Desire Oyster Bar is Must-Visit on Any New Orleans Trip
PHOTO: The Desire Oyster Bar at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans. (Courtesy Royal Sonesta via Raftermen Photography & designONE studio)
People travel to New Orleans for a host of reasons – fantastic music offering from jazz to blues to rock, a deeply rooted culture and history, the storied architecture that is a hallmark of the French Quarter, more festivals than you can shake a stick at, celebrating everything from strawberries to New Orleans' own version of the Running of the Bulls, and of course, the city’s laid-back, anything goes atmosphere.
No matter the reason, the one thing everyone can agree on is that dining in New Orleans is a wonderful part of any visit – and for some, the primary reason for visiting. It's that good.
And one of the places they head to is the Desire Oyster Bar, an historic oyster bar attached to the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon, which has just re-opened after a major renovation.
New Orleans cuisine is unrivaled and pays homage to its rich history, incorporating traditional flavors and cooking styles from Africa, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, as well as that of local cultures including the indigenous Native Americans, and later the Creoles and Cajuns.
Today, New Orleans' restaurant scene rivals that of any other major U.S. or European city and there are plenty who would say, surpasses it. Not surprisingly, New Orleans' proximity to the coast means that fresh seafood–from broiled redfish to char-grilled oysters– is on almost every menu. And perhaps there’s no better place to savor the flavors than in the restaurants and cafes that fill the French Quarter.
The new design of Desire Oyster Bar maintains the restaurant’s historic features such as its original tin ceiling and black-and-white tile floors so common in New Orleans’ iconic eateries, while incorporating modern design elements inspired by the style typical of the Vieux Carre. Decorative iron grillwork, oversized windows and an antique mirror serve as the backdrop to the new Desire bar. Other new touches include highboy tables and a state-of-the-art chargrill station (it is an oyster bar, after all!)
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In addition to the famous Creole trio – jambalaya, red beans and rice and gumbo – new menu selections have been added. Under Executive Chef Corey Jacobs, Desire Oyster Bar's updated menu features such classics as Desire’s Shrimp & Grits, BBQ Shrimp, award-winning gumbo and a wide variety of Po’ boys. New menu selections include Crawfish and Fried Green Tomato Benedict with Crawfish Hollandaise for breakfast, a Crawfish Cheesecake with Red Pepper Aioli for an anytime appetizer, Blackened Catfish Lafitte as a ‘Fresh Catch’ entrée for lunch or dinner, and more.
The show "Flip My Food," a nationally syndicated show in which the host Chef Jeff Henderson seeks out regional food specialties and then "flips" them by making them healthier, recently made a visit to the newly reopened restaurant. There, Chef Jacobs gave Henderson a rundown on the basics of Creole cooking and tips on making the bar's signature cocktail.
Desire Oyster Bar is now open daily for breakfast, 6:30 to 11:00 a.m., and for lunch/dinner, 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m.
More by Kristina Rundquist
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