Bordeaux has given Uptown New Orleans an outdoor dining space that feels pleasant on a 90-degree evening. But the restaurant has done more by bringing elevated cuisine with tastes of France, south Louisiana and the tropics to a corner of Magazine Street.
Chef Dominique Macquet has overseen several local dining spots over the years, including his long-running namesake restaurant at the Maison Dupuy hotel, Dominique’s on Magazine Street and Saveur. Bordeaux’s informal atmosphere is a departure from those. New Orleans Saints banners hang from patio railings, and fans circulate powerful breezes.
That casual backdrop could feel like a mismatch for the sophisticated cuisine, but Bordeaux bridges the divide.
Its focal point is a custom-built outdoor French rotisserie that is used to slow-roast pheasant, duck, guinea fowl, lamb shoulder and chicken. Guinea fowl was succulent, with perfectly crisped skin. A heavy sauce covered much of the bird, however, which compromised some of the crispness. The $32 portion was sizeable: Half a fowl was served with a large square of gratin dauphinois, rich with layers of warm cheese and fresh herbs. Lightly dressed mixed greens filled out the plate.
The lamb shoulder, $28 at dinner, is available in a more economical form at lunch, where it fills a laudable French dip sandwich ($11) with caramelized onions, Swiss cheese and rich dipping jus. Lunch also provides a chance to sample the rotisserie chicken over a crunchy, garlicky Caesar salad ($12). The full lunch menu has salads, a daily quiche and sandwiches including a bacon cheeseburger ($14).
Among dinner appetizers, a heap of jumbo lump crabmeat over a slice of fried kohlrabi with remoulade ($19) was an outstanding riff on a fried green tomato standard. A ceviche of red snapper and octopus, with corn, shaved onion, cilantro and leche de tigre, was too tart.
In addition to the rotisserie items, which are served with gratin dauphinois and mixed greens, entrees include a grilled steak with chimichurri and pommes frites ($28) and a grilled whole pompano with pappardelle, spinach and baby bok choy ($32). A sauteed soft-shell crab ($36) was a delicious splurge, served with saffron basmati rice pilaf and crisp green papaya slaw.
The French restaurant has a rotisserie and outdoor seating
Desserts range from tasty yet pedestrian items like a ramekin of molten chocolate cake topped with a raspberry to the more creative pineapple-mango crumble and a red berry Pavlova, a simple meringue sheet piled with fresh whipped cream, raspberries and strawberries.
Notable cocktails include the Sacre Bleu, a concoction of vodka, lemon, elderflower liqueur and egg white, and the Pipeline, Bordeaux’s passionfruit-accented play on an Aperol spritz. Several wines are available by the glass, ranging in price from $8 to $12, with many on the lower end of the scale. The lengthy bottle list includes many wines from the Bordeaux region.
Bordeaux has found a winning formula that combines comfortable surroundings and excellent contemporary French Creole fare. Now that it’s been shown to stand the heat, diners can hope for an equally appealing setting on chilly winter evenings, warmed by the rotisserie’s glow.