Troy Brocato is used to it. People see his name, hear he’s in the restaurant business and start asking about gelato. But this Brocato is not related to the family behind the famous Mid-City ice cream parlor of the same name, Brocato’s Ice Cream and Confections. Rather, this Brocato grew up in Opelousas, in the heart of Cajun country, and has spent most of his career cooking the flavors of rural Louisiana.
In New Orleans he worked under Paul Prudhomme, the master of the style, and later opened his own first restaurant Brocato’s Eat Dat in New Orleans East. That restaurant closed last year.
But a few weeks ago he unfurled a new banner, this time for Brocato’s Po-Boys & Catering (601 Metairie Rd., Metairie, 504-377-3648), located inside Metry Café & Bar in Old Metairie. The restaurant is open to all ages.
The basic menu is a straightforward list of po-boys plus a few salads. The gumbo — chicken and sausage most days, a seafood version on Fridays — has an intensely rich, dark, slow-cooked roux and daily specials work in more regional Cajun flavors. Look for dishes like country-style étouffée made without tomatoes, pork chops with dirty rice and chicken livers with pepper jelly.
Brocato’s Poboys & Catering is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Coolinary heats up
Many restaurants trot out their own special deals in the summer to lure more locals during the tourism slump. This weekend marks the start of the citywide version, called Coolinary New Orleans, and more restaurants than ever are participating.
Coolinary continues through the month of August with restaurants serving special two- or three-course lunch menus for $20 or less and three-course dinner menus for $35 or less.
Close to 60 restaurants have signed up for Coolinary this year, and they run the gamut from the very oldest – namely, Antoine’s (713 St. Louis St., 504-581-4422; antoines.com) – to some of the newest – like the Fountain Lounge, which also has live music inside the Roosevelt Hotel (130 Roosevelt Way, 504.648.5486; therooseveltneworleans.com); and Marti’s Restaurant (1041 Dumaine St., 504-522-5478; martisnola.com).
Note that some restaurants restrict the days on which Coolinary deals are offered. For details and menus, see coolinaryneworleans.com.
James Beard bash comes Uptown
Chefs from across the nation convene each year at the James Beard Foundation Awards, and that includes New Orleans chefs, who brought home an impressive haul of honors this spring.
This Monday, Aug. 4, the culinary group is assembling a more intimate gathering of chefs at La Petite Grocery (4238 Magazine St., 504-891-3377; lapetitegrocery.com) for a local edition of its Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner series, with proceeds supporting its culinary education programs.
In addition to La Petite Grocery chef Justin Devillier (a finalist for the Best Chef: South award this year) the dinner will feature dishes from the local chefs Aaron Burgau of Patois and Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette alongside visiting chefs Adam Evans of The Optimist in Atlanta and Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston, who won this year’s James Beard award for Best Chef: Southwest. La Petite Grocery pastry chef Bronwen Wyatt will prepare dessert.
The dinner costs $175. Call La Petite Grocery for reservations and find the menu and details at jamesbeard.org/events/new-orleans.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.