Root’s Cohiba-Smoked Scallops (Photo: Joshua Brasted)
If you’re a resident of New Orleans and you regularly stop by the Crescent City Farmer’s Market or Hollygrove Market, which sources from local farmers, you’ll start to notice familiar faces from week to week. These are probably chefs, and many are shopping for that night’s menu. With a year-round growing season in southern Louisiana, they rarely leave disappointed. Here’s where you can sample their dishes, highlighting the best of the local bounty.
Newly opened in the French Quarter, Chef Alex Harrell explores a variety of southern cuisines, often taking it on a detour through the Mediterranean before it arrives on your plate. Look for locally sourced ingredients like Louisiana blue crab, and a salad with Louisiana greens and pork cracklings.
This Bywater neighborhood favorite is located on the ground floor of a former rice mill near the banks of the Mississippi River. Chef Ian Schnoebelen launched his first New Orleans restaurant shortly after Hurricane Katrina. After a couple of reallocations and changes in approach, he opened this classy, airy, Italian-inspired bistro. Sample his take on Gulf oysters, shrimp, short ribs or duck. Or go with a salad with anchovy and pig ear. (Note: Not every New Orleans salad comes with meat. But many do.)
Nobody confuses this lively spot with a sleepy, southern restaurant. The kitchen and staff put on a show with every meal — it’s most famous for the Cohiba-smoked scallops, served in a smoke-filled cigar box. The inventive dishes run the gamut and include extensive charcuterie selections, but the restaurant has forged good working relationships with local farmers and other purveyors, assuring you’ll get a taste of the land served with a side of over-the-top.
Bayou-born and bred chef Melissa Martin started the Mosquito Supper Club last year to serve locally harvested produce and fresh-caught seafood, just like “a Sunday afternoon at my grandmother’s house.” It’s a pop-up that’s gradually evolving to something more permanent. See where it will surface next by checking their website. Reservations are required.