Rabbit and Shrimp Fricassee
444 St. Charles Ave., (504)-680-7000; trenasse.com
Chef Jim Richard is a Lafayette native and a Commander’s Palace alum who made his name on Florida’s Emerald Coast, home of his massively popular Stinky’s Fish Camp restaurant. Each part of that equation shows at Trenasse, which he opened last month inside the CBD’s InterContinental hotel. It’s an upscale/casual restaurant that mixes Gulf Coast seafood with a strong dose of hunting camp-inspired flavor. The rabbit and shrimp fricassee ($26) is representative, arriving with half a braised rabbit, very tender and lush, and a handful of large shrimp over a foundation of egg noodles as thick and burly as country dumplings in a light-bodied but flavorful sauce mixed with field peas and carrots. Like many of the entrées, it’s a good one to share after a few rounds of appetizers and oysters.
8312 Oak St., (504) 826-9119; chiba-nola.com
Chiba’s sushi bar makes prolific use of fresh fruit, but its voodoo roll ($12) was a new one on me. Starting with striped bass, which is mellow-flavored and firm-textured in the raw, the chefs fold in slivers of apple for some bright acidic crunch. The big flavors, however, come from a mix of black tobiko and orange masago roe liberally coating the top and a spicy ponzu sauce with heat that doesn’t burn but rather settles in to invigorate the palate.
Cajun Hebert Fries
Bobby Hebert’s Cajun Cannon
4101 Veterans Blvd.
Downtown sports bars will be mobbed with visitors on New Year’s Day as the Rose Bowl kicks off and Sugar Bowl preparations hit high gear. For more of a locals scene, check out Bobby Hebert’s Cajun Cannon, which the former Saints quarterback opened last summer. The food, while still very casual, takes a step up from typical sports bar fare. The Cajun Hebert fries ($9.95), for instance, replaces the standard cheddar blanket of cheese fries with a very rich, crawfish-studded cream and mushroom sauce. Greasy, generously heaped and with a peppery kick, it’s a bar snack that can double as a New Year’s Eve recovery round.