Brennan's wows the critics this week with both The Times-Pic's Brett Anderson and The Advocate's Ian McNulty reviewing Ralph Brennan's beautifully-revamped French Quarter stunner at one year in.
Brett Anderson awards FOUR BEANS, noting that Brennan's has created 'a new standard' for local culinary landmarks: "The reclamation project's most substantive improvements don't lie in the building's $20 million face-lift but in the authoritative cooking of Slade Rushing." Pretty flattering, considering that earlier in the year he lambasted the JBFA voting body for nominating Rushing for Best Chef South because the restaurant was too new.
Turns out Rushing is some sort of culinary Jedi master, creating dishes "good enough to warrant every serious diner's attention" and bringing a "level of refinement" to the establishment never before seen:
Rushing has firm control of his own creativity, with a unique gift for incorporating the primal flavors of regional American cuisine into dishes built for white tablecloths.
The wine program, ambience, and menu are deeply inspired by all things French, making the overall experience as luxurious as a night at August or Commander's. Anderson recommends the Lamb Mirabeau and deems the seafood gumbo and poached oyster soup "flawless."
- The brand new dining area overlooking Royal Street.
- One of the most notable differences of the new Brennan's is the windows on Royal Street.
- Bar: "I had great memories of the bar. I used to polish the copper top. So I said we have to have a copper top."
- Bar area: Custom made 'egg shell' tables and the bird mirror.
- Garden Patio Room: "We decided to make this our main dining room. It seats over 100 people."
- Queen's Room: "No one's ever really done anything for the Queen's of Carnival, so we did this."
- Kings Room: "We worked with the Rex organization to create this room. The pictures are from their archives." The invitations are courtesy of the Historic New Orleans Collection.
- Pineapple Room
- The Morphy Room: Paul Morphy was a famous chess player who lived in New Orleans, so we decided to use that as the theme of this room."
- The Gallery: This table can be reserved along with the parlor (Paul Morphy Room) for private events and dinners.
Ian McNulty credits Slade Rushing's menu as updating traditional fine dining for a new generation: Egg yolk carpaccio and an old fashioned baked apple are equally at home on the menu without feeling "incongruous." There's still an emphasis on Brennan's iconic boozy breakfast, but it's now attuned to modern tastes." Overall, McNulty notes:
Brennan's today is what an old New Orleans restaurant might be like if it evolved with the times while still balancing pride of place, Creole distinction and the showmanship of deluxe dining.
Bonus points for a killer wine cellar, happy hour, contemporary dinner menu, and gleaming courtyard and bar.