The end of year wrap-ups continue, this time with Tom Fitzmorris in this week's CityBusiness writing up the "Year in New Orleans dining" (subscription required). Before concluding that "it's been a delicious year, if you ask me," he writes of the local restaurant scene's rapid expansion and accuses a number of places of "pandering" to trends: "[I]t remains clear that the best dining comes from chefs more interested in what tastes good than what sounds good, and in creating instead of pandering."
Which restaurants were pandering? Dude refuses to say. But he calls the burger trend "silly," calling out an unnamed restaurant led by "some of the city's best chefs," mocking them for using Kobe beef and other things. It sounds like he's talking about Tru Burger, opened earlier this year by chef Aaron Burgau and the Touzet brothers of the fine dining restaurant Patois. But Tru Burger uses Angus; the only burger made with Kobe is at Lilette, but there's no way that's the "very casual café" he's talking about.
Meanwhile, "The pizza thing was not quite as silly but still over the top." He criticizes an unnamed restaurant (clearly he means Ancora) for their imported Neapolitan oven and another pizza shop (again unnamed, but definitely Crescent Pie & Sausage Co.) for making their own sausage, salami and mozzarella.
All in all, he writes, "[T]he pretentiousness in these places is reaching levels not seen since the heyday of formal French restaurants we had in the mid-1980s." Really?
Because the Fitz is the official tally-keeper of the number of restaurants open in New Orleans, he of course gives the end-of-year number. Per his count, we're at 1,236, up from 1,128 last year. He views this as a good thing: "The week before Katrina, we had 809 restaurants. We now have 50 percent more. No other American city can make such a claim." It's just too bad that so many of these new restaurants are pretentious, silly, hip or whatever else he dislikes about them.
· 2011: The Year in New Orleans Dining [CityBusiness]
The pretentious pizza oven at Ancora. [Photo: yelp / Jen L.]