Locals live to eat in New Orleans. With over 900 restaurants, a quote provided by the hotel concierge, many are run by world-renowned chefs and a food-centric staff. In fact, the culture of food is so important the city has their own museum dedicated to cooking and eating.
With so little time in NOLA, I thought finding a favorite Louisiana cuisine hotspot would prove difficult. Instead, I discovered a classy, cozy, corner just a short elevator ride from my suite here at the reopened Grand Hyatt.
New Orleans native, Executive Chef Brian Landry explores the diversity of seafood cooking at Borgne— named after the lake he and his partner, Chef John Besh grew up fishing.
It was late by the time I popped in for a quick bite. The atmosphere was quiet but inviting.
I peered at several entrees walking in; they looked too big for my small appetite so I decided to stick to a few starters instead.
The hostess escorted me to what she said might be the longest cocktail bar (and funkiest) in the city. The mixologist was busy filling silver cups of Pimm’s No. 1, a favorite NOLA cooling-off tonic combined with lemonade, ginger ale, mint leaves and a trademark cucumber garnish.
I complemented my drink with a piping hot creamy bowl of Leroy stew loaded with plump jewels of oysters and a heaping pile of beer-battered onion rings with a side order of spicy remoulade sauce.
My simple dishes were light and delicious but, sadly, I couldn’t squeeze in much else.
My eyes were bigger than my stomach and I skipped the Duck Poppers with jalapeño and bacon, the Spicy Shrimp Fritters with Sambal Dressing and the Crabmeat Croquetas.
Many thanks to Chef Landry for a tour of his kitchen and brief Q&A while I milked my drink dry.