Local baker Cara Benson and her husband, Evan, introduced many in New Orleans to the idea of a tartine — an open-faced French-style sandwich — when they opened their original bakery (7217 Perrier St., 504-866-4860; tartineneworleans.com) under that name in 2010. Their next venture, which opened late last month, strikes a much more familiar tone.
Toast (5433 Laurel St., 504-267-3260; toastneworleans.com) does indeed serve toast — fashioned into breakfast sandwiches — along with omelets, crepes and baked goods. There are a few more substantial items (hanger steak with eggs, croque madame sandwiches) and one menu novelty by the way of aebleskivers, a traditional Danish dish that turns out to be orbs of pancake batter roughly the size of table tennis balls. If the fluffy interior part of the pancake is your favorite part, rather than the frilly edge, then these are for you.
The address was the former Laurel Street Bakery, which now operates from newer digs in Broadmoor. For Toast, the space has been nicely redone with a diner-style cypress bar fronting a small dining room with table service. Toast serves breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday.
Three for the road
If a three-course meal sounds too decadent, or just too time-consuming, for a downtown weekday lunch, Bourbon House (144 Bourbon St., 504-522-0111; bourbonhouse.com) has come up with an antidote of sorts with a daily special that essentially turns its oyster bar into a quick-serve seafood lunch counter.
Earlier this year, chef Darren Nesbit moved preparation duties for chilled seafood dishes from the kitchen to the oyster bar, where crab claws, various seafood salads and such are now on display alongside the oysters. Along the way, the restaurant set up a prep station and built a lunch special around items it could field fast.
Order the “oysters 3 ways” ($19), for instance, and you get a cup of oyster chowder and three raw oysters directly from the bar, while half an oyster po-boy follows from the kitchen. A similar special brings gumbo and boiled shrimp followed by a shrimp po-boy.
“The idea is to prepare it up here, so we can serve fast,” said proprietor Dickie Brennan. “We wanted to have a faster option for people on shorter lunch breaks.”
The specials are served daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Adding to the options
As if all the new restaurants opening around town weren’t enough, others keep expanding their hours to add to the options.
For instance, the Neapolitan pizzeria Ancora (4508 Freret St., 504-324-1636; ancorapizza.com) added Sunday hours, serving now from noon to 8 p.m. and opening new possibilities for brunch pizza.
The pan-Latin newcomer Mizado Cocina (5080 Pontchartrain Blvd., 504-885-5555; cocinamizado.com) has added lunch to its schedule, serving Tuesday through Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m., and also Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. And in the French Quarter, Emeril Lagasse’s French Quarter restaurant NOLA (534 St. Louis St., 504-522-6652; emerilsrestaurants.com) has stretched its lunch schedule from Thursday to Monday.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.