Table Talk

New Orleans Icon Celebrates 100

By Deborah Burst  |  Photography courtesy of Broussard’s Restaurant

Whether planning a romantic interlude or a grand celebration, lean on a century-old New Orleans legend, Broussard’s Restaurant.

Step inside a fairytale, a city filled with chic chateaus and gallant guards, where dreams may come true, and every meal is a cause for celebration. Dining is so grand in New Orleans, statesmen and celebrities travel from across the globe to enjoy one of America’s epicurean delights.

Perhaps one of the most challenging tasks in enjoying New Orleans cuisine is narrowing down the restaurant. Be it an intimate table or a regal room filled with family, Broussard’s Restaurant offers a splendid menu, attentive staff, and elegant décor.

Broussard’s opened in 1920 on Conti Street in the city’s historic French Quarter, an endeavor that began when Joseph Broussard, a Cajun born two hours west of New Orleans, moved to the city to seek his fame and fortune and married Rosalie Borrello. The newlyweds moved into Rosalie’s childhood home, known as the Borrello Mansion, a wedding gift from the bride’s parents. The couple lived on the second story while Broussard worked downstairs building a five-star restaurant combining local Creole cuisine with classic French dishes inspired by his formal Parisian culinary training.

Today the Anmari family and Executive Chef Jimi Setchim continue the tradition of a French Creole menu inside 819 Conti Street.

In addition to its opulent architecture, New Orleans gains high marks in romance rankings — and Broussard’s is no exception. Be it proposals, weddings, or honeymoons, the city has garnered many titles, including CNN crowning it the “Most Romantic City in America.”   

No matter the size of a wedding party, Broussard’s has it all, and the reviews echo the same sentiments. Five stars across many wedding websites with repeated accolades highlighting Broussard’s food, décor, wedding planning, and what many call, “a classic New Orleans experience.”

Many couples choose Broussard’s because of the restaurant’s attention to detail. Their wedding specialists help with rehearsals, receptions, — even the proposal. Broussard’s has been known to help hide the ring, prepare that special dish, and pop the champagne.

Wedding parties may choose from the elegant designs of the Napoleon Room, decorated in the Empire Style with French doors opening to the courtyard; the Magnolia Room accented by sinker cypress walls and beams; and the rustic French Provencal-style Josephine Room, once part of the Hermann-Grima complex that’s now one of the city’s historic house museums. Couples may prefer to dance the night away in the courtyard draped with the oldest wisteria vine in the Vieux Carré or enjoy the romantic ambiance of candles and flower arrangements under a translucent dome.

Many times, the happy couple and guests leave the church ceremony to make their way to Broussard’s in what’s called a New Orleans Second Line parade. They dance to the beat of a jazz band marching down French Quarter streets holding umbrellas in one hand and sometimes drinks in the other. The wedding photos are extra special with backdrops of ancient brick walls, banana leaves, and kumquat trees.

Weddings aside, Broussard’s offers year-round celebrations and special events, and this year marks the restaurant’s centennial anniversary. Setchim is marking this milestone with five seasonal, prix-fixe menus honoring key ingredients that remain integral to the culinary heritage of New Orleans. He sought inspiration inside old cookbooks with recipes that focused on coffee, spices, rice, pecans, and citrus.

“I immediately saw a trend, and I wanted to highlight these five important ingredients,” says Setchim, adding they have been a staple on Broussard’s menu, along with being part of the history and culinary landscape of New Orleans. “I am excited to give each ingredient its own special menu with a bit of history to go along with it.”

Every three months in 2020, the menu changes. This month, Setchim highlights the spices of New Orleans with entrées such as spiced smothered pork chops and black forest cake with cayenne and dark chocolate ganache. Next up is rice, an eternal staple in both Cajun and Creole iconic dishes. Creole favorites on the July, August, and September menu feature Gulf shrimp étouffée with Louisiana long grain rice. For dessert, Creole rice calas with roasted strawberry ice cream and cane syrup finish the meal.

Pecan trees are another staple of Louisiana, a harbinger of cooler weather and delightful treats. The sweet, crunchy nut plays a starring role in the October and November menu featuring beet tartare with pecan-crusted goat cheese and braised lamb shank with Louisiana pecan and fig demi-glace.

Citrus trees grow everywhere in Louisiana, and will be a prominent ingredient in many of the restaurant’s December dishes. Citrus will play a part in beverages and the traditional holiday Réveillon menu as well.

Broussard’s wedding planners are busy booking appointments for next year’s bridal season. Pay them a visit for a taste testing, a romantic getaway, or toasting one of life’s special moments.

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