by Amelia Levin
Chef/owner Jason Goodenough is famous for his Oysters Goodenough. For the dish, he flash-fries oysters that come from where the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain meet and serves them atop a bed of creamed leeks cooked with Benton’s bacon and a light drizzling of bearnaise sauce. He’s also known for his housemade Creole Cream Cheese Cavatelli, which he makes by substituting equal parts creole cream cheese (a local product) with ricotta for an extra tang to balance out the richness of the butter-browned cauliflower, locally sourced crabmeat and dusting of Grana Padano cheese.
At Compère Lapin, Nina Compton cooks up a Caribbean-inspired seafood pepper pot made with lobster stock, habanero peppers, coconut milk, escabeche vegetables and fish (Gulf grouper) with a butternut squash garnish. Also on the menu are her famous conch croquettes with a pickled pineapple tartar sauce.
Chef/owner Carl Schaubhut, known for its reinterpreted coastal Cajun cuisine, makes his gumbo with Louisiana blue crab, collard greens and a crab-fat potato salad. He also uses the same crab for his crab-boiled chips with popcorn creme fraiche and pickled lemon.
At Donald Link’s Pêche, Ryan Prewitt serves a Gulf-caught black drum seared in a cast-iron skillet and baked in a broth made from roasted mushrooms and mushroom powder. The dish is finished with fried sweet potato calas (savory doughnuts), along with a spoonful of pickled banana peppers. For a take on a classic Louisiana catfish courtbouillon, Prewitt breads and pan-fries the catfish and simmers it in a slightly spicy tomato/roux-based sauce. For the Louisiana shrimp roll, local shrimp caught that day are poached, peeled and mixed with mayonnaise, grain mustard, hot sauce and green onions, and stuffed into house-baked rolls SAC-A-LAIT Husband and wife team Cody and Samantha Carroll, stars of the Food Network’s “Cajun Aces,” focus on modern takes on Acadian and Cajun cuisines at Sac-a-Lait. An example is their rendition of crawfish tourtiere—a traditional Acadian crawfish and mirliton (New Orleans squash) pie with Tabasco honey.
At Toups’ Meatery and Toups South, executive chef/owner Isaac Toups and wife/co-owner Amanda Toups center on the Cajun rustic cookery Isaac Toups grew up with—dishes such as Gulf Seafood Couvillion with Louisiana Gulf fish, shrimp and crab-fat rice. On the menu at Toups South is Louisiana Gulf Stew made with crab, shrimp, oysters, and a crawfish/tasso gratin with cauliflower, cornbread crumb and Parmesan.