03 January 2011

News! New Orleans Now Has Good Food!

Okay, I am late to this, but, like Ms Palin, I don't read Time Magazine. I found this while trying to ferret out some info about a sex scandal at Rummel HS (nothing found, yet). I don't know Josh Ozersky, and he has won a James Beard Writing Award, but he has the temerity to write this drivel? And he has the nerve to mention Alan Richman's stupid article (he actually pans Brigsten's! The only good thing about this piece is the amazing aquamarine eyes of the Cafe du Monde waitress in the accompanying photo).
So he has family here and has been visiting New Orleans for his whole life, and they couldn't tell him where to eat? Now he visits and finds La Provence, but he couldn't find it when Kris was there. Quel Dommage.
A quote: Restaurants in tourist areas are rarely any better than they have to be, which is to say not great. But Sylvain really tries, and the effort pays off. The thing that struck me was the minimalism, previously a rare commodity in New Orleans. Chef Alex Harrell serves beef cheeks that are just beef cheeks, oleaginous and tender, with a side of potato puree; a crispy-duck confit, finished with Pernod and served with some sumptuous white beans; garlic sausage with napa cabbage; a massive, imposing fried-chicken sandwich; and a very, very good hamburger. (I should note that Harrell knew I was coming as did the other chefs I visited; I always make reservations under my own name, rather than trying to dine anonymously.) Sylvain is not the final word in gastronomy, but the food there would be at home in New York City, Portland, Ore., or San Francisco — which isn't true of anyplace else I know of in the Quarter.

 In the touristic Vieux Carré there are many that would shine in New York or San Francisco (who knew Portland, Oregon is a mecca of cuisine?), Iris, Stella, Bayona, Mr B's -- the list goes on. Sylvain, by the way, has the most useless website I have encountered--I have the link, but you are warned.
When I think of all the outstanding restaurants that New Orleans has produced, Jonathan's, Henri's, Christian's, LeRuth's, Blue Plate Café, The Beacon, Bistro at Maison de Ville, Herbsaint, Brigsten's, Gabrielle, The Bank, The Commerce, Gee & Lil's Jamaican Restaurant, Daniel's, I can only lament this Ozersky has so ignorant a palate. Alas, that such sloppy writing can frame what the country thinks of us.

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