1813 Magazine St.
Everyone who loves pho has their own way of approaching a bowl of Vietnam’s most famous culinary export. I start with a few sips of the broth all on its own and then proceed to add the various garnishes that arrive on the side. But the seafood broth for this shrimp pho ($8.95) changed my routine. Light and clear, it also tasted buttery-rich and I didn’t want to disturb that delicate flavor. The alternating crunch of green onions on the surface and white onions entangled with the rice noodles add layers of texture.
Crab and Quinoa Salad
942 N. Rampart St.
(504) 569-9979; meauxbar.com
Fans of the now-closed Ste. Marie Brasserie will be relieved to find so many familiar facets from that CBD restaurant effectively transplanted to the newly-reopened Meauxbar. That includes most of the staff, the chef Kristin Essig and some of her dishes from St. Marie. I was particularly happy to recent visit to find this crab and quinoa salad ($15.50), a seasonal dish I’d tasted last summer at the old restaurant and that has maintained a spot in my flavor memory ever since. Sweet peaches appear to be the most prominent ingredient, but it’s the aromatics of smoked goat cheese playing across the very fresh, springy crabmeat lumps and bending back into the nutty quinoa that made it stand out for me. Niçoise olives and toasted pumpkin seeds add exclamation points to a salad worth circling on this bistro menu.
Pulled Pork Poppers
Mid-City Yacht Club
440 S St Patrick St. (504) 483-2517; midcityyachtclub.com
This isn’t really a yacht club, but rather a backstreet bar in Mid-City with a wry sense of humor about the ability of flooding to create temporary waterfront property around its neighborhood. It also has a nonsmoking policy inside, a large, modern patio outside and a much more distinctive menu than you might expect from a tavern kitchen. The pulled pork poppers ($7.50) are a good example. Strands of pork are mixed with rice, charred bits of jalapeño and cheddar, rolled into golf ball-sized orbs and fried. It’s a bar snack that works like boudin balls crossed with cheese spread.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.