New Orleans: Tujague’s offers classics old and new

From a bright, airy dining room on Decatur Street in New Orleans, Tujague’s not only continues telling this city’s epic culinary story, but has penned a few new chapters of its own.

First, a little history: Founded in 1856, this French Quarter fine dining spot exclusively served a five-course, prix fixe menu – including its famous bacon-braised brisket – right up until 2013. Along the way, it added another cocktail the the city’s lengthy “Born in New Orleans” list: A frothy, mint-chocolate aperitif called the Grasshopper. (Y’all, it’s so good, you’ll want to bathe in it.)

Flash forward to today. Post-prix fixe, the Tujague’s chefs’ creativity has run wild, leading to delish twists on regional ingredients – crawfish gnocchi with wild mushrooms or crispy pork belly on pepper jack grits, anyone? It’s classics, from rich chicken gumbo to light fried green tomato ravigote, are executed impeccably. And that traditional 5-course menu? Still available. Best of both worlds!

We left the table so stuffed, it was tough to climb the stairs to the Decatur-facing balcony, which is only open for special occasions.

And, in a city that can gild fine dining to within an inch of its life, we were struck by Tujague’s utter lack of pretense.

While the tablecloths are white linen and the service refined, its tile-and-mirror dining room felt refreshingly laid back – and that’s a combination as welcome as mint and chocolate.

Here’s our TL:DR take on New Orleans’ Tujague’s

Tujague’s Grasshopper

Why we love it: Vintage Nola nails classic dishes and drinks – and invents a few of their own. (Plus: 163 years in the biz and counting!)

Vibe: Airy, high-end dining room mixes white linen service with a refreshingly laid back atmosphere

Perfect for: Diners looking for traditional New Orleans with zero stuffiness; brunch fans; girls nights

Must eat: Famous brisket, chicken gumbo and fried green tomato ravigote

Must drink: The Grasshopper, a mint-chocolate aperitif invented here in 1918

Bonus: Tujague’s served the same 5-course prix fixe menu exclusively until 2013, and it’s still available today.

Looking for more spots to throw down? Luckily, we put together a list of Nola’s must-try cocktails and where to find them.

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