I couldn’t leave New Orleans without trying one of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s popular restaurants so I gave Nola a try for lunch. Located in the heart of the French district, this rustic eatery which is named as the acronym for the big easy, offered an interesting menu of mostly creole cuisine. Brick walls, high ceilings and an ample open kitchen give it a lofty appeal straying from some of the rococo joints in the area.
To start, I ordered the bacon cauliflower soup for $8 that although lovely in texture and flavor, could’ve used less salt. Along came some delicious homemade brioche and some jalapeño corn bread from Nola’s in-house bakery, giving the place a fine Portuguese touch of Lagasse’s roots!
After walking around for days and seeing po’boys advertised in every corner, I made it a mission to try Lagasse’s. A French bread sandwich made with whatever is in offer. Here it was the braised pork cheek po’boy with Provolone cheese and a side of house cut fries for $15. All served along some creole mustard aioli and giardiniera ( pickled peppers). Although very tasty, I must say that the cheese was unnecessary. The cheeks are flavorful and fatty enough, no need to add anything!
One of my creole favorites has always been the shrimp and grits so I had to give Emeril’s a try; sautéed gulf shrimp, grilled green onions, smoked cheddar grits, applewood smoked bacon, cremini mushrooms in a red chili abita butter sauce for $19. Perfectly cooked shrimp over tender and smooth ground corn in an absolutely delicious sauce that gave it a nice little kick, heavenly! All in all, it was a really enjoyable experience to try a menu created by Emeril Lagasse, a Portuguese -French-Canadian who’s become the quintessential New Orleanian!
534 Saint Louis Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
504 522 6652
* You can find the recipe for the shrimp and grits at www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/nolas-shrimp-and-smoked-cheddar-grits-recipe