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It is easy to miss Bistro Daisy on Magazine Street, where it is wedged into a narrow lot alongside the National Art and Hobby shop. But to pass it up would be to pass up the chance to enjoy some of the more delicious bistro fare New Orleans has to offer. The menu is grounded in traditional French bistro fare, yet it is also attuned to the indigenous flavors and ingredients of southeast Louisiana. The results make for a pleasant experience, and it strikes a neat balance of being upscale without any pretention.
Chef Anton Schulte his wife Diane opened the restaurant in 2007 following their departure from La Petite Grocery. The overall feel is welcoming and personable, thanks in great part to the gracious Diane. While the menu is essentially fixed, daily specials are geared to take advantage of what is currently in-season, particularly with regard to seafood. Their established core dishes are carefully considered and well-executed.
Appetizers include a dish of lump crabmeat, shrimp and crawfish in a light, spicy horseradish aioli. Each are allotted their own piece of real estate thanks to dividing hedgerows of breadcrumbs, with a mini-haystack of seasoned, cool cucumber shreds centering the plate. The crab and crawfish benefit from the aioli, and the shrimp, prepared in a spicy boil, add an extra layer of zing.
Their signature Daisy Salad features strips of mozzarella, roasted red bell pepper, arugula, and pumpkin seeds. Fanned out on the plate, the presentation echoes its namesake flower. The salad comes dressed with white balsamic vinaigrette, with the pumpkin seeds adding crunch and nuttiness. Another choice is the warm spinach salad with toasted almonds, bacon, roasted shallots and sherry vinaigrette, topped with a tangy puck of fried goat cheese. For soup, a special soup of roasted garlic and mushroom was scented with saffron and topped with diced pancetta.
For entrees, sautéed gulf shrimp are complemented by creamy garlic grits and wedges of roasted mirliton (which are first parboiled in crabboil-infused water, lending some spiciness). Finishing the mirlitons by roasting them, gives some textural contrast as well, crisping the outside while the inside remains super-tender. The whole is bound together with a sun-dried tomato buerre blanc, garnished with salty bits of pancetta.
Another entrée of grilled, boneless lamb fit the bill for springtime, albeit on the heavier side, as it was grounded by a powerful smoked tomato and rosemary-infused demi-glace. Sharp parmesan risotto provided the starch and wilted pea-shoots and pine nuts provided the vegetable component.
For dessert, the individual-sized Baked Alaska is tasty, a reconfigured old-fashioned dessert that gets new life breathed into it here. The restaurant is deceptive from the outside; it has more seating than one might imagine and opens up toward the back.
The main room fills quickly and can get quite noisy, especially if you are seated in the center of the room. The wine list is short but well-chosen, particularly with the whites and champagne, and half-bottles of the house wine available as well. The service is knowledgeable and friendly.
5831 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70115