It's no small feat to whip up one of The Olive Branch Café's gourmet pizzas. The painstaking process begins long before lunchtime, with chefs preparing dough fresh for the day each morning. There's barely a moment to rest before orders begin flying in and the pizza makers spring into action, showering crusts with housemade sauces and high-quality cheeses. Their brows furrowed in concentration, their hands blurs, they layer pizzas with fresh garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and fine spanish olives. Once the pies arrive triumphantly to the dining room, the chefs turn their attention to thick muffuletta subs, plump meatball calzones, and the jambalaya pastas that caught the attention of Gambit’s Best of New Orleans guide.
Out in the casual dining room, beneath warm red walls peppered with abstract art, guests clink glasses, feeling more content than a robot in a microchip factory. There, owner Russell "Rusty" Autry often strolls around the room, greeting newcomers and exchanging jokes with regulars.
Taste of the Caribbean treats diners searching for tropical flavors to a menu brimming with entrees from countries such as Haiti, Honduras, and more. Kick-start a morning fiesta with the latin breakfast, a piquant amalgamation of eggs, plantains, skirt steak, beans, avocado, and tortilla ($7.50). For maritime eats, diners can select fresh fish entrees of grilled snapper ($20) and fried fish ($16) to populate their internal tanks, and spice savorers can introduce taste buds to a plate of curry oxtail ($16).
Harnessing the heat of an open-flame char broiler, the spatula specialists at Ground Pat'i flip, sear, and season succulent burgers and steaks made with USDA Choice beef. Sharpen incisors on a juicy half-pound signature Ground Pat'i burger ($8.25), or opt to challenge chompers by excavating through strata of bacon atop the applewood-bacon cheese Ground Pat'i burger ($9.25). Tender rib-eye steaks ($17.95) are char grilled before providing diners with enough delicious protein to bench-press unsuspecting dates. A variety of hot sandwiches fills restless jazz hands with lighter cuts, including chicken, shrimp, and tuna. After meals, rattle stomach estates one more time with a deluge of chocolate and frosting from the Oreo brownie sundae ($5.45), one of three sacchariferous dessert options. To sate thirsty urges, browse the eclectic selection of specialty drinks and draft beers at the full-service bar.
Featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Katie’s Restaurant & Bar’s head chef and native New Orleanian Scot Craig celebrates traditional and modern creole dishes at the nearly 30-year-old establishment. Cochon de lait plays a key role in the cuisine, and for good reason: Chef Craig spends hours rubbing down the pork with dry-spice rub, reading it pig-themed nursery rhymes, and then smoking it to a luscious finish in the small smoker behind the restaurant. You’ll find the tender pork atop a Brooklyn-style stone-baked pizza, which was Lauded by Best of New Orleans as “hard to resist.” It also dons Tabasco mayo in the restaurant's barge-sized po' boys, and weekends finds the meat sitting daintily atop a poached egg and English muffin drenched in hollandaise.
The chefs at Sukho Thai evoke the streets and kitchens of Thailand with balanced dishes that spotlight fresh and exotic ingredients. In addition to bowls of sinuous egg and rice noodles, they craft panang curry filled with strips of pan-fried duck breast, fresh coconut milk, and kaffir lime leaves. Waterfall beef mingles with chiles, roasted rice powder, and mint, and the steamed fish of the day swims in garlicky lime or whiskey ginger sauce. Sukho Thai also rotates seasonal specials—including a recent collection inspired by Bangkok street food—through their menu on a regular basis.
Sukho's original Marigny location is housed in a vibrant-yellow building bedecked with red and blue trim. The Uptown location resides in a polished warehouse-style space, where exposed-brick walls surround long, buttery banquettes. Beneath a peaked ceiling, glowing paper lanterns hang in a cluster from metal beams.