New Orleans is a truly magical city. I’m not talking about the way of life or culture (that’s a whole other
post book), but the city itself. Nothing makes this clearer than turning down a random alley and finding a fantastic restaurant tucked away in an often overlooked alleyway. The Green Goddess (307 Exchange Place, 504.301.3347) is one such place, easily missed if you aren’t seeking it out.
The Green Goddess is nestled in Exchange Place, a tiny pedestrian alley found well off the beaten French Quarter paths. However, the location suits the Green Goddess perfectly, as just about everything about it is off the beaten path. From the funky tables to the incredibly imaginative dishes and unique beverages, nothing is “normal.” This offbeat restaurant is the brain child of two critically acclaimed chefs, Chris DeBarr and Paul Antigues.
The lunch menu gives the best of both lunch and brunch: breakfast, salads, sandwiches and plate lunches. Most dishes are slanted towards the healthy side and every dish I’ve had so far has been light, but filling. Toward this end the Green Goddess boasts a significant number of vegetarian dishes.
In addition to being health conscious, the folks at the Green Goddess are socially conscious. This shows itself most noticeably in the “Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund Special,” with $1 from each serving helping the Louisiana fishing community recovery efforts through the Greater New Orleans Foundation. The Special consists of two crawfish cakes topped with wasabi caviar and a sweet pepper sauce, a must have. Of course, it would have been irresponsible for me not to get it!
I coupled the Special with a Black Art, just one of many unusual suspects from the drink list. A dark brown beer that is unexpectedly light and refreshing, but full flavored. Much like the Green Goddess herself.
However, if you want something with a little less kick, but still refreshing, check out the GuS (Grown Up Sodas), fruity and lightly carbonated beverages that are sure to please.
If you can’t make it for lunch, dinner is also an option on some days. A look at the dinner menu promises more delicious and creative dishes.
In all, a trip to the Green Goddess is a welcome walk off the beaten path, a trip out of the norm. Of course, given the excellent and creative dishes, Exchange Place just may become the French Quarter’s next great thoroughfare.
This post first appeared on GoNOLA on June 25, 2010.