There are a lot of things we love about New Orleans. The people, the music, the food, ordering drinks from the bar “to go”. But there is one thing in particular that is drawing us back to the bayou like a giant, delicious magnet from the south – the desire to have another meal at Cochon.
We have had some amazing dining experiences in New Orleans. We were most recently in town for Jazz Fest, and actually couldn’t get ourselves into Cochon due to both the size of our group and the insane popularity of the place. Instead we ate at Chef/Owner Donald Link’s private dining space above Cochon (which was excellent), and at the sandwich and charcuterie storefront Cochon Butcher (also incredible). During our visit we hit some of the legendary New Orleans spots, and even had a civilized lunch at John Besh’s restaurant, August. But after a few days of amazing eating, we still couldn’t help but feel like we were missing something. We wanted in on Cochon. So, like any responsible and rational person would, we changed our flights so that we could stay an extra day, see some music, and have one more dinner. Then we would take the first flight out Monday morning so we could make it back to work in time. Smart.
Here is the best way to describe how good this meal was. We walked into dinner on life support. We might as well have been dropped off at the restaurant in a wheelbarrow after the last four days we spent in the Big Easy. But this food gave us the will to survive. In one meal, I probably had three different dishes that were so good that I am going commission paintings of them. The wood fired oysters alone gave me a renewed will to live. I could write for hours about how this restaurant is special and incredible, and how I think we should kidnap this guy and force him to open one here in New York City. But instead, just read the food rundown and check out the pics. That should be enough to convince you.
Wood Fired Oyster Roast
One look at this picture pretty much says it all. These are mind blowing, life altering gulf oysters that have been covered in butter and chili oil and roasted in the wood burning oven. They come to the table blazing hot and ready to make you religious.
Fried Boudin with Pickled Peppers
These also make an appearance in the above pic (back left). Boudin balls are a common find on cajun menus, and these are spectacular. Pork sausage is shaped into a sphere and deep fried, and comes on a plate served with the famous Cochon mustard.
Spicy Grilled Pork Ribs with Watermelon Pickle
We liked these big, meaty ribs a lot, but other things on the table were outshining this dish a bit. The cubes of pickled watermelon on the plate were outstanding though.
Fried Alligator with Chili Garlic Aioli
Like the Creole version of Nobu’s creamy rock shrimp tempura. Alligator can be tough and chewy sometimes, but not here. These are crunchy little nuggets, tossed in a sweet and savory aioli. Pretty amazing.
Rabbit and Dumplings
A well known star of the Cochon menu – this is a cast iron skillet with four large dumplings and tender rabbit cooked in the wood burning oven. A comforting and delicious entree, but not necessarily something you should eat right before you head back out into the fray for your last night in New Orleans.
Ham Hock with Sweet Potatoes, Pickled Greens & Black Eyed Pea Ham Broth
A giant ham hock sitting a top a big pile of mashed sweet potatoes and wearing a hat of pickled greens. A tasty and classic Southern meal.
Oyster and Bacon Sandwich
Having already been to Cochon Butcher for an incredible feast of various sandwiches, we knew that this was going to be a must-order when we saw it. We also happen to be huge fans of fried oysters between two pieces of bread. This is essentially a BLT on white toast with fried oysters, and it made us want to cry and hug strangers in the restaurant. Put this on our list of best sandwiches ever.
Fried Soft Shell Crab with Chili Garlic Aioli
This was a special on our visit, and after all this gushing about great food, it was probably the best thing on the table. Take a look at this pic and then try to tell me you don’t want it, then tell me where to meet you so we can fight.
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