Digging In: Cochon cures the common charcuterie plate

WILD CARD

Cured Fish Plate

Cochon

930 Tchoupitoulas St.,

(504) 588-2123 cochonrestaurant.com

Cochon chef/partner Stephen Stryjewski said this dish began with a riff on pickled herring in sour cream. That was a staple his dad kept around the house in his youth, but instead of herring the chef decided to pickle local catfish and dress it with crème fraîche. It’s a mainstay on a multi-part plate that sees a changeable cast of other cured fish. Recently, that included tuna poached in bacon fat, thin slices of swordfish prepared like lox and a ramekin of mullet dip, which was essentially smoked fish, butter and herbs to spread over burly oat crackers. Scattered with pickled onions and capers, it makes for an offbeat tasting plate that also shares the spirit of the boucherie and charcuterie for which Cochon is better known.

UPSCALE

Steak Tandoori

Chateau du Lac

2037 Metairie Rd, Metairie

(504) 831-3773 chateaudulacbistro.com

Steak frites - a hearty order of meat and potatoes -- is so common at upscale restaurants courting the lunch crowd it might as well be called the businessman’s cut. In Old Metairie, Chateau du Lac has a significantly lighter alternative on its menu that proves just as satisfying, if not more so in its own way. The tandoori steak ($14) is a modest cut of grilled filet, rubbed with a blend of Indian seasonings (coriander, peppercorns, cumin, paprika) and sliced over mixed greens, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. The greens have a tangy, thin blue cheese dressing, lightly applied, while the rosy-centered steak sliced over it is vividly aromatic.

CASUAL

MVB Burger

Liberty’s Kitchen

422 S. Broad St., (504) 822-4011 libertyskitchen.org

MVB was one of the first pop-ups to make a splash in New Orleans, transforming Slim Goodies Diner into a wildly popular burger joint on Sunday evenings. The concept ended in 2011, but its signature MVB burger ($9.95) lives on at Liberty’s Kitchen, a nonprofit café in Mid-City that doubles as a job and life skills training program for local youth. Chef Hardie McDonald was a partner in the MVB pop-up, and his café crew prepares the burger the same way today. It’s a straightforward burger, with a six-ounce patty that blends chuck and brisket and proves especially juicy. Served on a potato bun and paired with a side of hand-cut fries, it’s a lunch with pedigree and a purpose.