Over the past decade, the Oak Street corridor has evolved into one of the city’s most vibrant food and beverage scenes. Just over a year ago, DTB (acronym for Down the Bayou) opened its doors and added a refined dining option to the upscale watering holes Oak and Ale just down the block. Chef de Cuisine Jacob Hammel and Chef/Owner Carl Schaubhut, a native of River Ridge whose career began on the four square courts of Christian Brothers School and continued through a stint as sous chef at Commander’s Palace and as executive chef at Café Adelaide, created a menu of dishes rooted in local history but reinvented for modern tastes.
“T-Plates” are a dozen or so sharable options designed to evoke the communal and convivial spirit of coastal Cajun cuisine. The charbroiled oyster gratin is irresistible with plump smoked oysters bobbing under a parmesan béchamel topped with vibrant gremolata. Mushroom boudin balls possess a smoky flavor reminiscent of top-notch barbecue (quite a feat for a vegetarian dish), while cauliflower rillettes display the unctuousness of head cheese without the pork. A salad of roasted beets, local navel oranges and goat cheese once again proves that such a triumvirate never ceases to delight (especially with the added crunch of barbecued pecans). The Southern staple of ground corn is transformed into tender gnocchi with surprising elasticity, paired with hot sausage and swiped through ham hock marmalade.
In the entrée category (otherwise known as “Beaucoup Plates”), the best choice is the seared red snapper with a layer of crisp skin protecting the moist flesh—a dish so expertly executed that it will serve as a reminder of the timeless deliciousness of a simply prepared filet of fresh fish. The 48-hour short rib in a pool of fermented pepper jelly jus is full of flavor but not as tender as one might expect. A nod to local Vietnamese influence is found in the rice bowl loaded with crawfish, shrimp and pork belly, but a heavy hand of salt mired the individual flavors.
The bright and modern dining room creates the perfect setting for large groups. Especially during weekend brunch, when the crispy oyster croque madame and the brisket debris benedict are not to be missed. Venerable cocktail queen Lu Brow is in charge of the beverage program, and her best work is found in the Silver Dollar—a refreshing mixture of tequila, watermelon juice, ginger and lime. The drink may not have been born on the bayou, but its flavor is pure Louisiana.
8201 Oak Street, Suite 1; Brunch Fri– Sun 10:30a–2:30p, Dinner Sun–Thur 5p–10p, Fri-Sat 5p–11p; (504) 518-6889; dtbnola.com