POSTED Fri. Aug 1, 2014

Our Favorite Farm to Table Restaurants in New Orleans

Places

Our Favorite Farm to Table Restaurants in New Orleans
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN
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Every era has its dining trends, and the one that currently holds the nation’s gastronomic attention is Farm-to-Table. At its core, the movement is about connecting diners to locally grown, raised and harvested foodstuffs. It’s a function of the New Regionalism, which seeks to combat the uniformity of car driven, strip mall America and her culinary offspring: fast food and chain restaurants. The movement espouses both pride of place and an emphasis on both sustainability and delicious food.

New Orleans, of course, has always had deep wells of regionalism and an indigenous cuisine that draws heavily off of the yield of local farmers, fishermen and hunters. So it makes sense that the Farm-to-Table International Symposium will take place here from Aug 2-4. With that symposium in mind, here are some of our favorite farm to table restaurants in New Orleans.

1 Brigsten's

Brigsten’s has been a farm to table standby of the Riverbend for decades. Chef Frank Brigsten serves classic Creole cuisine with some lovely flourishes – always enough to accentuate, rather than overwhelm, both the sense of tradition and bold, outright decadent (and locally sourced!) flavors on the menu. Something as relatively simply as redfish with corn macque choux is, in its way, a celebration of South Louisiana’s considerable bounty.

2 Dante's Kitchen

Just near Brigsten’s (go Riverbend!), Dante’s is another Creole powerhouse well beloved for its brunches. The kitchen at Dante’s takes a lot of pride in its strong relationship with local farmers, and the results are consistently delicious. Bread pudding French Toast, please.

3 Bayona

Susan Spicer was advocating for a culinary return to the soil while chefs in New York and San Francisco were still enthralled with fusion. Bayona is her flagship, and everything on the Creole-centric menu smacks of both Louisiana and Spicer’s innovation; try the duck livers with lavender mustard if you don’t believe me.

4 Restaurant August

John Besh is one of the most visible faces of the farm to table movement in general and Louisiana cookery in particular. His many restaurants are getting to be as ubiquitous as Community Coffee Houses (I’m not complaining, mind you), but I still feel August is the banner bearer of the Besh school of cooking. It’s the combination of innovative takes on local ingredients, a beautiful setting and Besh’s ability to create a space (and cuisine) that mixes coziness, elegance and accessibility.

5 Root

Root is the only restaurant on this list that doesn’t emphasize Creole cuisine, opting instead for New American, a school that incorporates influences from around the country (and indeed, world. See: Moroccan Spiced Pork & Duck Rillettes or roasted marrow with Calarbain jam). But the restaurant does emphasize working directly with farmers and their ilk, proving that localvore sentiments don’t have to clash with a globally curious palette.

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