A whimsical hotspot from chef Tom Branighan and sommelier Molly Wismeier on the outskirts of the French Quarter is drawing fine-dining enthusiasts and wine devotees to its humble corner space. Mamou, with its bright and flirty Parisian aesthetic, has quickly become one of New Orleans’s most exciting new restaurants.
Branighan’s distinctive fine-dining menu highlights mostly Louisiana ingredients prepared with French techniques. His approach is informed by his experiences cooking at Emeril’s New Orleans, Lacroix in Philadelphia, and New York’s now-closed Michelin-starred restaurant Cafe Boulud. Most recently, after the Louisiana native returned to New Orleans, he led the kitchen at Longway Tavern (now called the Will and the Way).
Wismeier’s resume is equally heavy-hitting, most notably her years spent at famed Chicago institution Charlie Trotter’s and then at Restaurant R’evolution, John Folse and Rick Tramonto’s splurge-worthy French Quarter restaurant. Wismeier was the restaurant’s opening sommelier in 2012, and was recognized by the wine world while there before moving into consulting and then collaborating with Branighan on plans for Mamou. Because Wismeier is partner here, not just sommelier, she is assisted by Madison Baudy, a New Orleans native and talented up-and-coming somm.
Since opening, Mamou has served dishes like celery hearts with smoked beef tongue braised in tomato water and whiskey; red beans cassoulet topped with a cornbread crust and hogs head cheese; and crusted Gulf fish and oyster dressing served with court bouillon.
Below, we’re spotlighting five of the most exciting dishes to try at Mamou, including a few brand new additions.
Basil, suet, romesco
Sauce Périgourdine, fennel sausage, beet shoots
Blue crab claw meat, pain perdue, bottarga
Beignet, buttermilk dill cream, carraway
Poisson a la Florentine
Caviar beurre blanc, parmesan wreath
Mamou is open for dinner (reservations recommended) Thursday though Sunday at 942 N. Rampart Street.