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New Orleans "Mystery" Restaurant from the 1970's


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New Orleans "Mystery" Restaurant from the 1970's

Bill Hunt | Jun 25, 2006 03:54 PM

This is not a question about “food,” however it is about a restaurant. It is also pre-Katrina – VERY pre-Katrina, so it’s for older Chowhounds. I live in NO from 1968 - 1979, and this restaurant was open during much of that time. There *was* a restaurant on one of the cross (from St Charles) streets, not too far from the River, i.e. above Tchoupitoulas, below St Charles. My memory tells me it was on Louisiana, but could have been Jackson or Napoleon. It was in one of the nicer, older homes on the Downtown side of the street – two story with a small porch on the river-side of the place. As I recall it had an eponymous name, i.e. something like “Martin’s,” which sticks in my mind, but even older NO telephone directories only list Martin’s in Gentilly, so I’m in doubt, as to whether that name was part of it. In my memory, it was rather like Brigtsen’s in general layout. The food was New Orleans with a French flair and concentration on seafood. Some concentration was on lobster dishes with different French-inspired sauces. Their lobster thermidor was great and served in a white ramekin, the cheese sizzling when served. In the 70's, it was upper-moderate in price. IIRC, the ownership was a husband and wife, and the husband was the host. I do not recall if the wife was in the kitchen, or perhaps elsewhere in the establishment. This was before the chef-driven restaurants became so popular, so I do not have a clue as to who the chef was. When this restaurant was active, the neighborhood was nice enough, that I parked my XKE convertible on the street, within a block, and didn’t think a thing about it. I recall walking 2-3 blocks, sometimes, and never felt threatened by the locale.

On many trips back to NO, I’ve driven up and down every likely street, parked and walked the neighborhoods from the River to at least Prytania, but have not seen any likely candidate for its location. I’ve poured through telephone directories of the period at the library, and have asked all my “foodie” friends, old enough to possibly remember this place – all to no avail.

Is there anyone with a recollection of a possible name? Maybe, someone whose parents, or grandparents, mentioned a similar restaurant? I’m open for any thoughts or recollections. This place was the site of several “special-occasion” dinners, i.e. birthdays, anniversaries for my wife and me. She hasn’t been much help in my search, and she’s a native of the city. Please tell me that I have not dreamed this romantic place up!


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