• One of the more interesting things about Lüke, John Besh’s restaurant at 333 St. Charles Ave. in Hotel Monaco, is that it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and doesn’t close between services. I’m lucky enough to have an office across the street and as a result I’ve had a few chances to experience their breakfast. The pancakes come five to an order and are served with cane syrup and seasonal berries. The “Southern” breakfast comes with two eggs prepared any way you’d like, sausage, ham or bacon, grits and a biscuit. This is not a greasy spoon-breakfast – the kitchen paid the same attention to the eggs I ordered over-medium that they do to lunch and dinner entrées. The bacon and house-made sausage are both outstanding, with the sausage in particular cutting a nice balance between spicy and rich. Top it off with some very hearty stone-ground grits and you’re in business. Assuming your business is eating a good breakfast. Incidentally, if your business is eating a good breakfast, I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter.
• If you’re in the market to have some knives sharpened or honed, check out Alpine Knives, located at 1901 Veteran’s Blvd. in Metairie. Alpine, which sells clocks, cutlery and decorative swords, also has a drop-off sharpening service. Alpine’s selection of cutlery is wider than you’ll find anywhere else in the New Orleans area, with an especially wide variety of Japanese knives.
• Kanno Sushi, hidden away in a strip mall in Fat City at 3205 Edenborn Ave., may be the most authentically Japanese sushi restaurant in the New Orleans area. It’s on the small side but with only one man preparing all of the fish consumed on the premises, that’s a matter of necessity. Sushi Chef Hidetoshi Suzuki serves what he likes and what he knows his customers will order. Many of the choices come with some variety of the Japanese vinegar and citrus-based Ponzu sauce, which is more in keeping with the Japanese style than the soy sauce/wasabi combination to which we’ve become accustomed in the U.S. The menu has some unique touches, such as a spicy soft shell crab miso soup that’s absolutely outstanding. It’s rich, spicy and has a very pure crab flavor. In some ways it reminds me of a good, but spicier, seafood gumbo.
Chef Suzuki’s extremely particular about the fish he serves and also tries to maintain seasonality in his ingredients; he prefers to serve Uni (Sea Urchin) when it’s at its peak, in much the same way that our local oysters are better in cold weather.
• Chef Chris DeBarr of Delachaise, located at 3442 St. Charles Ave., is cooking at the Upper 9th Ward Farmer’s Market, operated by the Downtown Neighborhood Market Consortium on the first Saturday of the month. According to the Web site (www.dnmc.org), the market runs from 1-4 p.m. on Saturdays but DeBarr’s meals start at noon. The menu is a choice between two entrées with appropriate sides that change with the season and the availability of ingredients. If you’ve tasted DeBarr’s cooking at Delachaise, you know that the price – $10 for adults, $5 for kids – is a steal and for a good cause.