Friday, July 17, 2009

the less criminal forms of sin

"This is the birthday, in 1979, of Mr. B's Bistro. Its opening was a turning point in many ways. It was the first new restaurant opened by the Commander's Palace side of the Brennan family after it split with Brennan's on Royal Street in 1973. In the intervening years, they closed four of their six restaurants. Mr. B's represented the rise of the next generation of Brennans, who opened one restaurant after another thereafter.

More important, Mr. B's was the archetype for the gourmet Creole bistro--a new kind of restaurant at the time. It was widely imitated in the next decade, and restaurants like Mr. B's now dominate the dining scene. They serve great food of high intrinsic quality, but in casual dining rooms devoid of pretense and ceremony. It was a perfect match to the tastes of baby Boomers, who were coming into their own in 1979.

Mr. B's was the last major restaurant to return to action after the hurricane. Its opening brought the number of real restaurants in town to 809--the number we had before the storm. It's a keystone in the New Orleans restaurant scene. Crab cakes, gumbo ya-ya, barbecue shrimp, bread pudding--all are the best in town.
" from tom fitzmorris

i don't think it's possible to describe the energy & aromas i encountered walking into this great new orleans restaurant for the first time back in 1980. gerard maras & the brennan's had created an entirely new kind of dining experience for the city back then & you felt it when you first walked in those revolving doors off royal street. hickory smoke was dominant & the buzz in the restaurant was nearly deafening. THIS was the place to be.

it's no longer the hot spot of dining but you can still have a great meal there & the bar is a good place to just hang out for an hour or so. last year, ann & i went for brunch & were amazed once again at the gumbo ya-ya & pork belly hash & eggs. i'd stopped in earlier when i was there w/nan & had the gumbo at the bar w/a soft shell crab amandine. the brennan's continually amaze me & their standards of excellence are so high, it's hard to imagine ever getting a bad meal at any of their many restaurants in the city(eg, their oysters at the red fish grill last summer were totally superior to the great acme oyster house next door).

congrats on 30 years. go there if you can.

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