Reality Bites: New Year, New Eats

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Published  January 2016

Even though there’s roughly a zillion restaurants in New Orleans, it’s easy to get stuck in the same old food rut. We’ve all been there, trying to decide where to go on a Tuesday night; and you just end up going to the same old place you always go. There’s a comfort, of course, in the familiarity of it all, but sometimes you just want something different. For January, I decided to eat at some (relatively) new spots. After all, what’s a better New Year’s resolution than to try new things? The thrill is real.

 

antigravity_vol14_issue1_Page_07_Image_0001Tallulahs (inside St. Roch Tavern, 1200 St. Roch Ave.)
Over the past few months, I’ve had so many different people ask me if I’d tried the burger at Tallulah’s. And y’all, I don’t know why it took me so long to get down there to try it. I finally made my way over one Friday night, accidentally stumbling into the Maniacs of Metal show (which calls to mind the time I went to Siberia/Kukhnya with a deep craving for a Russki Reuben and ended up inadvertently seeing Eyehategod— my only regret being that I didn’t buy a t-shirt). I was not dressed for a metal show, seeing as I’d just left my office job, but I decided to hang out and try the food anyway. Man, am I glad I did. This burger is good, like really good. The bun is very buttered, which is one of those things that restaurants think to do but I never seem to remember when I’m making burgers at home. The meat was well seasoned without going overboard. They have a nice selection of burger topping offerings; I chose provolone and bacon. The bacon was crispy without tasting burnt and the cheese was perfectly melted. No complaints except that the service was pretty slow. 9.5/10 Maniacs of Metal

 

The Big Cheezy (422 1/2 S. Broad St.)
My dining companion described The Big Cheezy as frat boy food, and that’s probably the most accurate description of this spot. Do you have a panini press? Or maybe just a skillet? Okay, then you can make yourself a grilled cheese sandwich that’s about as exciting as either of the two that I tried here (Flying Dutchman, which was gouda, turkey, and overly soft bacon; and the Mac N Cheezy, which is totally bland macaroni and cheese and soggy bacon bits squished between two pieces of white bread). Do you love tomato soup? Great, open up a can of Amy’s soup from the grocery store, dump a bunch of salt in it, and you’ve got a meal that’s got to be better than the one I had from the Big Cheezy. I guess if you work at the Criminal District Courthouse, or you’re serving jury duty, you may as well go here, but otherwise don’t bother. 2/10 Flying Dutchmen

 

Compère Lapin (535 Tchoupitoulas St.)
Compère Lapin is gorgeous inside. It manages to look both modern and rustic, and yet it still feels like you’re in New Orleans. I went there for an impromptu brunch one Sunday morning, and I’m so happy I did. The table ordered the avocado toast as a starter and I got the biscuits and gravy. The avocado toast was off the chain! It’s just a chunky avocado spread with pickled vegetables on a nice crusty bread, but it was so good. The other dishes at the table were the chicken and smoked mushroom hash and the coconut French toast with pecan rum sauce. I totally ordered the wrong thing because both of the other meals were delicious and mine was kind of boring by comparison. I only had a bite of the chicken and smoked mushroom hash but it was enough for me to know that I’d made the wrong choice. The coconut French toast was sweet without being cloying and the pecan rum sauce was just boozy enough without totally overpowering everything else. If you go for brunch, just avoid the biscuits and gravy. They weren’t horrible, but you can get better elsewhere, and Compère Lapin obviously has better options. I can’t wait to go back for dinner! 9/10 Better Options

 

Mizado (5080 Pontchartrain Blvd.)
Mizado is located in the weird spot where Semolina’s used to be, under the overpass by all the cemeteries in Old Metairie. You know where I’m talking about, right? But I’m open-minded, so despite the weird locale, I bravely trudged in. It looks like a chain restaurant, even though apparently, it isn’t. I figured I had to order the guacamole, just to see what $10 guacamole was about. They make it tableside, but don’t seem to put anything in it but smushed up avocadoes. I love avocados, but come on, y’all. What’s going on here? I also got the smoked pork belly tacos. How could something made from pork belly be so boring? The sauce tasted weirdly dirty (as in, it tasted like it had dirt in it). I couldn’t even eat it. My aunt ordered the chicken salad, which looked fine. The chicken tasted like chicken and nothing else. They seem to have good drink specials and a happy hour though, so maybe if you and your coworkers want to go have margaritas and eat bland guacamole, this could be the place for you. Don’t even think about bringing a date here. 1/10 Dirty Tacos

 

Averys (2510 Tulane Ave.)
Okay, Avery’s has been around for a couple years now, but they just started doing dinner a couple months ago, so I was finally able to make it over there (and in the New Orleans landscape of 150+ year old restaurants, a couple years is still new, right?). This is not a cute spot by any definition of the word, but the food was on point. I went a little wild with ordering: I got the fried pickles, the sandbag poboy (roast beef debris with fried pickles, gravy, and provolone—hooo boy), and the honey biscuits. My dining companion ordered the Buffalo shrimp poboy, which is a fried shrimp poboy dressed with buffalo sauce and blue cheese (I tried it and it was pretty good, even though blue cheese is not my thing). The pickles were perfectly fried and had a nice, light, tempura-style batter. Also, Avery’s has a vegan poboy option that isn’t just random vegetables thrown on some French bread. I can’t personally vouch for it, but this could be a fun option if you’re a vegetarian or if you have vegetarian friends who want New Orleans food without having to eat just sides. 9.5/10 Sandbags

 

Boulevard (4241 Veterans Memorial Blvd. Metairie)
Do you love Houston’s? Were you super bummed when the Houston’s on Veterans inexplicably became another restaurant? Well, go eat at Houston’s on St. Charles, because while Boulevard has basically the same menu, and the interior is exactly the same as it always was, there’s something off here. The only reason you may want to go to Boulevard is that they have deviled eggs. However, those eggs are no better or worse than the ones they sell in party platter form at Rouse’s. If you’re shopping at that Roller Derby store or something, and you just have to eat in this particular strip mall, try Phoenicia instead. Or Shyan, which is literally across the street. Boulevard is kind of pointless. 5/10 Redundancies

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