It is finally cool enough to step outside, to stroll the city comfortably and breathe a sigh of relief. Now that we’ve shaken off the summer sluggishness, it’s time to have some fun. For many, that means having some food, too.
“Fall brings a stark transition in both the food and the vibe of the city,” says chef Chris Montero at café b. “With the weather change, the food gets heartier and the vibe is more festive.”
Café b, member of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, is adding to the festiveness of happy hour with the addition of its new raw bar and 50-cent oysters. An Old Metairie favorite, café b is pleased to give Jefferson Parish a taste of what a few French Quarter and downtown restaurants offer: after-work drink specials accompanied by an undeniably great deal on a local delicacy – freshly shucked raw oysters – from 3-7 p.m. Following happy hour, café b dinner guests can further indulge with the full-flavored Oyster Spaghetti. Although the raw oysters won’t be available at lunch, a fried oysters salad may hit your mid-day spot.
“Fall is when the city comes alive,” says Broussard’s General Manager Chris Ycaza. “What I love is that you can finally eat outdoors.” Broussard’s remains one of the city’s most historic restaurants, dating back to 1920. According to Ycaza, the recent renovations to the French Quarter restaurant and Empire Bar revive the building’s history and its founders’ love of food and atmosphere.
“The renovation speaks to Broussard’s amazing history. Our courtyard features an old wisteria from the 1870s that still blooms every spring,” says Ycaza. Broussard’s courtyard offers a picture-perfect Sunday brunch experience, complete with a strolling Jazz trio. The jazz brunch offers a number of classic favorites – Eggs Benedict, Eggs Sardou, Shrimp & Grits – as well as more signature dishes such as the Eggs Versailles, poached eggs with smoked salmon on brioche with American caviar and hollandaise sauce.
In addition to courtyards, balconies present another option for outdoor dining, and Tableau, the latest offering from Dickie Brennan & Co., has both.
“Since we have three floors of dining, we’re able to create a few different environments for guests. The first floor is main dining, the bar and the courtyard. The second floor offers two private dining rooms and a second bar with wrap-around balcony,” says Managing Partner and Owner Dickie Brennan. An additional floor offers two private dining rooms.
New this season, Tableau guests can expect live music in the second floor bar Thursdays through Saturdays and late-night dining available until midnight on those nights. Happy hour is from 3-7 p.m. daily in the bar and features half-priced wines and beers on tap and specially priced, seasonal small plates.
Over at Bayona, where half of the menu is comprised of seasonal daily specials, chef Susan Spicer and company are excited to welcome fall with its fresh variety of vegetables and meats.
“Seasonal flavors are always in the spotlight. Some of our winter favorites are root vegetables, assorted greens, blue crabs, oysters, drum and speckled trout,” says Events Manager and Owner Regina Keever. Some winter favorites that typically make an appearance on the menu are: Goat Cheese Crouton with Mushrooms in Madeira Cream; Veal Sweetbreads served with Lemon Caper or Sherry Mustard Butter; and Peppered Lamb Loin with Goat Cheese and Zinfandel Sauce.
On November 7, look for Bayona at the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s “Boudin, Bourbon, & Beer” foodie fundraiser located in Champion’s Square.
Meanwhile, Uptown presents a new option for traditional Sicilian fare with nuovo influences, including authentic artisan, coal-fired pizzas. The coal oven at Amici contributes more to the menu than pizzas, also adding flavor and crisp to their duck sausage, porchetta rolls and classic rosemary chicken wings.
“The Rizzuto family brought this concept together with recipes handed down from their grandmother,” says chef Chad Matrana. “Our love of cooking, family and friends is why we decided to open Amici and is also the basis for the name, which means “friends.”
Amici is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Their happy hour from 3-6 p.m. and features drink specials and half-off pizzas.
The lure of seasonal seafood isn’t lost on Founder, President and CEO of Chiba Keith Dusko. Chiba is a chic Japanese restaurant with a New Orleans twist. Their sushi bar offers exotic fish from all over the world, while their lively bar features the most comprehensive sake list in Louisiana with 31 cold sakes and eight sakes exclusive to Chiba. Happy hour runs from 4-6 p.m. daily, with late-night “reverse happy hour” until 1 a.m. on weekends.
With careful attention to the quality of ingredients, Dusko and his team take pride in every aspect of the menu, from where they source their seafood to their in-house butchering, pickling and sauce making. This winter, look for items such as the Strawberrry Vigara Cocktail, Hot Buttered Rum with Don Q Añejo, a sautéed Gulf shrimp entrée and ichimi-crusted snapper.
As New Orleans approaches the holidays, several restaurants welcome the season with special celebratory menus. Currently, Antoine’s is featuring their fall $20.14 lunch special, with the new winter $20.14 lunch special menu appearing this December. Each special offers a three-course menu for $20.14 and includes three choices for all three courses – appetizer, entrée and dessert – along with 25-cent martinis (flavors change daily).
People across New Orleans wait every year for Antoine’s to roll out its yearly Reveillon menu – a holiday Creole dining tradition. According to chef Mike Regua, “Many fine dining restaurants like Antoine’s have held on to that tradition and added their own flair to it.” This year’s menu includes Antoine’s exclusive Crayfish Cardinal, soft shell Creole and puppy drum grill, as well as an eggnog bread pudding with praline rum sauce.
Similarly, Arnaud’s will feature a four-course Reveillon menu throughout December as well as holiday-inspired seasonal cocktails, such as the Pumpkin French 75, in the French 75 bar. Arnaud’s is known to be a Thanksgiving hotspot, featuring a four-course lunch menu of both traditional Thanksgiving fare and Creole fare as well. The Thanksgiving menu will be offered alongside their recently updated à la carte menu, which introduces four new dishes and two new desserts.
As always, Arnaud’s will be decked out for the holiday season. “In addition to dining in holiday-laden restaurants, I love taking a toddy and walking through the French Quarter to see all the décor,” says Proprietor Katy Casbarian.
A New Orleans institution for more than 50 years, Deanie’s Seafood celebrates the holidays in more casual fashion, welcoming guests for a “Vince Vance Kids Holiday Sing-along & Dance Party” at their French Quarter location.
“New Orleans’ only live holiday music show for kids, this special program will delight the little ones with an interactive sing-along, face painting, Oops the Clown, holiday crafts, breakfast and photos with Santa,” says Proprietor Barbara Chifici. The four seatings will take place from 9-11:30 a.m. on December 6, 7, 13 and 14. Pop by December 5-7 or 12-14 from 5-10 p.m. for hot chocolate, holiday treats and photos with Santa.
Additionally, Deanie’s Seafood offers a variety of traditional dinner fixings through its Holiday Take-Home Menu available for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The holiday season often motivates the sweet tooth, and Sucré will offer old favorites while introducing new confections and creations. The Holiday Macaron Collection is great for gifting, featuring peppermint and double dark chocolate macarons. This year, look for a new holiday chocolate collection that highlights flavors of the season: gingerbread, Figgie pudding, and eggnog chocolates. Sucré will additionally be rolling out a selection of holiday pies that feature traditional flavors paired untraditionally.
Sucré is excited to announce the opening of a French Quarter store this January to be located at 622 Conti St. The location will offer a Sucré shop downstairs and a new restaurant, Salon, will fill the second floor. Offering a unique dining experience, Salon will be an upscale, full-service, restaurant offering savory foods, cocktails, wine, and – of course – sweets and desserts.
café b 2700 Metairie Road, 934-4700, cafeb.com
Broussard’s 819 Rue Conti, 581-3866, Broussards.com
Tableau 616 St. Peter St., 934-3463, TableauFrenchQuarter.com
Bayona 430 Rue Dauphine, 525-4455, Bayona.com
Amici 3218 Magazine St., 300-1250, AmiciNola.com
Chiba 8312 Oak St., 826-9119, Chiba-Nola.com
Antoine’s 713 Rue St. Louis, 581-4422, Antoines.com
Arnaud’s 813 Bienville St., 523-5433, ArnaudsRestaurant.com
Deanie’s Seafood 841 Iberville St., 581-1316, Deanies.com
Sucré 3025 Magazine St., 3301 Veterans Blvd. (Inside Lakeside Mall) 708-4366, ShopSucre.com