200 Chartres St.
Most of the specialties at this vintage French Quarter diner spring from the familiar canon of New Orleans cooking. The Creole tomato salad ($8.50 small/$11.50 large), however, is a nod to the Greek heritage of restaurant’s family owners. Known in the old country as horiatiki salata, (roughly, “country-style salad”), it’s a light, fresh and flavorful mix of tomatoes, feta, salty capers, fat Kalamata olives and thin-sliced onion and peppers all awash in a sea of olive oil. Some people dredge bread through the plate, others are known to slurp up the dressing with spoons. Served only when tomatoes are looking good, the dish is at its prime now with Creole tomatoes coming through the kitchen.
Flaming Torch; 737 Octavia St.
(504) 895-0900; flamingtorchnola.com
This bistro is usually more about French than Creole, but that balance flips during Sunday brunch. The eggs Sardou ($22), for instance, is a faithful rendition of the old Creole set piece, with the poached eggs set over artichoke bottoms and dabbed with sauce Choron, essentially a Hollandaise jazzed up with a little tomato and pepper. Remember this place when you’re looking for classic New Orleans brunch flavors Uptown.
4077 Tulane Ave.
(504) 483-8899; namese.net
Namese is another recent addition to the ranks of modern Vietnamese restaurants where the younger generation is putting a new spin on traditional dishes. The Ducky Cuban ($8) sandwich springs from different source material, however, and is more in line with the trend to remake any popular comfort food. A bánh mì loaf is pressed to a flat, butter-crisp shell like a standard Cuban, but the pork, ham and cheese are replaced with a succulent hash of finely-pulled duck meat, thin strips of bacon, a streak of hoisin-spiked aioli and pickled string beans for some interior crunch. It tastes about as Vietnamese as it does Cuban, but it’s delicious just the same.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.