Elizabeth’s Restaurant is off the tourist’s beaten path in the Bywater neighborhood of The Big Easy. I can thank a dear friend who used to live close to New Orleans for telling me about this place, as it is hands down my favorite place to eat in this city. Ever since I heard about it, my better half and I have eaten there on every trip we make down there.
We had actually only been to Elizabeth’s for supper until this most recent trip, and boy does Sunday brunch give Friday night supper a run for the money! I was not sure it could get any better than fall-off-the-bone pork belly, banana-enhanced sweet potato casserole, and praline bacon, but IT DOES!
After a “50 minute wait,” which was actually the quickest hour-and-fifteen-minute wait I’d ever experienced, thanks to great company and a righteous Bloody Mary, we were seated upstairs in the minimally decorated, light-filled dining room adjacent to the bar where we’d perched while waiting. The most color you’ll see in this neighborhood restaurant, which finds home in an old building on a corner with houses on either side, is in the vibrant old-school vinyl tablecloths covering each four-top. I don’t know about you, but when a restaurant is successful, and it has very little to do with looks, that tells me the food is something really special!
The brunch menu had almost too many great sounding choices. Smoked Salmon and Brie Grilled Cheese, Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast, Waffle with Sweet Potato and Duck Hash, and Chorizo Burrito to name a few… Where to even begin?!
Amongst our group of four, we had one Duck Waffle, one Stuffed French Toast, one Chorizo Burrito, and plate of a la carte items like Cheese Grits, ham, a biscuit, eggs… But before all that made way to the table, we enjoyed a couple of appetizers: Fried Boudin Balls with Creole Mustard Sauce and Praline Bacon. The Boudin Balls were as Cajun as they come, and right tasty! You can rarely go wrong with a ball that’s fried crispy on the outside and soft as room-temp butter (which I’m sure it was loaded with) on the inside!
Let’s take a minute to talk about the Praline Bacon. This, my friends, is what made Elizabeth’s Restaurant famous. One order of Praline Bacon gets you four not-too-crispy, not-too-soggy strips of bacon decorated with brown sugar and finely chopped pecans. Let’s ignore the fact that it looks as unhealthy as anything we’ve ever seen as it glistens in a shallow film of bacon fat. No, that’s not important. What is important is that you try this sometime before you die. This Praline Bacon alone is worth a trip to New Orleans (Elizabeth’s Restaurant, specifically), as it embodies a distinct essence of the city in which it was born.
The “Big” Food Arrives
I was the proud orderer of the Chorizo Burrito. This lovely (and large!) burrito was topped with sour cream and pico de gallo as it hit the table in front of me. The face of this dish quickly changed as I hurriedly took my first bite! Inside this breakfast roll was Chorizo (a spicy sausage), egg, black beans, and cheese. The spicy sausage, the cool sour cream, fresh pico, the egg and beans – which seemed to ground the dish – made each bite magnificent. I honestly couldn’t say anything but WOW after each chew.
I was fortunate enough to get a taste of the Duck Waffle and the Stuffed French Toast, both of which were outstanding. The French Toast, which was layered with strawberry cream cheese, was so satisfying that it didn’t even need any syrup!
The Duck Waffle was actually a Cornbread Waffle topped with Sweet Potato and Duck Hash. This tasted just as interesting as it sounds, but it was absolutely fantastic. Heavy, but fantastic. My fellow diner actually finished this entire waffle leaving our waitress flabbergasted. She told us that in all her years at Elizabeth’s, she’d never seen any one person eat the entire Duck Waffle. My companion walked away with a bag full of bragging rights that day…
The reports from our a la carte orderer were glowing, as I imagined they would be.
FOOD: The food at Elizabeth’s is outstanding. Their slogan is “Real Food Done Real Good” and that’s exactly what they do. Chef Byron Peck makes everything from scratch in the Elizabeth’s kitchen and does a fine job of such.
SERVICE: Once we were seated, our server was great. She had a very laid back sense about her, from her style of service to her attire. We really liked her. The time we spent at Elizabeth’s probably totaled 2.5 hours, so if you’re eating in a hurry, you may consider trying another local restaurant.
ATMOSPHERE: Don’t let the drive to Elizabeth’s scare you off, particularly if you’re going after dark. Depending on which route you take, the ride could be a little uncomfortable. But once you walk in to the restaurant, you realize you’re right at home, surrounded by friendly faces. The minimal decorations are all very New Orleansy, and the downstairs is a bit dark, but it’s a very comfortable place to just relax and spend a little time.
601 Gallier St
New Orleans, LA 70117