The restaurant Lüke, from restaurateur and chef John Besh, is a brasserie with Franco-German style and Louisiana soul. Scanning the menu, diners will find a dish of flammenkuchen (a thin Alsatian onion tart studded with bacon and covered in Emmental cheese) here, a juicy Entrecôte Grillée Et Frites, served with béarnaise sauce there. But while international influences do indeed make a scrumptious appearance, Lüke excels at making local Louisiana cuisine sing.
Creole-style seafood gumbo here comes by the cup or the bowl, and the latter ideal if you want to save room for the restaurant’s other knockout dishes, like the epic seafood platters or the Blue Crab gratin. There are freshly shucked or stuffed oysters, soothing chicken and matzo ball soups, rich and satisfying salads featuring everything from beets and blue cheese to fried oysters, and, of course, Southern staples with a signature Lüke spin. At another restaurant you might expect finger-licking buttermilk fried chicken, but here you’re treated to Buttermilk Fried Quail, served with Avery Island peppers and La Provence honey.
The space itself is awash with wood and wicker chairs, with plenty of clean lines, and even a hint of Art Deco in the flooring. It’s a restaurant that exudes warmth and has the bustle of diners week-round to prove it. But a meal in New Orleans wouldn’t be complete without something thirst-quenching to wash it all down with. At Lüke, you’ll find the classics (Sazerac, anyone?) happily sloshing alongside snappy upstarts, like Door#Three, made with vodka, pomegranate syrup, and fresh lime juice. But you’ll also find a solid selection of bourbons, beers – including local offerings – and more to tempt and tantalize.