Cochon, New Orleans
Don’t let the phrase “contemporary Cajun” scare you; there’s no trickery about the food. Devoted to protecting old-style traditions, chef/co-owners Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski turn out splendid boudin, andouille, and smoked bacon, which you can also buy at the newly opened Butcher, located in the same building. Order absolutely anything: wood-fired oyster roast, ham hock with lima bean hopping John, catfish court bouillon. And whatever you do, don’t leave without trying the fresh chunk-pineapple and cornmeal upside-down cake, slightly sticky with caramel sauce. The last bite will haunt you for days.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.