There is a saying about mice, men and their plans. We are not really sure what it means, but Bart Bell and Jeff Baron most certainly do. The duo had originally planned on opening Crescent Pie & Sausage Co. in a former TV/VCR repair shop on Banks Street, but that building collapsed during Hurricane Gustav. So they decided to go next door and open Huevos, a now popular Mid-City breakfast spot, while constructing the new Crescent building themselves from the ground up.
The name of the restaurant is indicative of their respective passions. Baron spent many a night baking pizza at the Dough Bowl on Zimple, while Bell has charcuterie experience stretching from his southwest Louisiana heritage through most recently the kitchen at Cuvee. Their talents mesh well with pizzas, especially the Mediterranean Pie, which combines Baron’s hand-tossed and crispy crust, Bell’s merguez sausage filled with lamb, and cooling goat cheese crema. The BLT features thick slices of bacon and spinach pesto, while the Chicken Marsala has a sweet sauce and dollops of smooth, housemade ricotta.
Long before opening in November, Bell worked for months and months on the dough for Crescent’s most popular appetizer, the meat pies. “Finally, I went with a simple ratio-based recipe, and the results are great.” Fillings for the pies are seasonal, but the best is undoubtedly a mixture of succulent duck confit, sautéed leeks and ricotta cheese. Bratwurst and hot sausage are served in sandwich form alongside a pile of freshly fried dill chips. Pecan-smoked brisket is sliced thick and piled high on ciabatta slathered with roasted red pepper aioli. Side dishes include onion rings, roasted root vegetables, and “pan fried” mac ‘n’ cheese made with thin, flat noodles and melted muenster.
The dining environment is as eclectic as the menu. None of the silver and glassware match (we hear that Bell and Baron are avid attendees of garage sales) and the walls are covered with featured works from local artists. There may be a few bottles of wine behind the bar, but there is always NOLA Blonde on tap. What else would you drink with pizza and sausage other than beer?
4400 Banks Street. 482-2426. Wed-Sat 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 6-10:30 p.m., Sun-Mon 6-9:30 p.m.