After 600 meals across a host of cities, Eater’s roving critic Bill Addison released his annual list of 38 essential restaurants in America for this year — and again, two New Orleans institutions made the cut, one old, one new.
For a second year, chef Nina Compton’s Caribbean-Creole restaurant Compère Lapin is on the list, and it’s joined by longstanding French Quarter Creole destination Brennan’s, making its first appearance on the list.
Addison lays out a range of criteria for restaurants that he chooses as essentials — not just that they be great, but that they be original, and push restaurant scenes forward.
“Which places become indispensable to their neighborhoods, and eventually to their towns and whole regions? Which ones spur trends, or set standards for hospitality and leadership, or stir conversations around representation and inclusivity?”
Of Compère Lapin, Addison writes that “Nina Compton revives New Orleans’s often-forgotten connections to the Caribbean...she knits together cultures.”
As for Brennan’s, Addison reserves particular praise for executive chef Slade Rushing, who “nails the classics”.
“Brennan’s now takes the lead with its balance of timeless pageantry and relevant, finely honed cooking.”
Last year, Compère Lapin and La Petite Grocery were the two New Orleans choices on the list.