Elite Street Eats--Brussards Restaurant in New Orleans

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Flame at Broussard’s Restaurant in New Orleans
Since 1920, Broussard's has been considered one of the Grand Dames of New Orleans restaurants. Our server, Adam Martinez, told us a little about Broussard's history.  The restaurant began with Joseph Broussard and his wife, Rosalie Borrello. The owner of Antoine's was a friend and brought Joseph with him to Paris one summer where the young chef got his classical training. When he returned home and married Rosalie, his father-in-law gifted them with the Borrello family mansion on Conti Street. This allowed Joseph to have his longtime dream, a restaurant of his own. His combination of classic French dishes with his own Louisiana Creole style guaranteed him success.


The place was huge encompassing almost the entire block. It now includes parts of what was once Jefferson Academy, a exclusive preparatory school in the 1800's and the historic Hermann-Grima house.

Joseph and Rosalie Brussard portraits at Broussard’s Restaurant in New Orleans
Joseph and Rosalie Brussard

 Joseph and his wife opened the restaurant downstairs and lived upstairs. The restaurant is still in that same location.  They ran it until 1966. The next owner was Carlos Marcello, native Louisianans knew him as the Godfather. Carlos Marcello kept it into the 1970s and then sold to Evelyn and Gunther Preuss, a German family who owned it until 2013. The present owners are three Ammari brothers who grew up in St. Bernard Parish and are carrying Joe Broussard's tradition on into the future.

Napoleon stature at Broussard’s Restaurant in New Orleans Waiter creating Bananas Foster at Broussard’s Restaurant in New Orleans
Napoleon stature Adam creating Bananas Foster

Part of the Broussard tradition was Joseph's admiration of Emperor Napoleon. Wherever you look in Broussard's you will see the Bee which was Napoleon's personal emblem. Interesting side story relates to a book I read as a youngster about Napoleon. It seems wwhen Napoleon took over the Royal Palace at Tuileries he was holding all his money for military use. However, the draperies hanging in the windows bore the emblem of the King Louis, the fleur-de-lisl. Napoleon's solution was to flip them upside down representing "overturned monarchy" It was then he noticed the fleur-de-lisl resembled a bee, which he adopted as his own emblem.

Tomato Basil soup at Broussard’s Restaurant in New Orleans Man holding Satsuma Advacado Salad at Broussard’s Restaurant in New Orleans
Tomato Basil Soup and Satsuma Avocado Salad

Perhaps because of the letter B in his name as well as his hero worship, Joseph adopted the bee as his emblem.  He carried things to the extreme that whenever anyone ordered a Brandy Napoleon, lights were dimmed, a bell was rung and staff gathered by a stature of Napoleon to sing Marseilles. You will still find the stature of the Little Emperor there but the singing and bell ringing has ceased.

The night we dined at Broussard's, we dined in the Napoleon Room however, there are other majestic areas. The side dining room is the Josephine Room and the bar is the Empire Bar. There is alos a true French Quarter style courtyard.

Pork Loin chop at Broussard’s Restaurant in New Orleans New Orleans Barbequed Shrimp at Broussard’s Restaurant in New Orleans
Herb Encrusted Pork Loin Chop and New Orleans Barbequed Shrimp

Chef Neil Swidler is the Executive Chef here and he knows his stuff. He ought to. He had worked in some of the finest restaurants anywhere, Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico and NOLA Restaurant among others. /p>

Dinner at Broussard's was a memorable occasion. The appetizer I sampled was the New Orleans Barbequed Shrimp topped with a touch of Anson Mills grits and coated in Tomato jam garnished with a few candied pecans. Tiny but yummy. I opted for the Soup de Jour, a rich Tomato Basil Soup and passed on the salad. One of the group did have a appealing looking Satsuma Avocado Salad but I was saving room for my entree, Herb Encrusted Pork Loin Chop. It was topped with a tangy apricot glaze and served with three cheese scalloped potatoes and smothered greens. Naturally we all split some Bananas Foster. Just watching Adam create that dessert was a show in itself. If you have never watched a very talented waiter prepare this traditional New Orleans dessert tableside you are missing something important.p>

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