Donald Link's New Orleans Restaurant Guide
Cane & Table
"Neal Bodenheimer is the mixologist behind Cure; he's done great things for the Nola bar scene. His drinks are so bright and fresh: He made me a terrific one, the Bricktop, with gin, cherry liqueur and lime. Chef Adam Biderman does a nice Cuban ropa vieja with braised skirt steak; it was just the right amount of sauced." 504-581-1112.
Gracious Bakery + Café
"Megan Forman was Bayona's pastry chef. She's a great baker: She makes an out-of-this-world chocolate tart, and after my son Nico was born, she brought me the best angel food cake I ever had. Her sandwiches are delicious too, like thick slices of ham and Brie with house-made butter on a baguette." graciousbakery.com
"The phos at this Vietnamese spot have what other places don't—a deeply rich broth. I order the spicy shrimp pho. My wife orders the shrimp-avocado spring rolls, packed with good shrimp—and she shares them with me." 504-599-9999.
"This is a Colombian spot not far from downtown. The music is Colombian, the crowd is Colombian. The place is exciting. They've got an arepa menu. I went for cerda—pulled pork, stuffed into the arepa with fried plantains and tomato mayonnaise. Killer." 504-523-6247.
Noodle & Pie
"This place is all about ramen, though they do other cool things, like lemon-salted fried chicken skins. The crab ramen has good, chewy noodles and real dense seafood flavor. I give them kudos for doing something different, an intersection of New Orleans and Japan." noodleandpie.com
"My newest place is all about seafood. The space was a mortuary after the Civil War. Jefferson Davis was embalmed here; he was the president of the Confederacy. The coal-fired grill is based on ones we saw in South America and Spain. We sell tons of whole fish, dishes like grilled shrimp and what I think are the best hush puppies in the world." pecherestaurant.com