Could any Beautiful Restaurant overflowing with Beautiful People possibly have a serious kitchen? Don’t let the filigreed wrought-iron light fixtures, the gleaming inlaid wood tables, the soaring arched windows, the wall of flickering candles, the crush of posturing singles in the underlit bar—or the fact that its sister restaurant is the meet market Peso’s next door—divert your focus from Toulouse Petit’s menu, a startlingly complete survey of the French Quarter faves we hardly ever see in this town. It’s intelligent, flavor-forward fare—endive salad with chervil and tarragon and smoked trout, fat Louisiana shrimp and grits lit with cayenne and plenty of garlic—with lots of fresh oysters, charcuterie, dizzying libations, even a long list of steaks. With legions of staff and diners and all-day open hours, it could be argued the place is taking on too much. Shhh—don’t tell ’em.
Photo courtesy Toulouse Petit Kitchen and Lounge / Lara Ferroni