GABRIELLE RESTAURANT, NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA
I first met Mary and husband Greg at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in 1983. I still can’t cut an onion without thinking of Mary, who, at the time came over and quietly showed me how to do it properly. It is impossible not to wonder at my cheek, writing to Chef Paul Prudhomme, then number ten in America, telling him my bank manager would lend me the money to get there but I could not afford to pay what was then a $6000 USD fee for estage. Mary quickly realised I could barely cut an onion but respected my passion and the rest is history.
Mary and Greg both started at K-Paul’s then into their own restaurant Gabrielle Restaurant with the gracious encouragement of Chef himself. Quickly gaining national fame, even visited by Mick Jagger, apparently a bit of a foodie himself, they lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. No mighty effort to get back on their feet again and reopen their celebrated restaurant Gabrielle, named after their daughter. Whilst both Mary and Greg are chefs, it is Greg who is nightly behind the stoves at any time their restaurant is open. Too many modern chefs spend more time in front of a camera and travelling than they do behind the stoves in their own restaurants. The restaurants of celebrity chefs are run by their sous chef who rarely gets any recognition, not so at Gabrielle’s where Greg is behind the stoves at any time they are open.
With people starting to travel again and friends heading for New Orleans I asked Mary for her recommendations.
Recommendations from a chef working in a city is far better than any critic can ever produce on what is most often a single visit and when they are frequently known to the establishment.
For those of you who have been to New Orleans you’ll know that the food and restaurants rate highly. The intoxicating combination of French, African and Cajun cuisines.
AO 29 april 20233
K-PAULS LOUISIANA KITCHEN, NEW ORLEANS CIRCA 1983. FROM THE LEFT HANK NEWTON, MICHAEL MR. DISHIE UNI STUDENT, MARY BLANCHARD SONNIER [COMPILER OF THE LIST AND NOW GABRIELLE RESTAURANT], GERRY THE COP, RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CROWD CONTROL OF THE AT LEAST TWO BLOCK QUEUE, RANDY BARLOW, ANN OLIVER.
RECOMMENDATION ON HOLD
Station 6 click here
UPDATED 29 APRIL 2023
Paladar 511 divine stewed rabbit with sweet potato gnocchi and there were also delicious handmade pastas click here
You can’t come to New Orleans and not have a poboy….a fresh baked, usually the French style white sour dough roll filled with different delicious seafood concoctions. In some weird way New Orleans’ equivalent to the Hamburger.
Parkway Poboys or R & O’s Restaurant for casual dining and poboys.
R & O’s don’t seem to have a website but I loved this review and it also has some very helpful information.
RECOMMENDATION ON HOLD
Pascale’s Manale click here
UPDATED 29 APRIL 2023
GW Finns more seafood in stylish, old-style circumstances this is a restaurant with a deep commitment to sustainability click here
PALADAR ….IMAGE COPYRIGHT © PALADAR
WILD CAUGHT GULF SHRIMP ….IMAGE COPYRIGHT © PARKWAY POBOYS
GET READY TO GET DIRTY BBQ SHRIMP AT PASCALE’S MANALE AND GET READY TO BE JUDGED IF YOU DON’T SUCK AND CHEW THE SHELLS.
IMAGE COPYRIGHT ©
SHANNON S, JANUARY 12 2019
Antoine’s a restaurant with history, currently the oldest continuously owned restaurant in America. This is a classical French restaurant with no nod to Creole cuisine….click here
Arnaud’s is in the heart of the French quarter and a restaurant with history. Noisy, busy live jazz it is also a piece of history, although less attention to local and seasonal. Arnaud’s also has a small Mardi Gras museum on the first floor magnificent costumes and entry is free….click here
ARNAUD’S MARDI GRAS MUSEUM..IMAGE COPYRIGHT © ARNAUD’S
The french 75
The bar attached to Arnaud’s, The French 75, is a must in the French Quarter….”One of the top Five Bars in the Country” – Esquire Magazine…click here
GREAT BARS ABOUND IN NEW ORLEANS BUT THE FRENCH 75 HAS STYLE AND HISTORY..IMAGE COPYRIGHT © THE FRENCH 75
New Orleans oyster season from September until April – soft shell crab early April running through to end of October, Early November.
Season permitting, oysters are an absolute must in New Orleans. I especially love the fried oysters that are never found on menus in Australia. And, then there’s soft shell crab OMG. The soft-shell crab served in Australian restaurants, in the main, comes frozen from South East Asia and is of doubtful provenance, not to mention tastes terrible. Don’t be put off..if you get the chance to try fresh New Orleans soft shell crab cooked in a good establishment, modest or posh, you’ll understand the difference. It is truly one of the great ingredients of New Orleans! And, then there’s gumbo, fabulous breads and pastries and so much more.
The other ingredient now rarely seen on Australian menus these days and broadly found in New Orleans are rabbit, pigeon, guinea fowl and many more also not to be missed.
Of course, for all those idiot chefs I have seen boil a sweet potato, the sweet potato is a Cajun staple and found in many different and delicious ways both savoury and sweet…but never boiled!!!!
If you love antiques New Orleans has some of the best antique shops in the states often with French provenance the is plenty of temptation .
If you have never been to the states Americans eat early in their every day restaurants…so, unless you want to be shunted out for the second sitting, avoid the rush and go a bit later! Around eight is very civilised.