by Justine Goodman - 81 Reviews - 104 List
There is no way to replicate New Orleans. The city has a charm, uniqueness and history all its own. The only way to truly experience the Big Easy is to plan a New Orleans vacation. But for when you need a little N?awlins fix in New York to get you in the mood, we have the inspiration in these restaurants, bars and more that channel the French Quarter and beyond.
Updated: August 10, 2011
Southern comfort comes alive at this Big Easy-inspired spot in midtown. Cajun culture is evident throughout, from the eats (think fried catfish po'boys, crawfish and chicken and biscuits) to the Louisiana cocktails. For the optimal NOLA experience, order a classic Sazerac and settle in at a table on the outdoor patio.
It's always Mardi Gras at this Upper West Side bar, which has drawn a loyal clientele of Columbia students and local booze hounds for decades. Daily drink specials and the bar's credo--"Get beads! Get drunk! Get on the bar!"--help ensure that by the end of the night you'll be in the New Orleans spirit regardless of the New York topography.
Can't make it to the Upper West Side, let alone New Orleans? Skip Bourbon Street and head to this East Village bar, which features an array of NOLA-themed cocktails such as the Big Easy (Southern Comfort, peach schnapps and a splash of Coke) and the Nola Flirt (vodka, Cointreau, pineapple juice and Sprite). The menu follows suit, with a variety of po'boys (andouille sausage, crispy fried shrimp, etc.) and tasty small bites like Cajun tater tots.
Experience Louisiana by way of Hell's Kitchen at this down-home homage to Southern cooking. There's always an Abita brew on tap (and usually several), and the kitchen--helmed by Louisiana native Bobby Bouyer--churns out Creole and Cajun specialties such as gumbo, blackened catfish, jambalaya, pork chops etouffee and much, much more.
There's nothing particularly New Orleans-esque about this upscale museum restaurant, save one thing: the beignets. Served with maple ice cream, caramel and mango marmalade, just one bite will bring you back to the Big Easy's famous Cafe du Monde. But beware: They're only available on the dessert menu in the Bar Room.