Welcome to EAT THIS CITY, your tour of the best restaurants in one of our favorite cities, as chosen by a world-class chef, celebrity, or local hero.
Friends, it’s time we revisit The Big Easy — that city renowned for its signature music stylings, a propensity of parades, and some killer restaurants. New Orleans‘ famed French Quarter is a vacation destination year-round, and one of the big draws is its food scene, which covers the spectrum from traditional Creole street fare to molecular gastronomy.
This week, Chefs Marcus Jacobs and Caitlin Carney of Marjie’s Grill offered to highlight the best that the city has to offer. Both Jacobs and Carney worked under famed New Orleans chefs Ryan Prewitt and Donald Link, before traveling extensively through Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. During this time, they gathered the insight, experience, and inspiration needed to successfully launch their own concept in January of 2017. The restaurant marries Southeast Asian cooking techniques and ingredients with those locally sourced, seasonally-driven elements of the Gulf coast, and New Orleans specifically.
Since opening, Marjie’s Grill has been a roaring triumph, both within the local community and beyond. In fact, Bon Appetit named it one of their 50 Best New Restaurants 2017. Thanks to a deep commitment to seasonality (the menu changes daily), the quality of the offerings are never in doubt. Some of the duo’s recent dishes include fried wild des allemandes catfish dusted with spiced heirloom cornmeal, topped with fresh herbs & crispy pork, served with buttermilk dipping sauce; slow-grilled beef tri-tip cooked over hardwood coals and served with fresh herbs and a spicy chili paste; and crispy pig knuckles coated with black pepper, herbs, chilis & lime. Check out their take on crawfish below, and try to say you aren’t interested:
Now that everyone is salivating, let’s give Chefs Marcus Jacobs and Caitlin Carney the chance to dish about the city they love best.
Pizza Delicious, Mid City Pizza, and Ancora
Our favorite New York style pizza is from either Pizza Delicious or Mid City Pizza. Mid City Pizza is actually down the street from Marjie’s, so we order it every Saturday for our staff meal. The Drizzle is one of their signature pizzas and our personal favorite.
For Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza, we love Ancora. We’re kind of purists when it comes to pizza there and really enjoy the Margherita.
Bourbon Street Cruise
Chef Marcus: I eat at a small taco truck called Bourbon Street Cruise by a Home Depot in town at least four times a week. I usually stop there for tacos in the morning and love the chorizo tacos and baleada. If you haven’t had a baleada, it’s a Honduran dish made with a hand-stretched flour tortilla filled with beans, cheese and your choice of meat. It’s a ton of food, the tortillas are hand-stretched to order, and it only costs $3.50.
Pho Sunrise and Bao & Noodle
Hands down the best pho in town is at Pho Sunrise in Kenner by the airport. They offer tons of authentic Vietnamese noodle soups and dishes that you can’t find anywhere else in town. They also have a killer raw beef salad. We also love Bao & Noodle. It’s a casual spot serving authentic Chinese food. The handmade dumplings and noodles are amazing.
Chef Scott’s Creole BBQ and Bittles With Da Vittles
We love all the street food served during Second Line Sundays in the cooler months in New Orleans, like the giant bone-in pork chop sandwiches. There are a ton of neighborhood people usually grilling and selling food during Second Line Sundays, but some vendors who stand out are Chef Scott’s Creole BBQ (home of the original Ghetto Burger) and Bittles With Da Vittles.
We don’t eat a ton of sweets, but when we do we can’t pass up on a New Orleans daiquiri. The best daiquiri places in town is Daquiris & Cream in Bucktown. We like to stop here on the weekends on our way out to the lake and always go for the Banana Daiquiri or the Strawberry Colada.
Clancy’s Restaurant, Herbsaint, and Saffron
Our favorite old school place is Clancy’s Restaurant in uptown. It’ a little off the beaten path, but its great. The food is always high-quality and consistent, and they put crab on everything! We also love Herbsaint. We used to work there so it’s always fun to go back and see the crew. Lastly, we really like a newer restaurant in town called Saffron, which focuses on high-end, modern Indian cuisine. The restaurant is beautiful and has a great wine list.
Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse in LaPlace is great. It’s a low-key neighborhood spot that serves a great Cajun lunch. We always get the “plate of the day,” which is usually some sort of pork, smoked turkey wings etc. They also cure their own meats and have a great hog head cheese that’s served with a pile of crackers.
There aren’t a lot of vegetarian options in New Orleans but when we think about a baller veg plate we think about the falafel feast at 1000 Figs. It’s a steal, definitely enough food for two and it’s full of falafel, hummus, baba, veggie slaw, tzatziki and so much more.
It’s not exactly a traditional brunch place, but we love Coquette. They serve great modern southern food. We usually like to sit at the bar and order their family-style fried chicken that comes with a bunch of sides like deviled eggs and pickles. They also have a rotating weekly brunch menu so there’s always something new.
ICONIC FOOD OF THE CITY
New Orleans has a lot of iconic food spots, but our favorite is Lil Dizzy’s Cafe. They have an awesome lunch buffet where you can get all the New Orleans staples. Think gumbo, fried chicken, mac n cheese, bread pudding. They are probably in our top five places to get fried chicken in town.
ODD CULINARY EXPERIENCE
Our favorite place to experience unique food in New Orleans is at the annual Tet Fest during the Vietnamese New Year. It’s honestly like a food playground. One of the strangest, but most delicious items there are the goat blood cakes called Tiet Canh. It may seem a little out there for the uninitiated, but they are so tasty.
The Company Burger is one of our favorite guilty pleasures. We’ve had hundreds of burgers there and they are always tasty and consistent. We also, of course, love Popeyes. It’s the only fast food we ever eat, and it’s damn good.
High Hat is our favorite hangover spot. They have awesome fried chicken, seafood and hushpuppies. They also have an excellent cocktail program and beer selection if you’re looking for a little hair of the dog action.
Thank you, Chefs Marcus Jacobs and Caitlin Carney, for taking us on a culinary tour of New Orleans!
Stay tuned for more EAT THIS CITY — where each week we’ll feature a premier chef in a different city sharing their insider eating tips! Missed a week? Check out Jersey City, Long Beach, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Washington D.C., Dallas, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Napa Valley, Asheville, Charleston, Columbus, Kailua-Kona, Monterey, San Antonio, Louisville, Nashville, Raleigh, San Diego, Cambridge, Hoboken, Hollywood, Return to Miami, Return to Las Vegas, Manhattan, Oakland, Paris, Portland, Tampa, Durham, Toronto, Baltimore, Monterey, Vail, Lexington, Bentonville, San Antonio, Warsaw, Kansas City, NYC, Washington DC, New Orleans, Cleveland, Miami, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Sydney, Portland, Chicago, Austin, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, New Orleans, Providence, Memphis, Orange County, Boston, and Detroit.
See you next week!