930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA
Web Site: http://www.cochonrestaurant.com/
One of the restaurants in New Orleans I most wanted to dine at was COCHON, a new, Post-Katrina casual fine dining restaurant that was opened by Donald Link, of Herbsaint fame and 2007 James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef, South (click for previous OTB podcast) who I interviewed during my previous New Orleans trip back in April of 2006. At the time, the finishing touches of COCHON had just been done, and the restaurant was preparing to open only days after I returned home. Now, over a year later, COCHON has become one of New Orleans’ top restaurants, and was nominated as “Best New Restaurant” in the 2007 James Beard Awards.
Best described as “Modern Cajun” COCHON incorporates many elements of traditional Cajun cuisine combined with twists from Europe and Asia. Although the food and the restaurant would easily find itself in New York’s hip SoHo and Greenwich Village or among the top fine dining establishments in Midtown Manhattan, it is most definitely a New Orleans restaurant and one of the city’s finest examples at that.
Exterior, Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans
Is COCHON Hillbilly or Haute? I think it’s a bit of both. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
Chef De Cuisine and restaurant Co-Owner Steven Stryjewski was there to create a tasting menu for us. Stryjewski is a CIA grad and comes out of the kitchens at Commander’s Palace.
All numbers of pickled goods are on display at the Chef’s Table at the rear of the restaurant.
The hearth, which is the central element of the restaurant’s kitchen and bakes all the bread in the restaurant.
We really welcomed the freshly baked bread with sweet butter.
While more Alsatian than Cajun, this boucherie/charcuterie plate was outstanding. All the pork used at the restaurant is specially sourced by Donald Link from his own producers in Cajun country, and is brought in as whole pigs and butchered onsite.
They might not be Drago’s, but these chile roasted oysters with a Southeast Asian flavor were outstanding.
Fried Alligator Nuggets with chili garlic aoli. Probably the best gator I’ve ever had.
Corn Calas with cherry tomato salad. I’d describe this as a very, very good Cajun Latke.
Corn Calas alternative view.
Shrimp and Eggplant Dressing. This is a traditional preparation, and its excellent.
Shrimp and Eggplant Dressing closeup.
Fried Boudin Balls.
Boudin Ball Closeup.
The Louisiana Cochon, a slow cooked pork with cabbage, turnips and cracklins, the signature dish of the restaurant. Imagine the best slow cooked Cuban roast pork Lechon you’ve ever had, that would about describe it.
Grilled Hot Sausage with Peaches and Onions.
Hot Sausage closeup.
This is a fish dish destined for another customer, Oven Roasted Gulf Fish, Fisherman’s Style.
Rabbit and Dumplings
Cochon’s greens. A little bit spicy and not at all bitter.
Creamy White Grits, which was some of the best I’ve ever had.
These Habaneros were growing in a pot on the chef’s table.
An outstanding Red Velvet Cake.
A Blueberry Cobbler destined for another customer.