After more than four decades as the face of Creole cuisine for a national audience, Emeril Lagasse is branching out. Emeril’s Brasserie, the celebrity chef’s first French restaurant, opened this week in New Orleans’s Harrah’s — soon-to-be Caesars — casino. It’s Lagasse’s first new restaurant in New Orleans since opening Meril in 2016 and comes on the heels of reopening his flagship Warehouse District restaurant Emeril’s, where son E.J. Lagasse leads the kitchen, and introducing its new Gen Z-friendly wine bar.
Emeril’s Brasserie marks a different style of restaurant for the new chapter of the casino, which has been transforming into a Caesars property since 2022 (the transition is expected to be completed in 2024). The vibe is high-end and it will eventually serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner — though it’s opening with just dinner service. The restaurant is located just inside the Canal Street entrance of the casino, which diners under 21 can access, in hopes of drawing customers beyond casino-goers. A 20-seat patio is still under construction but will be the casino’s first restaurant to offer outdoor seating.
The kitchen is led by Eric Ivy, who curated a menu that draws on Lagasse’s early culinary training and pays homage to some of his mentors from that era. It mixes dishes synonymous with a splurge, like a seafood tower, with classic brasserie staples like French onion soup, a tarte flambée, blue crab timbale, roasted bone marrow, and steak frites au poivre. Still, there are a few familiar local touches, like turkey and andouille gumbo, crawfish and angel hair pasta, and hogs head cheese.
The restaurant’s splashy, gold-tinged entrance belies a fairly intimate dining room that seats more than it appears — 170 in the main area, not including two private dining rooms, and a glowing marble bar that seats 30. A photo wall tells the tale of Lagasse’s career beginning with his early days in Massachusetts to the start of his culinary career in New Orleans, when at just 23 years old he took over Commander’s Palace. It documents the opening of his first restaurant here, Emeril’s, in 1990, followed by NOLA in the French Quarter in 1993, and includes the current face of Emeril’s, Lagasse’s son E.J.
The casino world is certainly not new to Lagasse. He opened his first casino restaurant, Emeril’s Fish House, in the MGM Grand in Vegas in 1995, followed by Delmonico Steakhouse in the Venetian, also in Vegas. Courting big-name celebrity chefs and brands has been a big part of Harrah’s rebranding to Caesars, beginning with the mini-food hall that opened in spring 2023. It is home to three well-known names: Bobby Flay’s Bobby’s Burgers; Buddy Valastro’s PizzaCake; and a restaurant from chef Nina Compton called Nina’s Creole Cottage. Luxe international sushi brand Nobu is set to open its first New Orleans restaurant in the casino in 2024.
Emeril’s Brasserie is open for reservations and walk-ins for dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with plans to add breakfast and lunch.