By Lolis Eric Elie
Desautel's and Desautel's on the Avenue are very different restaurants.
As Janette Desautel (Kim Dickens) would be quick to tell you, both feature seasonal, local ingredients, the buzz words of contemporary fine dining restaurants. But, as befitting its location on St. Charles Avenue, the fanciest street in New Orleans, Desautel's on the Avenue is more polished and more formal than its predecessor. Both might serve rentier de cochon, the Cajun pork backbone stew, but it's unlikely that Janette's first restaurant would have served it tableside by waiters using the two-spoon method as she does on the Avenue. (Incidentally, that's a dish our writer, Anthony Bourdain discovered filming in Louisiana for his show, 'No Reservations'. You might even see a couple of familiar faces from the 'Treme' family in that episode.)
The Asian influence is obvious on the new menu. If you'd spent the better part of a year cooking at the church of David Chang, your cooking would develop an Asian accent too. A lot of the recipes from both these menus will appear in the forthcoming 'Treme Cookbook: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans.'
Here are Janette's two menus, so you can keep up with what everyone is eating.
DESAUTEL'S DESAUTEL'S ON THE AVENUE