Tomato and Basil Soup
Il Posto Café
4607 Dryades St., (504) 895-2620; ilpostocafe-nola.com
The summer season for tomatoes is long gone, but the flavor cravings are not forgotten. At Il Posto, a low-key Italian-style café tucked away Uptown, the house tomato and basil soup ($5.95) tastes precisely like those two promised ingredients. There’s the tart, roasted flavor of the tomato, a bouquet of fresh basil and not much else. It is a substantial soup that’s smooth without being creamy or heavy. A hunk of gorgeous ciabatta, with a rigid, floured crust and airy chambers in its crumb, makes this a light meal. The bread might also double as a utensil to mop the soup bowl clean.
DB House Filet
Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse
716 Iberville St., (504) 522-2467 dickiebrennanssteakhouse.com
American steakhouses are not known for restraint, but even by the standards of the genre the DB House Filet ($42) is decadent. It’s the dish to order when you don’t want to deny yourself anything, going beyond the surf and turf concept with a host of other flavors on the plate. It starts with a 6-oz. filet and adds fried oysters. These are set over creamed spinach, topped with Pontalba potatoes (cubed and cooked with garlic and tasso like Creole home fries) and then finished with a rich Béarnaise. Steak purists might prefer a straightforward cut with their side dishes actually on the side, but for a dish that brings the house this is the one to try.
Katie’s Restaurant & Bar
3701 Iberville St., (504) 488-6582; katiesinmidcity.com
The Legend ($14.95) is an unlikely sandwich that took shape after Katie’s proprietor Scot Craig visited a local festival last spring. He showed up late in the day, and some food vendors were running low on supplies. He found a bit of cochon de lait at one booth run by a friend, and some BBQ shrimp at another. On a whim he combined the two, and this mash-up has since morphed into a staple at his Mid-City restaurant. A po-boy loaf is hollowed out, but not sliced, and acts like a wrapper for a generous amount of gravy-laden shredded pork studded with peppery sautéed shrimp. Salty, buttery and succulent to the point of being messy (it’s served with a steak knife) this is one sandwich that’s hard to pick up but easy to pick out of a lineup.