Assuming they’re don’t have a weird fetish for the bar food at Coyote Ugly, New Orleans foodies haven’t really had too many reasons to venture to the Upper Decatur area in recent memory.
If bastions can be instantly created, though, then St Lawrence at 219 N Peters, has become the de facto, go-to gourmet hotspot, rising out of the melee of daiquiri shops and bead-mongers.
It’s culinary redemption being offered here at St Lawrence (named after the patron saint of cooks) and your saviours come in the form of owners Brendan Blouin and Jeff James, who are here to bring beefed-up bar food to the more discerning denizen of these lean streets.
The space itself is charmingly crumbly, with exposed brick and demi-religious local artwork looking out over the clientele. A long bar makes for a narrow dining room, so you can slink back as far from the street as you feel like, or stay up front to watch the world go by.
The menu is deceptively simple. One or two-word headlines promise everything that is familiar, but the sub-heads subvert your expectations nicely. So sure, there’s 'Wings', but the tagline is all pepper jelly glaze and goat cheese dressing. Ah, I see what you did there.
My party went for diversity in the appetisers, particular winners being the grilled peach salad and the corned beef and guyere spring rolls.
Main courses offer hearty promises to both meat and vegetable fans. The obvious stand out for carnivores is the turducken burger, offering its exciting ‘trinity of birds’, though a thoroughly straightforward hangar steak frites was also one of the night’s winners. Market curry gives Mr Cook a chance to mix things up as he sees fit – and this in a town chronically undersupplied with Indian food.
The dessert menu is as quirky as it is compact, with Milk and Cookies, Barq’s Root Beer Float and Meltdown Ice Pops making up its entirety. It may be simple, but you can still feel and appreciate the thoughtfulness.
The drinks menu follows the same ethos, with variations on cocktail classics that are different enough to intrigue but familiar enough to tempt – see the Resurrection Sazerac and Very Old Fashioned, both fresh interpretations of local favourites.
Add to this a decent wine list and service that was efficient and charming even within a couple of weeks of opening and you have a very welcome addition to the neighbourhood.
Sinners, it’s not too late to recant your ways. Dump the boring bar food of Upper Decatur and find succour in the menu at Saint Lawrence. The place has my blessing, for what it’s worth.
Where: French Quarter
Food: Elevated bar snacks
What you're eating: Turducken Burger
Saint Lawrence website