RESTAURANT INSIDER

Ah, March. The month of my birth. Thanks to those of you who remembered and sent me gifts; to hell with the rest of you.

Broussard’s (819 Conti St.), the venerable Creole restaurant in the French Quarter, pictured above, isn’t the kind of place that changes very often. Chef Gunther, his wife Evelyn and son Mark Preuss throw a changeup every so often, however, and recently the restaurant started serving lunch from Friday to Sunday. When I spoke to Chef Preuss, he was not sure whether the Friday or Saturday lunches were going to continue, but the Sunday brunch is definitely on.

Broussard’s is also offering a “happy hour” dinner, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., consisting of three courses for $24.50, with $1 martinis and $5 house wines. When I saw the menu, there was a selection of two appetizers, which most recently were crawfish in a mustard-dill béchamel over fried eggplant and a salad with marinated goat cheese, olives and sun-dried tomatoes. Entrées include a grilled ribeye with pommes frites and brandy-cream sauce, a seafood-stuffed mirliton over wild rice risotto and a citrus-marinated Gulf fish with mushroom, asparagus and tomato fricassee, citrus brown butter and rice pilaf. Desserts were a choice between classic bread pudding and vanilla ice cream between layers of Italian pastry cookies with a chocolate brandy sauce. Call the restaurant at 581-3866 for reservations.

In other news involving classic Creole restaurants, Antoine’s Annex (513 Royal St.), above, has opened just across from the Rib Room. The shop serves French pastries, including individual baked Alaskas, ice cream and gelato, as well as panini, salads and coffee. The shop is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily, and you can call them at 581-4422.

Ralph’s on the Park (900 City Park Ave.) has managed to secure a source for Wagyu beef imported from Japan. Chef Chip Flanagan buys whole ribeyes and then cuts them down for sale at $12 per ounce, with a three-ounce minimum.

That may sound like a lot, but the meat is so rich that three or four ounces are about what you want.

When I had the opportunity to sample the meat at the restaurant’s invitation recently, Flanagan served two ounces over a cauliflower puree, seasoned with just some sea salt and pepper. That’s all it needs; an aggressive sauce would hide what’s beautiful about the meat. This also isn’t something to order if you like your beef well done; much of the experience is the melting texture of the well-marbled meat. If this is of interest to you, call Ralph’s on the Park at 488-1000 to make sure the beef is available before you head over. 

Martin Wine Cellar will host Once Upon A Vine XVI on March 28, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Pavilion of the Two Sisters in City Park. The event allows participants to sample more than 175 wines, artisanal cheeses, specialty meats and food prepared by Martin’s catering staff. Call them at 896-7300 to purchase tickets, which are $70 per person, or for more information.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? E-mail Peyton: rdpeyton@gmail.com

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