during its planning stage figured in Tortorice’s adding crêpes into the menu. They come in both savory and sweet iterations.

For savory, consider the salumi and egg with goat cheese and red onion. For sweet, classics like Nutella and banana never go out of style, and you can concoct your own from a list of ingredients. Salads, crostini and croque baton sandwiches are offered as well.

In the evenings, the scene switches over from coffee shop to wine bar, adding reference No. 3 to their catch phrase “Coffee, Crêpes, Grapes.” The wine program draws a lot of residents,” says Tortorice. “It is casual and very approachable.”

- J.F.

Merchant, 800 Common St., 571-9580, MerchantNewOrleans.com.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week


Irish House
Old-Country Authenticity

The Irish arrived in New Orleans at an early date and have been one of the strongest influences on the city’s culture. Two centuries of assimilation left us with a lot of Irish bars, but not a lot of authentic Irish food, music or dance. Irish food doesn’t have quite the allure of other “ethnic” cuisines, but that’s not entirely fair. Ireland is most famous for rustic cooking, but in the hands of a talented chef, sometimes peasant food can be elevated to haute cuisine.

Chef Matt Murphy is a native of Dublin, and when he decided to open his own place after several years of heading the fine-dining kitchens at the Ritz-Carlton, he naturally focused on the food of his native land. He opened the Irish House, and the combination of a properly poured Guinness, traditional Irish pub fare and elements of Murphy’s fine-dining background have rapidly made it a hit.

In addition to a full Irish breakfast, the restaurant serves lunch and dinner, with the menu getting progressively more upscale as its shadows lengthen. Irish stew and shepherd’s pie are good bets, but the boudin with colcannon and smoked tomato sauce is more emblematic of Murphy’s approach; it’s a combination of local ingredients, Irish cooking and Murphy’s background as a fine-dining chef. Murphy developed relationships with local farmers and producers when he was at the Ritz-Carlton, and he’s continued to reap the benefits of those contacts. Much of Murphy’s menu is sourced from nearby producers, something in which he takes pride. A more casual pub menu is available at the bar, but if you see something on that menu that interests you, you can probably get it even if it falls outside of the service window.

Murphy also wanted his pub to include a shop where guests could buy hard-to-find Irish goods, so there’s a retail space, on the second floor of the restaurant traditional Irish music and dance are performed and the long pews that run parallel to St. Charles face a projection screen television that makes it a great space to catch a game.

Murphy and his wife, Alicia, are seemingly always at the Irish House, and it’s that level of involvement that’s perhaps most akin to the feel of a true public house. This is the Murphys’ passion, and that’s clear from the food and the plate to the Guinness in the pint glass. 

- R.P.

Irish House, 1432 St. Charles Ave., 595-6755, TheIrishHouseNewOrleans.com.
Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday; dinner seven days a week; brunch on weekends; bar menu is available starting at 3 p.m. daily.


Maurepas
Excellence in Bywater

Bywater is one of those neighborhoods that’s continually described as “up-and-coming.” A lot of people moved into Bywater in the last few years, but despite the influx of residents the options for adventurous dining remained fairly limited. That changed earlier this year when chef Michael Doyle opened Maurepas Foods.

Doyle characterizes the food at Maurepas as “robust,” which is a good way to describe the place as a whole; it’s not fancy – there are no tablecloths, and service is casual and friendly. But the food is excellent, and it’s clear that a lot of thought and effort goes into every plate. The quality is remarkable considering that the prices are reasonable; when I dined there last, the most expensive item on the menu – fish and chips – was $14.

The menu changes frequently so that Doyle can take advantage of seasonal ingredients, and some of the best items turned out by the kitchen are vegetables. The slow-cooked greens, root vegetable gratin and roasted broccoli I’ve ordered at Maurepas nearly outshone the more substantial dishes they accompanied.

Goat tacos served with a spicy cilantro harissa were delicious, as was the roasted chicken leg and thigh that came with creamy grits, some of the greens and a poached egg. The fish and chips mentioned above were a bit odd, in that neither the fish or the chips were fried, but the misnomer apart, the dish was pretty good.

Doyle did much of the renovation work on the building occupied by Maurepas Foods himself, and he did a great job. Light filtering into the large, open dining room from picture windows that face Burgundy and Louisa streets creates a nice ambiance.

The cocktail program is another area where the restaurant shines. Some of the drinks may sound odd on the page – the Chameleon’s ingredients include ginger limoncello, cucumber and smoked salt, for example, but the combination works. There are about as many beers on the menu as wines, including the obligatory Pabst Blue Ribbon, but the majority of the options are smaller, craft brews. Wines are available by the bottle, carafe or glass.

Maurepas Foods’ Bywater location is notable, but this restaurant would be making a splash in any neighborhood in the city with its combination of outstanding food, a beautiful setting and excellent service. 

- R.P.

Maurepas Foods, 3200 Burgundy St., 267-0072, Facebook.com/MaurepasFoods
Lunch and dinner Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Sunday

 

Patrick’s Bar Vin
Classy and Sassy!

Through an iron gate that faces the 700 block of Bienville Street, there’s only a small courtyard that separates the often-crazy world of the French Quarter from a very sophisticated setting that would fit quite well in New York City.

The urbane proprietor and owner, Patrick Van Hoorebeek, is both a Belgian and the answer to the puzzling question, “Why isn’t New Orleans home to more European characters? They fit in so well.”

Patrick’s Bar Vin is a comfortable oasis two doors from Bourbon Street and the college student and Uptown attorney hangout, Absinthe House. It has nothing in common with its neighbor. Bar Vin’s wine list is well-chosen and diverse. Wines of every style from around the world are available both by the bottle or the glass. Hoorebeek’s national heritage with beer is well-represented and a wonderful selection of well-made cocktails is featured.

The side view, with access, is of the fountained and covered courtyard in the recently renamed Hotel Mazarin, formerly the St. Louis Hotel. Bar bites, as prepared by Louis XVI chef Agnes Bellet, complete the charms of an impressive space and drink menu. 

- T.M.

Patrick’s Bar Vin, 730 Bienville St., 200-3180, PatricksBarVin.com
Sunday-Thursday, 4 p.m.- 11 p.m., Friday, 2 p.m.- 1 a.m., Saturday, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.


Magasin
Vietnamese Stylishness

When owner Kim Nguyen first opened the doors to Magasin during Mardi Gras, she assumed the crush of patrons was because of Carnival season.

Imagine her surprise when, long after Fat Tuesday, the crowds kept coming. Six months out from its launch, Magasin fits the profile of an overnight success. “It is really surreal,” Nguyen admits. “I never thought that in a hundred years it would happen so fast.”

Before the doors opened, however, a lot had to be done. Nguyen’s family owned the property, which her mother operated as a corner grocery for decades, but turning it into a restaurant entailed a total redo. “I saved enough money and bought the business and renovated the entire place,” she says. “But since college I’ve always loved Magazine Street and I saw a real opportunity here.”

It was a smart move. While there’s a lot of good Vietnamese food around, most of it’s on the West Bank or in New Orleans East and many of these places are short on ambiance. With Magasin, Nguyen brings authentic Vietnamese food to a well-positioned Uptown location with a stylish build-out to boot.

In the kitchen, Nguyen’s fiancé, Lou Tran, is the chef. “He puts his heart and soul into the cooking,” Nguyen says. Magasin sets itself apart with a spring roll station open to the front. “I wanted people to see that they were being made fresh to order,” Nguyen says. “In many other places, they make them in advance and they sit around.” Additionally, Magasin offers nine versions while other places offer just one or two. Stock for the pho is simmered for 14 hours and uses oxtail along with beef bones for added richness. A filet mignon pho is offered, as well as a vegetarian version featuring broth made from carrots, daikon, leeks and onion, along with the usual aromatics. Crowd-pleasing dishes, in particular a grilled pork vermicelli bowl, are light and flavorful, punched up with the usual fresh garnishes.

In a bit of a twist, the bread for the banh mi comes from the nearby La Boulangerie rather than a Vietnamese bakery. Turns out the ever-increasing demand for Dong Phuong’s baguettes has made its prices less competitive. Produce and herbs are gathered daily from local markets, in particular the Vietnamese market out in Versailles. “I go out there with my mom each morning,” Nguyen says. “Herbs there just taste better than what you get in the big stores.” Despite the tony location, price points are kept admirably low.  

- J.F.

Magasin Vietnamese Café, 4201 Magazine St., 896-7611, MagasinCafe.com.
Lunch Monday-Saturday; dinner Wednesday-Saturday


Tamarind By Dominique
Succeeding by Crossing Cultures

Tamarind by Dominique couldn’t be in a more New Orleans location. Lee Circle is one of those intersections that we cross many times, usually without much thought. It divides downtown from Uptown and the Warehouse District from the blossoming corridor along Loyola Avenue.

Tamarind, located in the Hotel Modern (formerly LeCirque Hotel), has a full picture-window view of the proceedings around Lee Circle, including the passing St. Charles streetcars and the visitors driving around who can’t figure out which is the proper lane from which to continue on the circle or get off.

More than a place, however, Tamarind is also a state of mind. Dominique Macquet has once again reached into his island-nation Mauritius background and this time paired that culture with his Vietnamese-born sous chef of 12 years, Quan Tran. The French Colonial influences of the South China Sea meet the Indian Ocean, far off the coast of Africa, all together on a plaza named for an American Confederate general.

A tamarind is a tropical fruit that Macquet enjoyed in his childhood. The restaurant is modern, befitting its location in the hotel of the same name, and provides a contemporary comfort.

Taking many of our local ingredients, like fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables, Macquet and Tran have created exciting new flavor combinations. The appetizer named Louisiana Shrimp is actually just that, but the preparation is tempura kohlrabi coupled with tamarind remoulade. When I think Louisiana shrimp, that thought doesn’t spring to mind. Tamarinds also pop up in a spicy coconut sauce that accompanies the Morgan Ranch charred Wagyu beef tartare.  

Entrées are also worldly and creative. A shiitake mushroom and scallion risotto accompanies the sautéed flounder with a Vietnamese coriander and citrus vinaigrette. Fire-roasted shrimp topped by a kaffir lime beurre blanc are joined by a crispy mirliton and winter squash relish. The grilled diver scallops are topped by a lemongrass beurre blanc alongside wok stir-fried garlic noodles.

And there’s yet another sexy aspect of Tamarind: the cocktails. Kimberly Patton-Bragg at the bar’s helm carries through with the restaurant’s theme and has created delightful libations featuring tamarinds, lychees, lemongrass syrup and jackfruits, along with local stars including satsumas, kumquats and loquats.

To the back of Tamarind is the cocktail bar, Bellocq, which is making quite a name for itself as a gathering spot for the young and eternally hip crowd.  

It all adds up to a complete project continuing the true melting pot theme that is so New Orleans. In reply to the classic question, “Can’t we just all get along?” comes the answer, “Of course we can, when it involves fine ingredients, excellent beverages and chefs willing to see how it all fits together.”

- T.M.

Tamarind By Dominique in the Hotel Modern, 936 St. Charles Ave., 962-0909; TheHotelModern.com.
Breakfast seven days a week; lunch Monday-Friday; dinner Monday-Saturday

 

The Freret Phenomenon

No one saw it coming; it was wholly unpredictable. Of course there was precedent, but that was back in the 1940s and ’50s. Maybe you blinked over the past year and you missed the resurgence of the Freret Street commercial corridor between Napoleon and Jefferson avenues, fueled by eateries and drinking establishments.

Individual business owners and proprietors all came together simultaneously and separately to make Freret Street the hottest of our area’s new dining destinations, maybe even the nation’s. If progressive dining is your milieu, or even if you prefer to sit in one spot and casually enjoy a meal, then Freret Street awaits.


The High Hat Café. Mississippi Delta cuisine comes to New Orleans. Yes, everyone who visits New Orleans already thinks we’re part of the South, but that has really never been the case. At High Hat, we now have our own stamp on Delta hot tamales, all manners of catfish and cornbread alongside indigenous gumbo, poor boys and barbecued shrimp.

The unlikely persona of chef Adolfo Garcia, famous for Rio Mar, La Boca and A Mano, all in the Warehouse District, is the moving force at High Hat, and his repertoire has been culinarily and geographically expanded.

4500 Freret St., 754-1336, HighHatCafe.com


Ancora Pizzeria and Salumeria. Only a thin wall separates chef Garcia’s two side-by-side ventures. OK, a thin wall and a couple of cultures that don’t share a continent. Ancora, if you haven’t been deafened by the buzz around town, is making pizzas like no one ever has in our city. The colorful pizza oven was imported from Naples, Italy, and all pizzas are cooked on its 900-degree floor. They are authentically Neapolitan through and through.

Meats are cured on the premise by a resident salumist, Kris Doll, and every ingredient is absolutely fresh. Recent offerings included a spring squash blossom pizza that literally melts in your mouth.

4508 Freret St., 324-1636, AncoraPizza.com


The Company Burger. Of all the burger restaurants that have opened in the past few years, this one seems to have climbed to the top of the mountain. Owner Adam Biderman keeps it real, and real simple. Harris Ranch hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, ground fresh every day is paired with buns of his design baked on the Northshore, again, every day, then toasted when you order your burger.

Not many variations are available (you can have the classic or a single), but it’s all you can handle. From time to time there’s a lamb burger that will make you swear off beef from that moment on. Cochon Butcher makes the hot dogs, and there’s a good side dish, too.

4600 Freret St., 267-0320, TheCompanyBurger.com


Midway Pizza. Steve Watson, owner, opened Midway Pizza right in the middle of Tropical Storm Lee. This guy isn’t to be followed, except to enjoy his New Orleans version of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. The place is a neighborhood pizza parlor with a bar, some tables, lots of folks chatting it up and plenty of good food coming from the ovens. Its tomato sauce has a bit of weight and the toppings are along traditional lines.

At lunch there’s a real-deal, all-you-can-eat buffet, which is cost-effective (maybe even cheap) and the beer selection is plentiful and cold. Since Watson also owns the King Pin Bar, he knows how to keep a place lively and fun.

4725 Freret St., 322-2815, MidwayPizza.com


Dat Dog. As they say, “Put a smile on your face. The world is a better place with Dat Dog.” It’s true. An only-in-New Orleans alliance between a former federal prosecutor, Constantine Georges, and hot dog guy, Skip Weber, both locals, perfected the concept based on what Weber did while he lived in London. This explains the German Weiner, the Kielbasa, the Slovenian Sausage, Louisiana Hot Sausage, Crawfish Sausage and Alligator Sausage, among other offerings.

The sides are generous, and the buns are perfect to hold the whole shebang. Getting it all in your mouth is the challenge. You will figure it out. By the way, the new location across the street from the old location is quite comfortable and spacious.

5030 Freret St., 899-6883, DatDogNola.com


Pure Cake. The cupcake craze didn’t visit here. Instead, here are always-made-from-scratch cakes, cake pops, filled cake pops, and cookies. Even the toppings are made fresh and on-site. Pure Cake also does custom work such as wedding cakes, party cakes and the like.

Good friends Monique Landaiche and Danielle Ross were both home bakers, and they really enjoyed it. The hobby became the bakery. They note that the location on the rejuvenated Freret Street has been a blessing. “People are walking in just to see what’s going on, and they cannot resist … nor do they seem to want to.”

5035 Freret Street, 872-0065, PureCakeNola.com

– T.M.







 

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