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Looking for farm to table restaurant in Nola!

Hi there! I'm looking for an organic or farm to table restaurant in Nola. I read that Luke uses a farm for most of their produce but is there anywhere else? Also, don't shoot me but, we're looking for a place that serves modern cuisine...not heavy "nola" type. Is that hard to find in the more upscale places? We're thinking Stella perhaps but I've read some not so great reviews about them. Basically our diets, due to allergies and such, can be rather restrictive so are looking for more of an upscale "healthy" high end restaurant. Perhaps we're going to the wrong city...help! Mucho thanks!

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  1. mila is probably your best bet. there is not much of a "farm to table" movement in Nola (the climate here isn't as supportive of this style of restaurant as in NY or CA).

    1. Besh has a farm and presumably uses his farm-raised stuff in all of his restaurants. He probably doesn't exclusively use his own stuff, but around here it's probably the closest you'll get. Luke, August, La Provence, Besh Steak House are all his restaurants. August does modern takes on louisiana dishes so it might be the closest to your requirements.

      As far as style goes, Stella is probably closest to what you're looking for. It's modern cuisine with little to no new orleans/louisiana/southern influence and even less local ingredients. They even have shark fin broth on the menu. (I was really turned off by that after I was assured by the waiter that they were the "real thing imported from asia" aka the result of finning.) Mila is modern southern food so I'm not sure it fits your bill. I really like it though.

      Link to a video about Besh's farm:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNZ5oq...

      2 Replies
      1. re: N.O.Food

        im also turned off by Stella's shark fine soup. ive emailed them to inquire but heard nothing in return.

        other than that, i have enjoyed Stella the couple times ive tried it. sure there may be some bad reviews, but there is absolutely no restaurant in the city w/o them on here...everything being objective, and all..

        1. re: N.O.Food

          Chef Besh was probably the first chef to get press for this aspect of his recipes, to my knowledge. Going back to pre-K days, I was introduced to his local "sourcing," and the dishes were very good. This has not been my universal experience, as many restaurants around the globe tout their "farm to table" supply line, only to serve really poor food. Still, many will find pleasure in the method, and overlook the end result. In my experince, Chef Besh is one, who delivers.

          Maybe I am just not as contentious as many, but to me, the proof is on the plate, or in the glass, in regards to "green" wines, and I do not mean Viñhos Verdes. Chef Besh has delivered on the plate.

          Hunt

        2. check out Iris NOW in the Bienville House in the FQ.

          -----
          Iris Restaurant
          8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

          1. Going to second Mila. They work with a farmer on the Northshore who supplies, I believe it is all, the produce used by the restaurant. And they have some very inventive takes, plating and techniques on Southern food standbys. Give them a try.

            1. For modern cuisine +1 Mila

              For farm to table LaProvence in LaCombe...it's a John Besh restaurant.

              http://www.laprovencerestaurant.com/

              1. Dante's Kitchen is probably a good bet. They list all the local produce on the chalk board each day. It's a lighter take on local food.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Frolic

                  +2 MiLa and +1 Dante's

                  1. re: Vineaux

                    And I also like MiLa.

                  2. re: Frolic

                    That sounds good...so does MiLa. I wonder when The Green Goddess is opening? That sounds amazing...innovative for the area. Shark fin soup? No, I'm defiantly not supportive of that so Stella is for sure out of the question. Thanks for everyone's help!

                  3. What you're looking for isn't open quite yet. The Green Goddess with chef Chris DeBarr will be open soon in the Quarter.

                    1. Some New Orleans dishes are very heavy, but at most of the newer nice restaurants you'll find dishes that are simple and healthy. There is no restaurant in New Orleans that is branded specifically as "farm to table" but many are sourcing the bulk if not all of their ingredients from local farms, and have been for a long time. Also don't forget that just about everywhere you'll find seafood that is hyperlocal. "Gulf to table," so to speak.

                      Mila would be a good choice, as would any Donald Link place (Herbsaint and Cochon.) Lots of meat on Cochon's menu, though. I would also recommend Commander's Palace, which has an extremely varied menu that always has a range from lighter to heavier. Their ingredients are local and top-notch.

                      1. Did not like Mila (check out my review). I agree 100% with Bill Hunt re: Besh and his commitment to local ingredients. I am a huge fan of the 100 mile trend and Besh really sets the standard for using as many locally grown and raised products as possible. Link is also great about that (Herbsaint and Cochon).
                        I am also not a big fan of Stella! It's not bad but it just was not great in my opinion. For "lighter" try Rambla for tapas or Rio Mar. It's hard to go light in this City so I would suggest you stick with a couple of small plates or split an entree. I am originally from San Francisco but come to NOLA 4 or so times a year and it is definently not a city that believes in portion control but I ADORE it!!!!
                        Try Gautreau's and August and I promise you won't be disappointed. If you get a chance, try Lilette or Herbsaint for lunch. You can go fairly light there - the beet salad at the former and butter lettuce salad at the latter are wonderful and you can't go wrong with the beef cheeks (Lilette) or shortribs (Herbsaint). Bayona also does a lovely 3 course lunch on Sat. where you can go very light.
                        Let me know how you did!!

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: ccmurieta

                          I think it is a little bizarre to come to a place known for its culinary culture and search primarily for food that is not associated with that culture. However, it is worth noting that since the days of Paul Prudhomme, Commander's Palace has emphasized sourcing their ingredients from within a few hundred miles of here...but they produce food that is definitely New Orleans food. As already mentioned here, the same is true of Dante's Kitchen and, while we are in that neighborhood, Brigsten's. Don't forget Bayona, which makes a point of being able to meet special dietary needs. All the restaurants listed above will work (I happen to really like MILA, although it is pricey). A lot of our best chefs here shop at the Crescent City Farmer's Market (which you should also visit on a Tuesday, to sample food made from ingredients at the market) and have relationships with regional farmers. If you can relax a bit about your fear of local cuisine, perhaps we can persuade you that eating locally includes the cooked products as well as the ingredients!

                          1. re: DavidIB

                            I don't think evalefemme's intent is to avoid the flavor of New Orleans, I think she is simply trying to avoid overly "heavy" foods. That is understandable and in no way disrespectful. It's not like she's (or he's) indicating in any way that they do not want to experience what N.O. has to offer, they just don't want heavy food. So what?!?! No disrespect, but New Orleans food is heavy. By heavy, I mean lots of cream, butter and fat and the portions are HUGE, especially compared to what one would get in say NY or SF. It's just a fact. One can get something "lighter" at any just about any restaurant in New Orleansand still get the flavor (albeit somewhat diluted) if that is what they want.
                            My own opinion of Mila is that there are too many great restaurants there to settle for mediocre. Commanders Palace is nice in the garden for lunch as it is a nice "experience" but again, there are better restaurants.
                            Brigtsens and Dante's are both jewels.One we be remiss in not going and experiencing Frank's smoked corn sauce on ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!

                            1. re: ccmurieta

                              I do agree, as to the intention. I have found that with age, the "heaviness" of some menus does take a toll. Also, maybe it's because I have had the pleasure to experience much of what "New Orleans cuisine" has to offer, but I no longer look to the history of a dish quite so much, and the final delivery. Yes, we still do our "grand tours," on occasion, and make sure to include the old-line restaurants, because we love them so much, but it's about the final execution. Had we just come upon New Orleans, I might well fell differently, but wife was a native, and I almost so. Been there - done that, and it's great, but history is not the only motivator for either of us. The food is that, regardless of how far back into antiquity the recipe stems.

                              When in San Francisco, we seldom look for historically correct fare, instead opting for great food. When in San Antonio, we did some excellent French and American, which were great, but not "authentic" San Antonio cuisine. Matter of fact, on that trip, we did not do any Tex-Mex at all. Maybe it's because we have done that many times. In London, we usually only do one "proper "English restaurant, and the rest are French, Indian or otherwise.

                              I'd urge any visitor to explore the cuisine of New Orleans, but not tell them to ignore great cuisine without the historical perspective. Maybe I'm just missing something, and am ready to be corrected.

                              Hunt

                            2. re: DavidIB

                              DavidlB- I posted on this forum because I wanted advice about a delicious high end restaurant that my friend and I could enjoy while staying in Nola. I find you calling it "bizarre", telling me to "relax" about my food choices, and in fact your entire post offensive. Its nice that you feel so much love for the food in your city but please, think before you write. Is there something wrong with me not wanting an enormous plate of food that's primarily made with butter and starches? Or with me wanting local ingredients for a healthier lifestyle? No. Especially when I'm traveling with a friend who just found out she has Barrett's esophagus which means she can't eat certain foods. If you read my post you would have noticed that I said "due to allergies and such".

                              I have no fear of local cuisine just of small minded people like you.

                              1. re: evalafemme

                                Rest assured that there is great food in NOLA, that transcends what might be typified as "NOLA cuisine." Because of the City's roots in food, those who explore other fare are influenced by the location and the great chefs and restaurants, that have preceeded them. The "bar" was set very high, early on. Most successful chefs have risen to that, even if they have explored other avenues. Great food, regardless of heritage, is a hallmark of New Orleans. Please do not discount that. Some feel that a diner cannot be true to the cuisine, unless they steep each course in history. I'd say that it is about the ultimate quality of the meal, and each course. History has played a big part in it, but is not the "end-game," of the dining experience.

                                Most of all, please enjoy. Relish what went into the cuisine and into the influences of many chefs working in the City. Without the history, what we now know would not be the same. Taste all that the City has to offer and appreciate each dish for what it is.

                                Hunt

                            3. re: ccmurieta

                              "Portion control... " love that! Since we have been gone from both NOLA and the Deep South for so long, that has become a bit of a "sticking point" with us. Personally, I love smaller portions, but more of them. It took some time, and many years of travel, but I find that I actually grade down a bit, when portions exceed what we can safely handle, or truly appreciate. Did a bit of a negative review of a restaurant in Hawai`i, because of the monstrous portions. Within a month, the restaurant introduced “half-portions,” which would be about perfect, for their appetizer dishes. I’d rather have a ten-course tasting menu, that is sized appropriately, than a three-course menu, with enough to feed a family of six (when it’s just the two of us dining). Give me just enough to capture all of the nuances, and show me the full range of the chef - then I am happy. I do not want “leftovers,” as I am usually in a hotel room, or catching a plane the next morning. Make each bite count and make me so very glad that I got to taste each one. Even some of the best dishes begin to bore me, if there is far more than I can possibly eat.

                              Sorry that Stella! did not do it for you. While we loved every aspect, many have not been so enthralled. Same for MiLa. We loved the food and the service, and only had problems with the physical layout of the restaurant, and one very noisy party in particular. Still, many others have loved the venue, but have not been so enamored with the food.

                              Thank you for the comments, and for a new term for me. I feel that it will definitely find a spot in many reviews to come. I will owe you attribution notations on that.

                              When local ingredients are good, I do appreciate a chef, who features these. Local producers will always benefit from a competent chef, who features their produce. I find that many chefs in Hawai`i, do just that. Kahuku Corn Chowder is as good as it gets. Were it not for a few chefs, no one would know and we'd all be the worse for that. The small farmers can do wonderful things with their earth and their efforts. It is concentration on things like this, that sets certain chefs apart and benefits all so very much. Showcase their efforts and make it viable for them to produce these items.

                              Appreciated,

                              Hunt

                            4. just curious, but what do you consider "heavy "nola" type"?

                              always wonder what perceptions people have of our cuisine and if it comes from experience or preconceived ideas.

                              we're not all breaded, fat rendered in fat, or deep fried. good lard, we do have healthy options that are quite tasty and not a Sysco product. we're also not a big chain/franchise city.
                              thank goodness for that! I'm sure you will have lots of options.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: edible complex

                                Well I am born and raised in New Orleans and I would consider much of the local cuisine to be "heavy". Red beans, smothered pork chops, anything served with a mound of white rice, fried shrimp, roast beef poboys with debris, oysters with rich toppings (Rockefeller, etc.), all jambalya, big chunks of white french bread served with everything, stuffed artichokes, meatballs with tomato gravy, and much more. Heavy can be good sometimes, and we also have lighter things.

                                1. re: edible complex

                                  I consider dishes such as jumbolaya pretty heavy. I've been to New Orleans many times and have enjoyed the food there but thought I would post on here for any suggestions on slightly lighter high end restaurants. This is mainly because I'm traveling with someone with a very specific diet and I would like her to enjoy her time in the city without being stressed about the lack of food options. It seems like most of the high end restaurants specialize in heavier New Orleans style cuisine, which she cannot eat. I'm sure that statement is incorrect which is why I posted on this forum.

                                  1. re: evalafemme

                                    You're not going to find Jambalaya at any high-end new orleans restaurant. If that's what you think they serve at our nice establishments, you're incorrect. I think you'll be fine and any high-end joint. They all have healthier options, and none that I can think of even serve etouffee, red beans, jambalaya, etc. You've got to take it down quite a few notches before you get into that kind of food.

                                    Here's a copy of Lilette's dinner entrees, just as an example. There's light stuff and not so light stuff. It's pretty much this way at every high-end restaurant in town.

                                    Roasted poulet breast with brussel sprouts, balsamic glazed onions and mushroom vinaigrette -21-
                                    Grilled hanger steak with fries and
                                    marrowed bordelaise -25-
                                    Roasted Muscovy duck breast with creamy polenta, fennel
                                    and coriander jus -26-
                                    Kurobuta pork belly with garlic bread and a tomato-cucumber-basil salad -23-
                                    Sauteed grouper with steamed fennel, baby beets and Lillet rouge butter -28-
                                    Pan roasted Alaskan cod with mushrooms, roasted potatoes and marsala butter -25- Grilled yellowfin tuna with grilled beets, baby root vegetables, ginger, basil and mint -28-

                                    1. re: N.O.Food

                                      Yeah I defiantly don't expect to see Jumbalaya! Thanks for the advice.

                                    2. re: evalafemme

                                      I can't recall ever having jambalaya in a restaurant. like N.O.Food, I agree that the higher end restaurants and even the mid-range restaurants are offering much healthier options, and most restaurants will cater to whatever dietary needs are requested. fear not eating here in NOLA. hope you and your friend have a great time here.
                                      I have my "triggers" and know what to avoid, and so far I continue to do just fine just about everywhere.

                                      1. re: edible complex

                                        Emeril has always claimed to buy from local farmers for his original restaurant.

                                        Bigray in Ok

                                    3. re: edible complex

                                      Once, decades ago, my answer would have been different. Maybe it's just old age, and all of the aspects of food, that goes along with that. Maybe it's having traveled extensively, and sampling other offerings. Now, I find some of what is typified as NOLA-cuisine as very "heavy." I still love it, but can only fully appreciate it in smaller doses.

                                      I'm not what one would stereotype as a "health conscious" diner (my love of foie gras would prove that in a heartbeat), but I do enjoy some of the more recent trends in smaller portions, to give the diner a "taste," rather than fill their plates. Now, it’s about the flavors for me. The individual ingredients go a long way in that direction. Oh, I still love my Trout Amandine, and order it all of the time. However, I cannot enjoy that every meal. Same for dining in Paris. I love the cream sauces, but cannot appreciate them for every dish and for every meal.

                                      In my quest for great food, I often miss my fried seafood, because it is not deemed “health conscious,” by too many. In proper proportions, and done at intervals, it still rates high on my list. That is probably why I appreciate the work of Chef Besh so much. He seems to blend the cuisines well, giving tastes of all sorts of dishes on his menus. Still, I diet (bad word for me), prior to my visits, as I do appreciate the dishes associated with NOLA so much - just in moderation.

                                      Hunt

                                    4. I think that a lot of the contemporary creole (read, modern) restaurants already suggested, like August, Dante's, tend to use seasonal, local ingredients. My husband used to be a food buyer locally, so I know there is a lot available to these restaurants to use. I would also recommend Patois uptown.

                                      These are not like the stuffy places like Arnaud's that serve crappy shrimp creole and fattening bananas foster. They are casual in comparison, yet the food is, imo, far better. Arnaud's, Antoine's, Galatoire's, these retaurants are the ones who are frozen in time, who've served practically the same menus for as long as 150 years!

                                      If you check menus online I think you'll see a reflection of the local ingredients in these places, farm-raised rabbit, frog-legs, strawberries. No jambalaya or deep fried oysters. Maybe some oysters in a salad. I can't remember the last time I ordered something with a cream sauce that wasn't pasta.

                                      Good luck with your search, and I hope you enjoy the trip.

                                      1. forgot about Patois' story:
                                        http://www.patoisnola.com/story.html

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: edible complex

                                          Last week I saw a huge pig being carried in the back door of Cochon by some farmer.. Wish I had a camera. My list would start there and go on to Dante's Kitchen, Boucherie, Patois, Herbsaint, Besh Restaurants, Lilette and La Petite Grocery.