Porkers take note: The burger is finally having its moment in New Orleans. With new burger joints popping up around town and old favorites going strong, all-American patties are sending all the little piggies home.
Cowbell, located in a renovated garage where Oak Street meets River Road, is a swoon-worthy diner decorated with flea-market finds and humorous art. There are tons of amazing food choices, but you won’t find much pork on the menu (besides flavor-boosting bacon!). Free-range burgers are king of the griddle and mouthwateringly delicious. The all-natural patties are ample, cooked perfectly medium and served on toasted potato rolls that are the best buns in the city (unless Brad Pitt’s in town). Hand-cut fries are accompanied by house-made ketchup and “agogo sauce,” a mayonnaise and red pepper dipping sauce with a little Sriracha kick. All burgers have the choice of various toppings including artisanal cheeses and a house-made zinfandel, bacon and onion compote. My sister recently engulfed a free-range lamb burger special with feta cheese and sweet potato fries in seconds flat – though she’s pregnant. Veggie burgers are also made in-house, as is a mean clam chowder and must-try apple pie that seems like the lovechild of a turnover and cobbler, made with flaky filo dough filled with warm tender slices of apple surrounded in decadent syrup. It is like your own personal wreath of temptation, one you won’t want to hang up.
Capdeville, a CBD bar and grill inspired by rock ‘n’ roll and British social houses, serves up a slew of top-notch burgers. The Capdeville burger, featuring Gruyère, fried onions, bibb lettuce, garlic aioli and au poivre sauce is a lunchtime favorite. The Manchego La Mancha Burger is for the adventurous, topped with the Spanish sheep’s milk cheese, green tomato jam and a fried egg.
A selection of hand-cut fries costs extra, but is worth it, with choices ranging from truffle Parmesan to poutine fries, with mozzarella cheese curds and au poivre sauce. Though, savvier gourmands might opt for a side of truffled mac and cheese with little bits of pancetta, peas, sage, Parmesan and brown butter sauce. All pints are $1 off during lunchtime, when lawyers and office workers flood the restaurant – but don’t feel bad if you’re only in jeans and a T-shirt; not everyone can pull off the rock star look.
A pop-up restaurant is a joint that basically pays to use a professional kitchen instead of having an actual place of its own, and the latest local pop-up is MVB (Most Valuable Burger). The restaurant runs out of Slim Goodies on Sunday nights. Its cult following lines up on Magazine Street – hoards of burger fanatics waiting to get house-made pimento cheese fries and burgers dressed and slathered in Larkin sauce, a seemingly simple mixture of mayo and mustard. Its vision is simple: It opens at 5 p.m. and stays open until it runs out of food. It serves burgers, cheeseburgers with Gruyère and cheddar, thin-cut fries with house-made apple ketchup, malts and milkshakes made from Sucré gelato and always a specialty burger: quality beef ground with the likes of brisket or hot sausage, or stuffed with foie gras and smothered in truffled mushrooms. To say that people are obsessed with MVB would be an understatement. They only take cash.
Lakeview Harbor is the perfect gathering spot for your mama and them. There is even a crane-machine game to occupy the kids while the rest of you enjoy some peace and quiet and burgers, glorious burgers. The turkey burger comes with a side of sautéed spinach flavored with garlic and a hint of soy sauce, for those watching their figure.
Or you can pile the spinach on the turkey burger and order a side of tater tots covered in cheese and bacon. The whopping mushroom and cheese burger is a go-to favorite, as is the accompanying baked potato that you can also smother in mushrooms – which my pregnant sister swears are cooked in booze. The best part is, two doors down, you can get McKenzie’s King Cakes and buttermilk drops for dessert at the Tastee Donuts, but you should probably try to fit in some exercise afterward.