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.
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.
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.