HONOR ROLL: BRENNAN’S
(Ed. note: As of press time, Brennan’s Restaurant was closed for hurricane repairs but is scheduled to reopen in spring 2006.)
The beauty of a meal at Brennan’s is the consistency: You can go a while between visits, but your next visit will meet all of your expectations. That may be because only three chefs have presided over the kitchen since 1946. For a quarter of a century, Paul Blange, who is credited with inventing bananas Foster in 1951, held that honor. He was succeeded by his protégé, the recently deceased Michael Roussel, who worked in Brennan’s kitchen in various capacities for 49 years (and who missed his 50th anniversary at the restaurant by just two months). Today, chef Lazone Randolph has seamlessly moved into the top culinary spot at Brennan’s, guiding the staff with his steady, experienced hand. Randolph has worked in the Brennan’s kitchen for 40 years.
When the definitive history of Royal Street is written, it will likely be eggs Hussarde that ensures a winning legacy. That is the signature breakfast dish served by the hundreds every week at Brennan’s. Could the Brennans have known way back when that the restaurant would be the harbinger of good taste and gracious living in the city that care forgot? And who knew that a couple of poached eggs over Holland rusks with Canadian bacon and marchand de vin sauce would stand the test of time even better than other 1940s innovations like Packard automobiles, zoot suits and rationing?
We do like our traditions in New Orleans, don’t we? Well, yes, but we like our Sazeracs, gin fizzes and blackened redfish even more. As the Irishman who started it all nearly 60 years ago, Owen Brennan, said, “A restaurant is only as good as the last meal served.” –Paul Greenberg