In the Big Easy, brunch is about more than just washing down last night’s (poor) decisions.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler
Tell us about your first impressions when you arrived.
There's a distinct old-school-dinner-party vibe in the 19th-century Uptown mansion that houses Cavan. With high ceilings, gleaming chandeliers, and scarlet banquettes, the restaurant feels like a callback from another era. Indeed, the designers have purposely left some of the peeling walls as is, adding another layer of throwback charm.
What was the crowd like?
It’s a young, enthused bunch that's found its way to this corner of Uptown, and the noise levels rise as it collectively polishes off wine and cocktails. Many are here for the cocktail menu as much as the food.
What should we be drinking?
The cocktail program is broad, with everything from complex infusions and off-kilter riffs to a solid list of classics. (The aviation and the sazerac are particular winners.) Beers come from all corners of the country with a couple of French numbers thrown in for good measure. Around 15 by-the-glass wines serve as an introduction to the full list, which leans heavily on Old World wines from Italy, France, and Spain.
Main event: the food. Give us the lowdown—especially what not to miss.
Coastal and rustic influences mingle on the menu, with some curious items like the nouc cham-topped avocado toast and a patty melt finished with a fermented chili butter. As for the mains, even those that look reassuringly familiar are different (and better) than you'd expect: The shrimp & grits is spiked with Calabrian chili oil and the grilled cheese highlights a holy trinity of Camembert, aged cheddar, and honey-goat cheese.
And how did the front-of-house folks treat you?
The staff are well-marshaled and professionally tow the line of being attentive without being intrusive.
What’s the real-real on why we’re coming here? Meat lovers will definitely find plenty of options to explore and fans of simple dishes won’t be intimidated. The dining rooms themselves are reason enough to try the place, even if it’s just popping in for a cocktail at the bar.