Cajun country native and fine dining alum Bart Bell likes to keep thing simple at his Mid City restaurant, Crescent Pie and Sausage. He makes and smokes all his meat in-house you can see (and smell) his smoking rig working pretty much every day next to the restaurant on Banks Street.
Bell's straightforward approach to his food brings the best of the powerful flavors and traditional preparation of Cajun country to us city mice that don't like to leave Orleans Parish. His meat-forward philosophy, born of hunting, fishing, butchering, and preserving and then honed in culinary kitchens like Delmonico and the late Cuvee, showcases the respect for the animal and the care in its preparation in every bite. Bell has made Crescent Pie and Sausage one of the most comforting, authentic, and underrated places to eat in the city.
What's on the board?
Right now, we've got Toulouse sausage, boudin, andouille, mustard and aoili.
Chef Bart Bell [Photo: Brasted]
What's your favorite meat that you make?
Right now, it's a toss up between currywurst with pork, merguez with lamb, and a new sausage called Turkish Gold. Turkish Gold is a recipe I just made up based on this spice I got from Mona's, it's called [urfa] biber, and it's a chile that's processed in such a way that it's still slightly oily. The thing about it is, it smells and tastes just like chewing tobacco, in a good way. Like Levi Garret or Red Man. I don't normally chew tobacco, but when I go hunting or fishing with my brother, and he pulls some out, I'll have some, and this chile reminds me of that. I named the sausage Turkish Gold because that's a brand of Camel cigarettes and I thought it sounded kind of cool. The sausage tastes really good - I've made it with both pork and beef and people love it, it sells really quickly.
How did you learn to make charcuterie and sausage?
I basically taught myself, but that kind of thing was always around when I was a kid, in the hunting camp, in the small cajun markets, you wouldn't see any national brands, you'd see ropes of sausages, of boudin. I think the first time I made sausage, I was at Delmonico, but I know when I was at Cuvee, I got a sausage maker and that's when I really started.
What would you suggest pairing with this charcuterie board drink wise?
Beer! More specifically, I like a beer like [NOLA Brewing's] 7th Street Wheat with chicken sausages. I'll suggest certain beers to customers to do with specific sausages. I like hoppier beers with the board itself. The hoppiness pairs well with the spaciness of the meats and then you can add cheese to the board as well, and beer and cheese are great together.
Who else in town is honoring charcuterie and sausage traditions?
Definitely Toups' [Meatery]. I mean, I eat a lot of sausage from Creole Country, a lot of restaurants in town use those. Oh, Boucherie - Nathanial [Zimet] makes a good sausage. I don't get out much though, and when I do, I tend to eat more fish and vegetables.
If I crave sausage, it's a destination trip to where I grew up in Breaux Bridge or Acadiana. That's where I go when the sausage cravings hit.