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Critic Brett Anderson Anoints Central City BBQ the Winner of the NOLA Barbecue Scene

Critics’ reviews are all about meat this week

  • Brett Anderson crowns Central City BBQ the best barbecue restaurant New Orleans has ever seen, which is a big deal since the cinder block barbecue joint let its pit master go in late March (only three months after opening). Anderson is taken with the expert use of salt, an ingredient as crucial as meat and smoke. At Central City BBQ, Maldon sea salt is “sprinkled over the top of the beef brisket: delicate, snowflake crystals of Maldon sea salt, a type more commonly found on pompano fillets or burrata salads in restaurants where you'd feel silly wearing a baseball cap.” He also finds the salt enhancing “meaty pork ribs, smoked chicken salad, burnt ends with crusts as dark and complex as a cup of third-wave coffee.” He gives special shout outs to the beef and boudin, as well as seasonal dishes (crawfish étouffée in the spring, etc) and sides that seem a cut above those from other spots. “In recent years, barbecue has emerged as arguably the country's most cherished culinary art form. New Orleans has long been a fertile breeding ground for restaurateurs of conceptual brilliance. No restaurant has ever married these traditions as fruitfully as Central City.” Bravo, Central City BBQ. [NOLA.COM]
  • Helen Freund finds “the quirkiest and most interesting” butcher operation in the city at Shank Charcuterie. Kristopher Doll’s skills as a top-notch butcher anchor the business, but his “diminutive” food offerings from this seasoned chef (Cochon, Cochon Butcher, Cleaver & Co, and some Adolpho Garcia spots) are something to behold. Beneath the “glimmer of fluorescent lights” lies a “long, narrow space [that] has a 20-seat lunch counter overlooking a hooded grill where Doll prepares almost everything to order.” An “excellent burger” big enough for two is topped with pimiento cheese and “briny” bread-and-butter pickles on toasted French bread. The Lafayette native steams house-made boudin links and studs their rice filling with pork, bird’s eye chiles, and vinegar, all helping to “balance” the flavor. Freund notes that the daily specials are imbued with Doll’s creativity and worth seeking out. Some stand-out veggie items are on the menu, despite the place’s identity. Note — Shank closes around 7 pm each day, so plan for lunch or early dinner. [GAMBIT]

Central City BBQ

1201 South Rampart Street, , LA 70113 (504) 558-4276 Visit Website

Shank Charcuterie

2381 Saint Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 (504) 408-2080