Tis' The Season To Dine In Style!

November 05, 2013
In New Orleans, food always takes center stage. Where else in the world do dining companions discuss their dinner options for later that night over lunch? And, daily! But, during the holiday season our passion for scrumptious morsels is revved up like a three year old hopped up on sugar-plums. Fortunately for those of us who crave comfort and joy in the form of tempting treats, there is no shortage of enticing holiday dining options, from Thanksgiving feasts and heavenly "Reveillon" menus to indulgent New Year's repasts.

What is Reveillon you ask? French for awakening, Reveillon was originally a lavish feast served on Christmas Eve just after midnight mass. These upscale meals - which went on into the wee hours - featured local favorites such as veal grillades, turtle or oyster soup, egg dishes, escargots, puddings, desserts and more, often accompanied by adult libations. In the 1900s as a promotional opportunity to lure diners to the Vieux Carre, French Quarter Festivals, Inc. revived and revamped the tradition, whereby dozens of local restaurants offer a month-long, pre-fixe holiday inspired menu. Both casual and fine dining eateries are featured, so you're sure to find one, or many, options to light up your holiday season. You can view the entire list of Reveillon participating restaurants at www.fqfi.org.

Bombay Club - 830 Conti St., 504.586.0972
Chef Nick Giles has crafted several special menus from a classic Turkey feast available on Thanksgiving Day to an opulent New Year's Eve soiree, which boasts an array of luxurious delights and a Champagne toast at midnight that will have you ringing in 2014 in grand style! His tantalizing Reveillon menu includes savory selections like warm crawfish and Creole cream cheese strudel with Creole tomato aioli; grilled redfish with creamed fingerling potato-crab broth and friend crab wonton; blackened pork chop with sweet potato-corn hash and sauce Bearnaise; and, English toffee bread pudding with white chocolate sauce. And, for lagniappe, enjoy their delectable (and addictive!) eggnog Noel. The Bombay Club is open on Christmas Eve, as well as Christmas Day and will offer special holiday menus, in addition to the Reveillon menu, on both days.

Broussard's - 819 Conti St.; 504.581.3866
The gorgeous, swank recent renovation of this grandiose French Quarter establishment makes it the ideal place to indulge this Holiday Season. The new team, lead by wine aficionado/general manager Chris Ycaza and Executive Chef Guy Reinbolt, - a certified Master Sommelier himself - has created a special dining experience from the remarkable service to the exceptional cuisine. Originally from Colmar, France just outside of Alsace, Reinbolt brings an international perspective to his 28-year career as a chef, having spent time honing his culinary skills along side several Michelin star chefs in France and Germany. Chef Guy's five-course Reveillon menu reads like a Francophile's dream sonnet and includes mache and frisee salad with crisp Andouille, mirliton julienne, honeyed pine nuts and balsamic vinaigrette; Louisiana rabbit rilletes with Marsala and fig marmalade and strawberry balsamic jam; coconut Bavarian & Bordeaux granite; oven baked half pheasant with mushroom risotto and mirliton ragout; and granny smith apple strudel with orange liqueur crème anglaise.

Deanie's - 841 Iberville St.; 504.581.1316
If festive, family holiday fun NOLA style is what you are searching for, look no further than this popular seafood eatery. Housed in a former department store, Deanie's decks the halls with an elaborate and award-winning winter wonderland window display complete with animated elves adorning a Christmas tree, Mr. and Mrs. Claus and a classic nativity scene. Pop by December 6-8 or 13-15 for hot chocolate and holiday treats and pose with Santa for your holiday pics. And, create a new holiday tradition with the Vince Vance Kids Holiday Sing-Along & Dance Party (Dec 7-8, 14-15) whereby the one-of-a-kind, animated entertainer will delight young and old with traditional Christmas songs, as well as signing copies of his new children's book, "The Littler Angel." Also enjoy caroling, games, prizes, delicious treats and photos with Santa and Deanie's loveable mascot, Pincher the Crawfish. Known for its classic Louisiana fare, Deanie's also offers off-site catering or host your holiday party there.

Desire Bistro & Oyster Bar - 300 Bourbon St., 504.553.2281
Located in the Royal Sonesta Hotel, this intimate, historic street-side bistro overlooks world famous Bourbon Street. Oysters reign supreme here, but the eatery as specializes in Louisiana seafood dishes and traditional Creole fare. If casual holiday dining is more your speed, then be sure to check out Desire's Reveillon menu which includes tempting selections such as: turtle or Creole onion soup; classic iceberg, bacon, egg and blue cheese salad or spinach salad with strawberries, goat cheese and candied pecans; blackened redfish with shrimp court bouillon or grilled tournedos with rosemary glace; and finish with either spiced carrot cake or eggnog crème brulee tart.

Kingfish - 337 Chartres St., 504.598.5005
Acclaimed executive chef Greg Sonnier has been wowing locals and visitors alike with his uniquely delicious, modern spin on Southern cuisine since the highly anticipated opening of Kingfish this past spring. Warm and inviting with a grand bar (the cocktails rock, too!), the charming atmosphere, unpretentious service and fantastic cuisine make Kingfish a terrific choice at which to enjoy a spirited holiday feast. Chef Greg's scrumptious Reveillon menu - choice of four delectable courses - is a holiday gift in itself with selections such as grilled apple smoked cheddar cheese sandwich, fried oysters and braised fennel; smoked rabbit gumbo; seared scallop and lobster cassoulet; char gilled venison with baby root veggies, gorgonzola shoestrings and Roselle-Hibiscus reduction; and, ginger pumpkin pudding cake. And, if that's not enough to jingle your bells, their seductive brandy milk punch, a little extra with the Reveillon menu, is sure to have rockin' around the Christmas tree!

Maximo's - 1117 Decatur St.; 504.586.8883
After some recent ownership shuffling, this beloved Italian eatery has landed in the deft hands of experienced, local restaurant operators and with executive chef Justin Daw at the kitchen's helm, Maximo's is sure to quickly return to the culinary spotlight. Within days of purchasing the restaurant, the new team began making changes, both behind the scene and cosmetic ones, including the installation of a beautiful hardwood floor in the private dining area. New menu changes are on the way as well, as chef promises to add his special touches to some of the old favorites giving them a more polished presentation. Look for more pasta selections, moderately priced options, lighter dishes and the return to fresh ingredients. Plus, decadent desserts, like their legendary tiramisu, will once again be crafted in house. The wine list will get a facelift, too by becoming completely Italian-centric. Maximo's will be open on Christmas Day and on New Year's Eve with a lavish multi-course menu.

R'evolution - 777 Bienville St., 504.553.2277
One of the most highly touted new restaurants to hit NOLA in years, R'evolution is the brainchild of local chef John Folse and Rick Tramonto, chef/partner in Chicago's world-renowned Tru, cookbook author and restaurateur. A tribute to the cultures that created Louisiana cuisine, this visionary fusion of two top chefs is the quintessential dining experience. The special Thanksgiving menu boasts mouth-watering options such as sweet potato bisque with truffle and marshmallow; black truffle beef tartare with pickled vegetables; oyster stew voul-au-vent; crispy pheasant with truffle jus; and, molasses-lacquered duck. For a truly decadent experience, don't miss Tramonto's Caviar Staircase with traditional garnish and your choice of black caviar options. Not to be missed is the Reveillon menu with enticing dishes like Creole Louisiana snapping turtle soup with deviled quail eggs and Madeira; Gulf shrimp and grits with chiles, ginger and stone ground cheese grits; coq au vin with black truffles; and, Turbodog Stout chocolate cake with Turkish coffee ice cream and raspberry salad.

Steamboat Natchez - Toulouse St. at the Mississippi River; 504.569.1401
This holiday season view the banks of the Crescent City from a unique vantage point aboard the famous Steamboat Natchez. Celebrate Christmas Eve in a Victorian-decorated dining room aboard the last steamboat on the Mississippi River with live jazz music, a tempting holiday buffet including butternut squash soup with bacon, tasso and toasted hazelnuts; roasted beet salad with tarragon vinaigrette; Creole fried turkey with giblet gravy; house baked ham with bourbon and cane syrup glaze; shrimp and mirliton dressing; Belgian chocolate pot de crème, and more. Or, toast the start of 2014 with the most unforgettable New Year's Eve experience in town! Indulge in delightful holiday treats like house-made seafood paté; classic seafood gumbo; duck a la orange; steamship round of beef with a trio of sauces; poached cobia with crabmeat beurre blanc; truffled fontina potato puree; chocolate peanut butter pie; and, holiday yule log. Revel in top-shelf lively libations, a popular dance band, party favors and at midnight, toast your friends and loved ones from the best seat in the house to " oh' and " ah' over the river launched fireworks display.

So, while New Orleans is hardly known for roasting chestnuts on an open fire or serving up a batch of figgy pudding, (and, the only wassailing you'll see is eggnog induced!) there is no shortage of scrumptious holiday dining options that are sure to enliven your palate and awaken your soul. To all you foodies, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year" Happy Holiday Dining!