If you ask who the most famous chef you New Orleans is you may get different answers -- Emeril with his BAM, Paul Prudhomme whose face may have resided in your childhood spice cabinet and John Besh. Chef Besh has no gimmick but rather a variety of awesome restaurants in New Orleans each demonstrating his southern flair. In my 24-hour stint to NOLA, his name must have come up half a dozen different ways. It was only fitting that we select one of his establishments for our one and only dinner.
I chose Lüke for two reasons: 1) its proximity to our hotel and 2)its burger. The restaurant is defined as a "classic brasserie" so there is a French/German twist on the food, yet given the locale and the chef, there is a touch of classic New Orleans cuisine.
The restaurant decor is heavily dominated by the large wood bar and the bar menu proves it. I adored my St. Charles Street Car cocktail with the perfect balance of St. Germaine, Pear Vodka and Champagne. (Note: I have already tasked JB to re-create this at home).
While I was originally drawn to Lüke by its burger, I decided to go more classic New Orleans and opted for the jumbo Louisiana shrimp. The dish was in a personal skillet over the best grits I've ever had, most likely because they were jalapeno cheese grits mixed with andouille and green onion sausages. If I didn't have table manners, I would have licked the skillet clean.
And while I didn't have the burger, one of my table mates did and declared it delicious with its bacon, caramelized onions, tomatoes, Swiss cheese and a heaping portion of house-made fries.
I felt required to get dessert. My preference, again, was to get something more Southern, but their pastry chef serves more brasserie-type dessert fare. The crust on my strawberry galette was crispy, buttery and delicious and well-complemented the cheesecake ice cream it accompanied.
Good news for me is that I'll be back in New Orleans soon and can go back for the burger, and even better, Lüke serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. I wonder what their grits are like for breakfast.
Until our next Berger,
333 St. Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA