Maybe the Bywater section is finally fufilling its promise of the last couple of decades, of becoming what the Quarter was like before the invasion of T-shirt shops and all of the bed & breakfasts, when the whole point of the Quarter was that it was a lived-in neighborhood.
And Bywater is getting some good eating places. One new establishment is The Aquarians, so called because the owners/operators share that sign. It's on the corner of Franklin and Royal, and is unusual for NO--its a second story restaurant, above a comfortable neighborhood bar.
The restaurant is lovely, very French bistro crossed with NO boho-funky. The balcony overlooks a charming Bywater neighborhood.
But okay, the food: bad news first: 1) the menu is by no means large, but I can live with that--better to do a few dishes well. But the restaurant is still pretty new--just four months old--and they're often running out of items. With a small menu, this can be problematical. and 2) since the staff is limited at this time, the service can be slow. But they're in the process of correcting that.
Now the good: these people can cook. Of my group, several had the rosemary chicken in a red sauce, and the red sauce is not only as good as mine, it tastes almost exactly like mine. It's not as good as my mothers, but what self-respecting New Awlins boy is going to admit anybody can cook like his mother? And the price--$10.00, including salad & a side of garlic potatoes, was a bargain. A NY strip steak that one of my companions had was likewise well rceived, and our appetizer of crab cakes was splendid. The salad dressings were very fine--my roquefort had just the right sharp touch.
This restaurant has a future. Check it out now, of maybe better yet, in a month or so.
Right nearby is Schiro's, at St. Roch and Royal. This is, in no particular order: a bar, a package liquor store, a restaurant, a sandwich shop, a corner grocery, and a laundromat. The sort of place that's ust at home in this slightly throwed-off city. Their restaurant has a fairly extensive menu, and looks good--I'll update when our group tries the place. Also to be tried is the Bywater Bar B Que, of whose sauce I've heard good things.
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