The transformation of the corner of Chartres Street and Wilkinson Street over the last three years is a miniature display of the last decade’s culinary redevelopment throughout the city. Up until its closing in early 2012, the Alpine had a 40-plus-year run serving crawfish étouffée and BBQ shrimp to a clientele that tilted heavily toward tourists. On my final visit, a member of the kitchen staff nonchalantly strolled through the dining room carrying grocery bags filled with pre-formed hash brown patties—an anecdote of the commitment to quality the Alpine became synonymous with.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, as I savored yet another delightful meal at Doris Metropolitan: I couldn’t help but chuckle at the metamorphosis. Co-owners Itai Ben Eli and Dori Rebi-Chia oversaw a meticulous renovation of the building, incorporating the masculine overtones of traditional steakhouses with contemporary design features such as a horseshoe bar (the best seats in the house) and a glass-enclosed dry-aging room where primal cuts rest on pedestals in full view.
Ben Eli and Rebi-Chia opened their first steakhouse in Israel, and Middle East influences are spread throughout the menu. A salad of grilled artichoke hearts accented with dollops of tzatziki is a fitting prelude to a carnivorous feast, as is the tuna tartare accented with a ginger emulsion and a heavy spoonful of tobiko. But the most delicious beginning to a meal at Doris is the tender sweetbreads resting in a pool of demi glace, the flavors becoming more luxurious with each bite.
Steaks get top billing, and rightfully so. The variety is unmatched—with the number of cuts, weights, aging styles and provenances often overwhelming diners. A good rule of thumb is to always choose a bone-in option and upgrade to the “meat board” (i.e., tableside carving) when dining with a group. Those who like to live dangerously can opt for the mysterious “butcher’s cut” (shh, it’s hanger steak) or “classified cut” (the spinalis), both of which are beyond reproach.
The complete absence of pork on the menu leads some to presume that Doris Metropolitan can be pigeonholed as “Jewish” cuisine, though such a label detracts from the vast multi-cultural reach of the kitchen. As the sommelier remarked to one of my companions who mentioned that he had never eaten at a Jewish steakhouse before, “Everyone is a member of the tribe when they dine here.” No surprise that the chosen people would eat this well.
620 Chartres Street, (504) 267-3500, 5:30p–10:30p and lunch Fri-Sun 12p–2:30p, www.dorismetropolitan.com