If we’re talking about restaurants for dads, let’s start with a specific one (dads, not restaurants). My dad lives in Auckland, New Zealand, and thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we get to talk and see each other via a screen on a fairly regular basis.
Using Skype, I’m able to see and hear how he’s doing, and he can do the same. It’s a good illusion of actually hanging out, and it’s certainly preferable to decades past, where letters or phone calls were the modus operandi of long-distance communication. But it’s still just a video conference dressed up as spending time together; it’s no face-to-face dinner and drinks.
To paraphrase Epicurus, you should always think about whom you eat and drink with: only wolves and lions dine alone.
My dad visited New Orleans recently, and I can testify that there is no substitute for sitting together at a table, eating, talking, and drinking. It’s not really just about being with someone; it’s about sharing a real physical space, where together you simultaneously experience a moment in time.
And if there’s a hint of sentimentality there, it’s with good cause. To paraphrase Epicurus, you should always think about whom you eat and drink with: only wolves and lions dine alone. And if there’s a time to think about whom you want to dine with and why, Father’s Day is as good a time as any.
This list is great for Father’s Day, but it’s also designed for more than one day a year. You don’t need a holiday to take your dad (or anyone you love) to dinner. So, without further adieu, let’s eat.
Like a number of upscale eateries, Doris Metropolitan has another location outside of New Orleans. But it’s not New York or Houston or Atlanta or London: Doris Metropolitan, which just two years ago was named “Best New Restaurant” by My New Orleans Magazine, also serves the finest meats in Costa Rica’s largest city, San Jose, as well as at another three locations in Israel. I note this because the restaurant’s truly international roots seem perfect for a city like New Orleans, which has been a space for the people and food of many nations and cultures.
While all the restaurants on the list are perfect for friends or dads, Doris Metropolitan, situated in the French Quarter, is especially suited for a Father’s Day celebration. From the extensive wine list (including a great selection from Israel) to mains such as the “Falls Off the Bone” ($35), which consists of Shpondra (short ribs) cooked for 24 hours, smoked tomato au jus, and root puree, all the way through to the impressive Japanese Wagyu strip-loin ($175).
I’ve had the opportunity to write different kinds of delectability for this very website, and it’s usually made me hungry when describing food and drink, but no assignment has been more difficult than this one. One reason: I have a dangerous relationship with meat, one that leans toward a “more is more” attitude. So, if you want to indulge true meat and seafood love, take your dad to Chophouse.
The restaurant prides itself as being different from the many steakhouses in this city by simply committing to, in the words of owners Barbara and Jerry Greenbaum, “higher quality” meat, seafood, and vegetables.
Take, for example, the following practice. Chophouse steaks—all of which are graded prime (top 3%)—are aged for four weeks to maximize taste, and they are the exact weight listed on the menu. Or the fact that there are only two varieties of fish, steak cuts of sea bass and a local Gulf fish, for good reason: they emphasize freshness so that every fish is truly the “fish of the day.” You can’t go wrong at Chophouse.
My earliest memory of eating a burger was with my dad in Sydney, Australia, when I was a child, and it’s stuck in my head as the beginning of a life-long love. The experience was an early introduction to America: big, layered, and a bit messy. There were pickles and melted cheese and juicy meat. I relished every bite.
I won’t take you any farther down memory lane, but I will ask you to follow me for a moment to Lüke, chef John Besh’s St. Charles Avenue spot that is a tribute to the city’s history of French and German cuisine, to try a very specific plate: the Lüke burger ($16.50), which is topped with Allan Benton’s famous bacon, caramelized onions, tomatoes, and Swiss cheese. If you’re willing to truly indulge, you can add lump crab meat. The cochon de lait pressed sandwich is also a worthy pick.
The Company Burger
To call the burger that shares the name of this restaurant “simple” somehow sells it short. Yes, in a sense it’s traditional — two patties, American cheese, housemade pickles, and red onions — but it’s so good it just doesn’t need much more than that (although you can add bacon and/or a fried egg if you want, and bring your own tomato). The Company Burger has kept to a classic approach by using great ingredients and providing consistency.
And they’ve stuck to a philosophy: they bake the bread, make the pickles and mayo, hand cut the fries, and use beef sourced only from Creekstone farms. There’s no mystery or fancy trick, and it’s led to a large and loyal following. Trust me, your dad will be impressed.
Curious Oyster Company at St. Roch Market
There’s more than one reason to head to the Curious Oyster Company, but I might give you the first: you should visit St. Roch market, as it’s a landmark to the city’s (excuse the cliché) post-2005 revival. The second is because the Curious Oyster Company, which is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m, is one of the most popular vendors at the market because of its awesome seafood. You should take your dad out to the market to eat a dozen raw oysters or choose from other delicious options at Curious Oyster: marinated crab claws, tomato soup, and smoked fish.
Dat Dog is one of the places I first visited when I moved here. And the Magazine Street location was one of the places I most wanted to take my dad because of the laid-back atmosphere and great selection of local beers.
The ‘Bacon Werewolf’ has Slovenian sausage, dill relish, diced tomatoes, grilled onions, Creole mustard, and, most important, bacon. I want one right now.
You can sit at one of the tables at their comfortable outside area, or post up at the bar. While of course there is the option of making your own hotdog — and with a wide range of toppings it’s certainly tempting — my personal favorite is the “Bacon Werewolf,” which has Slovenian sausage topped with a perfect combination of dill relish, diced tomatoes, grilled onions, Creole mustard, and, most important, bacon. I want one right now.
Parkway Bakery and Tavern
Full disclosure: I committed a cardinal sin by not taking my dad for his first po-boy in New Orleans. He eventually had one, but if I could go back in time I would’ve driven him over to Parkway Bakery and Tavern for one of their legendary po-boys. Local and national publications have described Parkway as home to the city’s best po-boy, highlighting in particular the fried oyster sandwich (only available Mondays and Wednesdays) and my pick, the Parkway Caprese, which contains sliced tomatoes, mozzarella with virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil. However, with 24 options, there’s no doubt you’ll find the perfect po-boy for you and your dad.
A spacious, inviting restaurant with a menu to match, Borgne rightfully occupies a significant place in NOLA’s food universe.
Named after the lake where chefs John Besh and John Landry grew up fishing, Borgne specializes in coastal Louisiana cuisine and New Orleans classics, as well as incorporating the influence of Spain and the Canary Islands on local fare. Most of all, Borgne is dedicated to the best that our surrounding waters can offer. Whether you go there for happy hour (3 – 6 p.m.) for a refreshing drink and the $5 tapas or later in the evening for a meal — start with the slow smoked pork empanadas followed by the blackened swordfish (with charred creamed corn and blistered shishito peppers) — there are options no matter your preferences.
Heavy lies the crown, but if there’s a restaurant that’s earned the reputation as one of the city’s best, Restaurant R’evolution might just be it. A joint enterprise by award-winning chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto, Restaurant R’evolution has you set for a fantastic Father’s Day dinner or, in fact, an unforgettable meal any time of the year.
From the beautiful dining room to the impeccable menu featuring a wide array of dishes like Death by Gumbo (roasted quail, andouille, oysters, and filé rice); Panéed Veal Chop with warm crabmeat salad and truffle aioli; Espresso-crusted Venison Carpaccio with black walnuts and shaved dark chocolate; and the 40-oz Tomahawk Rib Eye for two ($95) — this is the ideal place to indulge.
I attended the opening of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum a few months ago, and one of the highlights of this evening and the museum was the food of Justin Devillier, the chef behind this latest New Orleans’ favorite, Balise. Owner (with his wife) of La Petite Grocery since 2010, Devillier opened Balise just before Mardi Gras this year.
Focusing on NOLA’s history as a dynamic port city, the menu features wonderful dishes ranging from the Roasted Lamb Loin (with celery root puree, maiitake, hazelnut, and lamb ragout) through to the Rabbit Roulade, with roasted mushroom, crispy ham, and winter vegetables. A true New Orleans original, Balise was built in a 19th-century townhouse in the CBD, and it’s a fantastic setting for a dinner with dad.