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Review: Bouligny Tavern

Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto

Bouligny Tavern is one of my favorite places to imbibe in New Orleans. Not only do they craft some serious cocktails and feature some great wine and bubbly, but they turn out some badass bar food.

The tavern is the brainchild/extension of Lilette executive chef John Harris, and he manages to keep both restaurants unique yet doesn’t sacrifice his overall cooking style.

The decor is a throwback to the Madison Ave. era so stepping inside transports you to another era and one you wouldn’t expect to find in New Orleans. But it’s a welcome transportation.

Even if you don’t go inside, you can enjoy the outdoor patio in the area between Bouligny Tavern and Lilette. It’s a nice place to be nestled on a day or night with nice weather.

Nice weather, patio furniture, good friends, sipping cocktails, that’s just the New Orleans way. My favorite cocktail on the menu is the Teaticket Fizz. It’s Oolong tea-infused vodka, cranberry liqueur, lemon juice and soda. It’s like an adult iced tea with lemon. It’s light, refreshing and not too sweet.

New Year's Toast

New Year's Toast

Some of my other favorites are the La Madrugada (tequila, St. Germain, grapefruit juice and Campari), the La Paolista (cachaca, lime juice, Roi Rene Rouge and prosecco) and the Aperol Spritzer (Aperol, prosecco and orange peel. A great friend of mine turned me on to subbing Piper Heidsieck in the Aperol Spritzer in place of prosecco and it’s a great substitution.

Now, onto the food. The food at Bouligny Tavern is phenomenal. It’s appropriate for a bar, but refined enough for a find dining experience.

Always, always, always start with the Gouda Beignets. They’re lightly fried pillow of air and Gouda. Fried cheese has never been so appetizing.

You also can’t go wrong with the Fritto Miso, a nice fried blend of seafood. Another nice dish from the Fried portion of the menu is the Gnocchi with Truffle and Parmigiano.

Gouda Beignets

Gouda Beignets

Bouligny Tavern also offers a nice variety of bruschetta and crostinis. My favorite is the Marrow and Garlic. I know a lot of people are apprehensive about eating or trying marrow, but it’s such a rich and buttery experience — one I highly recommend. The White Bean Pesto is also a nice one, as is the Burrata, Fleur de Sel and Truffle Oil.

Another highlight is the seven-ounce sirloin burger. It’s not as big as some of the other burgers in town, but it packs just as much flavor between two buns. It’s served with tomato, arugula and an herbed aioli that really elevates the nice cut of ground meat. And the sesame bun is toasted to perfection.

The desserts at Bouligny Tavern are a little lacking, but since you can order from Lilette’s menu, I usually just do that.

I’ve had just about everything on the menu and I’ve never been disappointed. What I’ve outlined in this review are just the menu items that are highlights for me. Bouligny Tavern is a great place to celebrate with friends in an environment that is never stuffy. Just make sure you get there early to get a pretty good spot since they don’t take reservations.

Bouligny Tavern is located at 3641 Magazine Street. The hours are Mon.-Thurs. 4 p.m. to midnight and Fri. and Sat. 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Eatin'

 

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Review: J’anita’s

St. Chuck Duck

St. Chuck Duck

Located at The Rendon Inn, J’anita’s has some of (if not the) best bar food in New Orleans — and bar food is an art, in my opinion. It can’t be too greasy or too filling to measure up.

J’anita’s uses great ingredients to make sandwiches, soups and sides worthy of five-star status. They also have daily specials that are worthy of cult status.

Probably the best special is the Meatloaf Sammich. I can honestly say it’s the best meatloaf and best meatloaf sandwich I’ve ever had. A slab of housemade meatloaf, mozzarella cheese, green pepper and red onions is served on ciabatta bread from Stein’s Deli. Just so you know, it’s the Tuesday special so plan ahead accordingly.

The regular menu offers several standouts. On my first visit I had the Best Fish Sammich Ever!. They’re name for it, not my opinion, but it’s pretty accurate. It’s ciabatta bread with a redfish filet, bacon, grilled onion, feta, lettuce and tomato. Using redfish definitely sends this fish sandwich to another level.

Tater Salad

Tater Salad (Complete with Animal Cracker)

My favorite item overall is the St. Chuck Duck. Holy duck! The St. Chuck Duck is a grilled sourdough with currant tapenade, blue cheese, cheddar cheese, grilled onion, green apples and cabernet-sauteed duck. Did you get all that? It’s a lot, but everything works so well together. This has to be one of the best sandwiches in the city.

Another item worth mentioning is the Not Quite Cuban. It’s pulled pork, bacon, Swiss cheese, pickles and chimichurri sauce on a pressed ciabatta. The pork was smoky and delicious and worked well with all the other not-so-Cuban ingredients.

I would also recommend the Adult Grilled Cheese. It’s loaded with cheddar, pepper jack, feta cheese, bacon, grilled onion and tomato — though I never allow tomatoes on my sandwiches. It’s ooey gooey and bacony and delicious all pressed between two slices of sourdough.

Meatloaf Sammich

Meatloaf Sammich

I do have a complaint about J’Anita’s. Every single time I go, they are out of guacamole. I’m dying to finally try it. One day…

As for the sides, I’ve yet to have one that wasn’t phenomenal. The Tater Salad and Cheese Grits are tied for my favorites. The fries are steak-cut fries which I’ve never been a fan of so I usually don’t go for those. The Cole Slaw is also delicious and not overloaded with mayo. You really can’t go wrong with any of the sides.

The folks at J’Anita’s know what they’re doing when it comes to food. It doesn’t surprise me at all that they recently opened a second location inside Grit’s Bar. While I’ve yet to try that one, the Janita’s at the Rendon Inn has yet to disappoint me. In fact, it’s always exceeded my expectations. Do yourself a favor and venture off the beaten path to try J’Anita’s.

J’Anita’s is located in The Rendon Inn at 4501 Eve Street in the Broadmoor neighborhood. It’s a bar so the hours run pretty late.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Eatin'

 

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