Traditional recipes

The 10 Best French Restaurants in America

The 10 Best French Restaurants in America

From neighborhood bistros to bastions of haute cuisine, these are America’s best French restaurants

#10 Thomas Henkelmann, Greenwich, Conn.

Born in the Black Forest of Germany near the Alsatian border, chef Thomas Henkelmann acquired his extensive culinary training around France, Germany, and Switzerland, working in places ranging from his family’s restaurant to the world-renowned Hôtel Le Richemond in Geneva to the three-Michelin-starred Auberge de l'Ill in Alsace. The contemporary French menu in his dining room at the Homestead Inn follows the seasons, and can include dishes like pheasant quenelles crowned in puff pastry served with pheasant consommé, foie gras, Périgord black truffles, and porcini mushrooms; grenadin of veal with a Maine lobster risotto and Parmesan-Reggiano lace; and roasted loin of venison with bow-tie pasta gratin, red cabbage, poached pear, red wine venison sauce, and watercress.

#9 Little Bird, Portland, Ore.

yelp/Christina L.

Little Bird is two-time James Beard Award-winning chef Gabriel Rucker’s French bistro, located in downtown Portland (the birthplace of James Beard), and is the more wallet-friendly sibling of his other acclaimed Rip City restaurant, Le Pigeon. Despite the slightly more affordable prices, the quality is still top-notch; in the daytime, it is a popular lunch spot serving des plats français classiques like roasted marrow bones with ham, cheese, onions, and smoked honey and a savory brioche bread pudding comprising corn, green beans, morel mushrooms, and summer truffle. Come dinnertime, the eatery transforms into one of the most romantic, date-friendly restaurants in town, serving dishes such as seared foie gras with chicken skin, lentils, lovage, and strawberry chutney and duck confit with green beans, hazelnut, pickled cherries, and a smoked foie gras vinaigrette.

#8 Le Pichet, Seattle

yelp/Eileen C.

You can take a culinary trip across the Atlantic at this lovely little bistro. Le Pichet looks, feels, and tastes Parisian thanks to its savvy co-owners. Chef Jim Drohman studied cooking in the City of Lights, while sommelier Joanne Herron has tasted her way through France’s boutique wineries, and this extensive palate training shows up on both the plates and in the glasses. Regulars and newcomers alike adore the Gallic fare: brandade de morue nîmoise with olive oil, cream, and potato served with marinated olives and grilled bread; pâté albigeois with honey and walnuts; and roast chicken with white beans and carrots.

#7 Palme d'Or, Miami

High-class French fine-dining bastion Palme d’Or, located in Coral Gables’ Biltmore Hotel, has been consistently rated as one of Miami’s best restaurants. Light woods, white tablecloths, chandeliers, and, of course, palm trees create a stylish and sophisticated, yet unstuffy atmosphere. All of this makes it the perfect location to enjoy a four-, six-, or eight-course prix fixe menu that utilizes only the freshest seasonal ingredients in ways that elevate traditional French cuisine to modern, envelope-pushing extremes. Appetizers include le tartare de thon with avocado, cucumber, heart of palm, and mango and tangerine-poached Alaskan king crab served with carrots, mint, onions, and sweet peas. Entrées include roast quail with green vegetables and morel mushrooms and barbarie duck with rhubarb that incorporates both a seared breast and confit leg.

#6 Everest, Chicago

True to its name, Everest (which came in at No. 67 on our list of The 101 Best Restaurants in America) towers head and shoulders above many of Chicago's other upscale restaurants — literally, from its perch on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange Building, as well as gastronomically, through Alsatian-born chef Jean Joho's superlative French food. The James Beard Award-winning chef, who also operates the Eiffel Tower Restaurant in Las Vegas, has crafted a menu of dishes with inspired flavor pairings, and a recent tasting menu included presskopf (headcheese) of pheasant, duck, and quail with truffle vinaigrette; New York State foie gras, pineapple quince, and Alsace spice cake; and line-caught cod with stuffed macaroni, salsify, and pinot noir jus. The 1,600-bottle wine list stuns almost as much as the views — above all because of its collection of great wines from Joho's home region.

#5 Guy Savoy, Las Vegas

The original Paris version of this restaurant, which earned three Michelin stars, is elegant and consistently wonderful. The Las Vegas iteration possesses two Michelin stars of its own (it’s also earned five stars from Forbes). The $290 menu closely resembles the €420 ($455 USD) Parisian one; both contain such Savoy modern classics as "colors of caviar," artichoke and black truffle soup, and salmon iceberg. A few years back, a writer for Gourmet ate the same food at the Paris and Las Vegas restaurants and found them pretty much equal in quality, so it makes sense that the restaurant was identified as the 18th best in the country on our ranking of the top 101 this year. Ironically, at the Las Vegas Guy Savoy, you can even see an Eiffel Tower out the window (the one at the Paris Hotel) — a sight that the Parisian Guy Savoy can't match.

#4 Bouchon Bistro, Yountville, Calif.

Shellfish platters, pâté, salt cod beignets, steak frites, escargots, and other bistro basics are on the menu at this authentically reimagined French bistro in the Napa Valley — and the fact that the man who created Bouchon Bistro in 1998 (four years after launching the French Laundry) is Thomas Keller means that it’s all very, very good. Bouchon (which was voted the 15th-best restaurant in the country on our 2015 list) is about traditional fare executed with care, like year-round specials including poulet rôti roasted with English peas, garden lettuce, bacon lardons, and chicken jus; truite amandine with toasted almonds and beurre noisette; and gigot d’agneau with boulangère potatoes. The boudin blanc with potato purée and dried French plums is simply amazing.

#3 Jean-Georges, New York City

Jean-Georges/Yelp

Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the few chefs in New York City with the distinction of four stars from The New York Times, and his eponymous restaurant was ranked No. 5 on our list of The 101 Best Restaurants in America this year. At Jean-Georges in the Trump International Hotel and Tower, one of the few restaurants left in New York where gentlemen are required to wear jackets, his classic French technique bridges old and new worlds and eschews heavy sauces. The prix fixe menu at Jean-Georges, executed by executive chef Mark Lapico, features an assortment of the chef’s signature dishes, like “Egg Caviar,” a lightly scrambled egg topped with whipped cream and ossetra caviar that’s one of the city’s greatest bites of food.

#2 Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas

The cooking is simply exquisite in this opulently furnished dining room in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. As the first restaurant opened in America by the famed, award-winning Robuchon, widely considered the greatest of modern French chefs, Joël Robuchon maintains the highest standards under the guidance of chef Steve Benjamin. The 16-course tasting menu is a truly memorable experience — as it ought to be at $445 a head, wine not included. It’s worth every penny, and is so good it landed the No. 3 spot on our 2015 edition of The 101 Best Restaurants in America. If you can reserve a table, you’ll be served dishes such as black truffle tart with confit onions and smoked bacon, frog leg fritters with garlic purée and parsley coulis, and seared diver sea scallop served with kumquat and caviar.

#1 Daniel, New York City

Daniel Boulud’s flagship, Daniel, maintains French haute cuisine’s standards of service and culinary excellence that hark back to an earlier era. But the cooking is up-to-date and really, really good, and the menu changes daily. If you are lucky enough to score a reservation, you may sample dishes as part of a four-course $135 or seven-course $225 prix fixe menu under the watchful eye of executive chef Jean François Bruel. Chilled oysters “en gelée” with fennel mousseline, sea urchin finger lime, and white sturgeon caviar; warm Austrian white asparagus with sherry wine mousseline and Ibérico ham; and glazed sweetbreads with potato gnocchi, Louisiana crayfish, sweet pea purée, cockscombs, and porcini are among the dishes you might be served. It’s not only the best French restaurant in America, but was named the best restaurant in the country by our experts earlier this year, full stop.


Popular French Foods in America

Many foods have migrated across the pond over the past few years to become American favorites. Those foods are often "Americanized" or changed to fit the American palate. Some French foods, however, have become popular in America without much alteration. These are foods that native Frenchmen may find to be a little nostalgic of home--if they are eaten at the proper establishment.


The 10 Best French Restaurants in America - Recipes

France's
ten most famous dishes

My famous French dish ranking is based on my interviews with food-loving travelers around the globe.

Mediterranean fish and shellfish stew served over a toasted slice of bread..

Custard enriched with ham an other ingredients cooked in a pastry shell.

Sauced pan-sauteed steak served with french fries.

Chicken, mushrooms, and cured pork braised in red wine broth.

Beef pieces braised with red wine and mushrooms.

Slow baked bean, suusages, preserved duck, and tomatoes.

Snails cooked in a special six-holed ceramic pan.

Mussels cooked in a herb-flavored white wine broth.

Sausages and a host of other ingredients cooked in sauerkraut.

Floured filet of sole gently pan sauteed in butter.

Famous French cuisine runners-up

They include Coquilles St Jacques, Cuisse de Grenouille, Quenelles, Steak Tartare, Steak au Poivre, Tornedos Rossini, and Tripes à la Mode de Caen.


Confit de Canard

crispy duck confit, broccoli rabe, fingerling potatoes, orange, preserved lemon goat cheese crème fraîche 32.00

Poulet Rôti Provençal

roasted half chicken, riz rouge, tomato, baby kale, tapenade, pan jus 27.00

Basse Noire Piperade

pan seared black bass, bell pepper ragout, crispy Basque chilies, olive oil 29.00

Tagine Végétarienne

Moroccan vegetable stew, spiced wheat berries, English peas, asparagus, tarragon crème fraîche, toasted almonds 24.00

Moules et Frites

our classic Vendôme mussels, garlic, herbs, white wine, frites 32.00

Filet de Porc*

espelette rubbed pork tenderloin, crème fraîche and melted leeks, whipped potatoes, radish, cherry demi 27.00

Flat Iron Steak, frites, béarnaise


David Tanis’s braised lettuce and sweet peas

David Tanis’s braised lettuce and sweet peas. Photograph: Gentl And Hyers

If your great-great-grandmother was French or British, she would have known how to braise lettuce. Although braised lettuce was once a rather common dish, it’s rarely seen in the 21st century. To me, the concept still has great appeal, but it’s best when the lettuce is cooked just until tender. Add sweet peas if you are making this in the spring or summer otherwise, skip them and just add the herbs. Any kind of sturdy head will work for this dish: little gem or romaine lettuce is a good choice.

Serves 4-6
little gem lettuces 6, or 2 small heads romaine
butter 2 tbsp
onion 1 medium, diced
salt and pepper
chopped ham 50g
shelled peas 150g
chicken stock or water 110ml
parsley 1 tbsp, chopped
mint 1 tbsp, chopped

If using little gem lettuces, trim the bottoms and discard the tough outer leaves. Cut lengthwise in half, rinse briefly, and drain. If using romaine, cut the heads into quarters.

In a wide large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ham, peas and broth, and bring to a simmer. Add the lettuces in one layer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Put on the lid and let steam for about 5 minutes, until the lettuce is tender.

Stir in the chopped parsley and mint.
From One Good Dish by David Tanis (Workman Publishing, £17.99). To order a copy for £14.75, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of £1.99.


The 40 Most Expensive Restaurants In America

From desserts delivered on cranes to pizzas costing more than his and hers Gucci shoes, there&rsquos a lot of expensive food out there. Whether you're celebrating a promotion or just feel like balling out by dropping a month&rsquos rent on a burger, there are plenty of places across the country where you can do just that.

With over 100,000 bottles in the cellar at Bern's Steak House, it can be pretty tricky to make a selection, but this 1845 Gruaud-Larose is always a safe bet. To guarantee you're getting your money's worth, the wine that predates the Civil War comes with a certificate of authenticity certifying the bottle came from estate inventory and was checked and re-packaged at the estate in 1996. If spending a year's tuition on a bottle isn't quite your style, the menu also offers her younger sister from 1855 for $42,000.

For those who think New York is just 99-cent slice shops, a trip to Industry Kitchen will certainly change their mindset. A 48-hour heads-up will get the kitchen started on preparing a pizza topped with stilton cheese, foie gras, Ossetra caviar, shaved truffles, and 24-karat gold. If that doesn&rsquot feel decadent enough, you can throw on half an ounce of Almas caviar for an additional $700.

We&rsquove always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not start it off with a $1,000 frittata? At Norma&rsquos in New York City, the classic egg dish gets a luxurious twist with the addition of 10 ounces of caviar and a pound of lobster. If you&rsquore not ready to fork over that chunk of change, Norma&rsquos also offers a petite version at a more reasonable $100.

With almost as many ingredients as dollar signs, this $1,000 sundae at Serendipity is worth every penny. Madagascar vanilla-infused Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream is covered with 23-karat gold leaf, chocolate syrup made from Amedei Porcelana (one of the most expensive chocolate&rsquos in the world), chunks of rare Venezualan Chuao chocolate, candied fruits from Paris, chocolate truffles, gold-covered almonds, marzipan cherries, more edible gold leaf, oh, and a small bowl of unsalted caviar infused with passion fruit, orange, and Armagnac. Because apparently, caviar goes great with ice cream.

As its name indicates, Sin City is littered with temptation and indulgence but the 777 Burger at Le Burger Brasserie in famed Cesar&rsquos Palace might take the cake. Complete with Kobe beef, lobster, pancetta, foie gras, goat cheese, and arugula, this $777 burger will make you feel like a high roller, at least until the check comes.

Why spend 99 cents on a burger from McDonald's when you can spend $5,000 on a burger at Fleur in Vegas? This particular burger may not come with a happy meal but it does come with wagyu beef, seared foie gras, a mound of shaved truffles, and a bottle of 1995 Chateau Petrus (a super high-end Bordeaux) to wash it all down. Cheers to hitting the jackpot.

It&rsquos hard to imagine dropping $2,500 on a tin of popcorn when you can buy a $8 refillable tub at the movie theater but this isn&rsquot the stuff you&rsquoll find at your local AMC. Made with organic sugar, Vermont Creamery butter, Nielsen Massey Bourbon Vanilla, the most expensive salt in the world from The Danish island of Laeso, and 23-karat gold flakes, this popcorn isn&rsquot something you&rsquoll grab by the handful. If you want to taste Berco&rsquos luxurious treat but can&rsquot commit to spending two month&rsquos rent, a reasonable $5 will get you a sample.

In Philly, spending more than $14 on a cheesesteak might be as big a crime as telling someone you&rsquore a Cowboys fan, but Barclay Prime has made a $120 cheesesteak a thing. Thin strips of wagyu beef, foie gras, onions, and truffled cheese whiz are piled onto a sesame bun and served alongside a half bottle of champagne. Tradition be damned, we&rsquoll take a bite.

Kobe beef is the Rolls-Royce of steaks, and when you wrap Kobe steak in 24-karat gold leaf you&rsquore basically enjoying the epitome of luxurious foods. You can try the steak of King Midas&rsquos dreams at 212 Steakhouse in Manhattan which sells a 6-ounce gilded steak for a casual $400.

OK, so this isn&rsquot technically a dish, it&rsquos a full-fledged feast. Throwing down $20,000 at Bourbon & Bones in Scottsdale, Arizona gets you a six-course dinner for 12, which includes a hand-selected customized menu complete with 12 32-ounce dry-aged wagyu tomahawk ribeye steaks, a three-liter bottle of limited edition ZD Abacus wine, and transportation to and from the restaurant in a limo. It&rsquos kind of like going to the prom, if you paid $20,000 for your prom.

Although technically listed at &ldquomarket price&rdquo on the menu at Nello, countless patrons have griped about enjoying the white truffle pasta up until the bill arrives revealing each dish costs $275. Granted, the fungus is a limited seasonal ingredient, but $275 feels a bit steep for a small shaving to garnish some noodles.

You&rsquove never had a steak until you&rsquove had an A5 wagyu steak. These cuts are the highest quality pieces of beef out there which is why the 150-year-old establishment charges $350 for 12 ounces of this premium cut. If that feels like too much of a financial commitment, there&rsquos a more reasonably (ish) priced six-ounce option for $175. What a bargain.


Top 10 Best French Pastries

French croissants are a little pastry made with butter and then carefully baked. Some legends say that Marie-Antoinette was the one to introduce it in France, but French bakers changed the recipe to make it their own. Ordinary croissant is made with vegetal oil and is usually looking straight, butter croissant differs in taste (because they are better) but also in their shape which is more the one of an actual croissant.

2) Éclairs

Éclairs are made with choux pastry filled with a flavored and sweet cream. The most famous one is of course the chocolate Éclair, every pastry shop in France have them! But you can also find coffee flavored Éclair, Vanilla Éclair, Strawberry Éclair with actual strawberries inside, Lemon Éclairs and a great lot of other flavors in some specialized shops.

“L’éclair de génie” many adresses in Paris our favorite at Blue Fox Travel : 13 rue de l’Ancienne Comédie 75006 Paris

3) Cannelés

Cannelés are a regional pastry originally invented in a French town where they make great wine but not only: Bordeaux. Cannelés are a little soft pastry perfumed with Vanilla and a hint of Rhum inside a little caramelized envelope.

“Lemoine” : 74 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris

4) Macaroons

The very famous French macaroons are made of two little almond cookies liked together by flavored ganache or jam. You can find the basics ones (like chocolate, coffee, vanilla or raspberry) in a lot of pastries or snacks shops (even in McDonnad’s!) but some shops make really unusual flavored macaroons! Like for example pepper macaroons or foie gras macaroons!

“Ladurée” many adresses in Paris, our favorite at Blue Fox Travel : 21 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris

Pierre Hermé many adresses in Paris our favorite at Blue Fox Travel : 4 Rue Cambon, 75001 Paris . Take two or three per person and eat it in the Tuilerie garden!

5) Financiers

Financiers are little soft almond flavored cake. They can have a few flavors to go with the almond like raspberry or pistachio, but the original flavor (and the best one!) is just almond. They were invented in France in the XVII th century but not liked for a long time because people associated the taste of almond with cyanide. A clever baker that worked in the financial district of Paris in the XIX th century had the idea to make them into the shape of a gold bar and the pastry was a huge success!

“Hugo & Victor” 40, bd Raspail 75007 Paris

6) Crepes

Crepes were invented in Brittany, a region west of France. We make two kinds of crepes in France: the salty kind with dark flour and the sweet kind with white flour. The best way to eat crepes is of course with apple cider out of those little traditional bowls from Brittany.

Our favorite at Blue Fox Travel is in the permanent market in Versailles!

In Paris : Le petit Josselin, 59 Rue du Montparnasse, 75014 Paris

7) Madeleine

Madeleines or Shell-shaped cookies are a kind of little cake made with eggs and butter. They can be dump in chocolate or made with chocolate chips. Madeleines are the kind of pastry that French people frequently have as a snack with tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

8) Crème Brûlée

Crème Brûlée is a pastry made with egg yolk, vanilla, cream and caramel. The caramelized top is supposed to crack under your spoon to make a contrast with the creamy lower lair of the pastry. You can usually find Crème Brûlée as a dessert in restaurant but some pastry shops can also have some.

9) Brioche

Made really famous by the sentence “Let them eat Brioche” that Marie-Antoinette is rumored to have said, French brioche can actually be used as bread. At breakfast, French people often trade their usual bread for soft and sweet brioche with strawberry or raspberry jam. You can also find a lot of nice little brioches with sugar pieces on top in a lot of pastry shops, French people eat those as a snack.

10) Rose des Sables

Those chocolate pastries are called Rose des Sables because they look like sand roses that you can find in the desert. They are made with cornflakes dipped in melted chocolate. Those pastries are the kind of pastry that French people make themselves but some pastry shop can still propose them sometimes.


Top 10 French Foods: List Of The Best Dishes To Eat In France

When people mention the words “French cuisine” the first thing that pops into my mind is dinner at an extremely expensive restaurant that I can’t afford or sitting in the dining room of my former host family in France and getting offered more food when I’m totally stuffed.

Indeed, the French have some of the most delicious food on planet Earth and they know as they’re very quick to remind you, “En France on mange bien!” or “In France we eat well!”. After having lived in France and spent my entire life among French people I’ve come up with my own top-10 list of favorite French dishes.

Moules frites

This dish consists of mussels and French fries. Actually, this dish is typically Belgian. But, it’s widely enjoyed in France, especially in the North near the Belgian coast. There is a very wide variety of ways of preparing the mussels. Sometimes they are boiled and sometimes they are steamed. Often they’re cooked with either white wine or beer. Shallots, parsley, leeks and garlic can also be added to the sauce.

Cassoulet

Cassoulet is a dish that originates from Southwestern France. The dish consists of white beans cooked with various kinds of meat including pork sausage, goose, duck confit and mutton. The dish is slow cooked in a special dish called a “cassole” and was originally a dish of the peasants. The specific kind of meat used varies depending on the city.

Steak-frites

Steak-frites consists of a piece of steak served with French fries. This is often considered the most typical French dish. A piece of steak, often a rib eye (entrecôte) is pan fried in butter and served “saignant” or bloody with a mountain of chips. Hollandaise and béarnaise sauces are both served with steak-frites. Both France and Belgium claim steak-frites to be their national dish.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon originates from the Burgundy (or Bourgogne), a region in east-central France. The dish is a stew of beef braised in red wine and cooked with garlic, onions and mushrooms. Typically the dish is larded and recipes today call for bacon. Considered a food of the peasants, chefs cook this dish slowly.

Raclette

“Raclette” is name of a cheese that’s used in an entire meal that’s also referred to “raclette”. Raclette originated in Switzerland and consists of melting cheese onto a plate and accompanying it with potatoes, gherkin cucumbers (cornichons), pickled onions and ham or prosciutto. Traditionally the cheese is scraped off the larger block of cheese on to the diner’s plate. But, today the cheese is heated and melted with a special table-top device. The raclette meal is a very social occasion and take place over many hours.

Coq au Vin

Coq-au-vin is one of the most typical French dishes. It literally means “rooster in the wine” and consists of slowly cooking chicken (female hens are used nowaday!) in a sauce of wine, lardons, garlic, muchrooms and various seasonings.

Pot au feu

Pot au feu, or “pot on the fire” is a French stew dish that consists of multiple vegetables such as carrots, leeks, celary, turnips and cabbage cooked with cuts of beef which require longer cooking times. The dish dates back to the 1600s when King Henry IV referred to the dish as “poule au pot” or chicken in the pot.

Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise is a salad that consists of vegetables including tomatoes, lettuce, green beans and potatoes combined with anchovies, olives and hard-boiled eggs and vinaigrette. The salad originates from Nice in Province in the south of France.

Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a vegetable stew dish which originates from Nice in the south of France. The dish uses tomatoes as its base and includes several vegetables which are sautéed separately then added to the stew which is then baked. Vegetables included are onions, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant and squash.

Confit de canard

Confit de canard is a duck dish that’s prepared in a special way which allows for the meat to be extremely tender, flavorful and last for long periods of time. The duck is first salted and rubbed with herbs. After about one day of refrigeration the meat is baked in its own fat at a very low temperature for many hours. The meat is then removed from the bones and can be stored in the refrigerator for several months.

These are my favorite French dishes. What are yours? Please leave a comment below and a link to a delicious recipe if you’d like!


A few of the top chefs and restaurants to experience in Louisiana

Sue Zemanick

As the winner of the 2014 James Beard award for Best New Chef: South, you can be sure Sue Zemanick knows her way around the kitchen. See her in action on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters and on Top Chef New Orleans, or better yet, taste her signature dishes in person at New Orleans restaurants Gautreau’s and Ivy.

Manny Augello

Manny Aguello's Twitter bio sums it up: "obsessed chef & charcutier. culinary activist. representative of the new garde. madly devoted to food & culture. kitchen junkie." While at Jolie's Bistro in Lafayette, Aguello was invited to cook at the Farm to Table Dinner at the James Beard House in New York. Visit Manny at Bread & Circus Provisions in Lafayette for charcuterie and other "playful food."

Jeffrey Hansell

Chef/owner Jeffrey Hansell oversees the kitchen at one of the Northshore’s newest dining destinations, Oxlot 9, based in downtown Covington’s refurbished Southern Hotel. Hansell has trained at New Orleans restaurants Lüke and Commander’s Palace, and in 2014 he was nominated for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef: Gulf Coast award.

Aaron Burgau

Chef Aaron Burgau is the cofounder of Patois, a restaurant serving French fare with Southern accents located in uptown New Orleans. He is also the recent winner of one of Louisiana’s highest culinary honors, the King of Louisiana Seafood award (taking over from 2013 winners Sam and Cody Carroll of Hot Tails Restaurant in New Roads).

Tory McPhail

As the executive chef at New Orleans’ world-famous Commander’s Palace, Tory McPhail has won accolades that include the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the South in 2013. It wasn’t because the competition was lacking, however—that year, competitors for the prize included chefs from local restaurants Domenica and La Petite Grocery.

Emeril Lagasse

Few chefs in the world are so famous that they’re known by one name. Emeril is among them. The man behind Emeril's New Orleans, NOLA Restaurant and Emeril's Delmonico is a pioneer in what’s widely known as “new New Orleans” cuisine—contemporary twists on traditional Creole fare.

Cory Bahr

Chef Bahr’s list of accolades keeps getting longer, with awards that include Food & Wine’s Best New Chef in the U.S. and being named the King of Louisiana Seafood. He’s also one of north Louisiana’s shining culinary stars, exemplified by his restaurants Cotton and Nonna, both located in Monroe.

Justin Girouard

In 2013 he was selected as one of Louisiana Cookin' magazine's "Chefs to Watch." James Beard nominated, Chef Justin Girouard spent six years in the kitchen at Stella! in New Orleans where he perfected his technique before opening The French Press in Lafayette. SAVEUR Magazine named The French Press in their Top 100 Inspiring Place and Things to Eat issue in Jan/Feb 2013.

Susan Spicer

Susan Spicer is a James Beard Award-winning chef best known for Bayona, a fusion restaurant in New Orleans’ French Quarter that is housed in a 200-year-old Creole cottage and courtyard. Stop by Bayona for a taste of Spicer’s multicultural creations, or at Herbsaint (which she cofounded), or her newest endeavor, Mondo.

John Folse

The namesake of the John Folse Culinary Institute and author of The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cooking is also one of Louisiana’s most beloved chefs. Experience dining as an art form at his and chef Rick Tramonto’s Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans and at Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant at Bittersweet Plantation in Donaldsonville.

Louisiana is home to far more praiseworthy chefs. Discover more of them, plus recipes, restaurants and the Taste-umentary video series at Louisiana Culinary Trails. Your taste buds will thank you.


The Best Po' Boys in New Orleans

In a country where sandwich varieties are almost comically vast (seriously, just take a look at 'em all), the po' boy remains a unique New Orleans specialty. You'll find them served on almost every street corner, not to mention gas stations and fancy restaurants alike. But no matter where you're picking up a po' boy, there's one characteristic that truly sets them apart: the quality of the bread, crackly-crisp on the outside, with a tender, almost feathery-light interior.

The light loaf is traditionally served untoasted, packed with fried seafood or gravy-soaked meat, and "dressed"—for the uninitiated, that means shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, mayonnaise, and pickles. So when we set out to find the best the city has to offer, we were on the lookout for a few key traits. First and foremost was, of course, that hallmark bread. But fresh seafood, fried to a golden crisp, was a close second, along with tender, well-seasoned meat. And then there's gravy, served "debris"-style—most commonly with beef, braised or boiled into fine shreds. We wanted a rich, meaty gravy, poured in moderation, and a crisp, flavorful dressing that doesn't overwhelm the other components.

Of course, classic po' boys are just the tip of the iceberg. The city is rife with inventive new creations, and our primary criterion was, at the end of the day, a great sandwich that, traditional or not, captured the spirit of the original.

But what of this original? The po' boy itself dates back in 1929, when brothers Bennie and Clovis Martin began providing free sandwiches from their Martin Brothers Coffee Stand and Restaurant to the city's striking streetcar operators. They referred to the striking men as "poor boys," and filled the bread with combinations like beef gravy and french fries, or mayo, lettuce, and tomato—basically whatever scraps were around.

They worked with local baker John Gendusa to develop a tapered, evenly sized 40" loaf. Great-grandson Jason Gendusa explains that, for economy's sake, the loaf could be cut and served in as many as three equal portions—an option that, unsurprisingly, only boosted the popularity of the po' boy during the Great Depression, when 15 cents would buy a 20-inch sandwich today, a typical 10-inch is more than filling.

With a sandwich so storied and prolific, finding the best New Orleans has to offer can be an exhausting enterprise. Here are the ones we'll return to time and again.

The Fried Shrimp Po' Boy From Parkway Bakery and Tavern

Forced to close its doors for a decade, the historic Parkway Bakery and Tavern in Mid-City triumphantly re-opened in 2003, under the new ownership of neighbor Jay Nix, who restored the property (twice, due to flooding from Hurricane Katrina). Parkway's pale green walls and general vibe nonetheless remain a window into the past—it was one of the first purveyors of po' boys back in 1929, when they became popular with workers at the nearby American Can Company.

These days, you'll find long loaves of fresh bread stacked beside the kitchen to serve the local crowds that know enough to show up early. Justin Kennedy is at the kitchen's helm, where he's become renowned for creating one of the most extensive menus of traditional po' boys in the city.

Sure enough, the Fried Shrimp Po' Boy ($11.65) features some of the best shrimp in town. And with untoasted bread and a classic dressing, it's a purist's quintessential po' boy. Coated in a lightly seasoned batter and fried to a crisp golden-brown, the shrimp are served on an overstuffed, generously dressed Leidenheimer loaf. It's the most widely used po' boy bread in the city, easily recognized by the signature fissures in its crust. The bread itself comes slightly flattened and flaky the crust is firm but light, offering little resistance to each bite. It's not exactly an eat-and-walk type of sandwich, though. You'll want napkins and a plate, since enough of the tender shrimp fall out to make an extra meal.


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