The Tchoupitoulas Room is located along the street of the same name with views of the historic area through the original wood sash windows. This room accommodates up to 50 guests for seated meals and up to 65 guests for receptions.
The Higgins Room is Calcasieu's largest room boasting an open floor plan with access to the main bar. This space is ideal for formal seated meals as well as cocktail reception for up to 100 guests.
The Higgins Room and Tchoupitoulas Room combined offer an extensive dining area to accommodates up to 150 guests for a seated meal and up to 200 guests for receptions. This space also allows for combining cocktail receptions with sit-down dinner, or business presentations followed by formal meals.
The Wine Room offers the most private dining experience, accented with hand-crafted, cherry wood furnishing by a local artist and carpenter. The space accommodates up to 20 people for a seated meal or up to 25 for a small cocktail reception.
The Mezzanine at Cochon restaurant accommodates semi-private gatherings. The lofted space offers room for up to 30 guests for a seated dinner and accommodates up to 40 guests for a reception.
CHEF/PARTNER, LINK RESTAURANT GROUP: COCHON, COCHON BUTCHER, CALCASIEU, PÊCHE SEAFOOD GRILL, GIANNA & LA BOULANGERIE
Winner of the 2011 James Beard Foundation “Best Chef South,” Stephen Stryjewski is Chef/Partner of New Orleans’ award winning restaurants Cochon, Cochon Butcher, Pêche Seafood Grill, Calcasieu, a private event facility, La Boulangerie, a neighborhood bakery and café, as well as Gianna, Link Restaurant Group's latest addition to the family. Stephen has been honored as “Best New Chef” by New Orleans Magazine, and as a “Chef to Watch” by The Times-Picayune. In 2007 Cochon was named a “Best New Restaurant” finalist by the James Beard Foundation, and in 2014, Pêche Seafood Grill won the James Beard Foundation award in the same category. Cochon has been recognized in the New York Times by Frank Bruni, “Coast to Coast, Restaurants that Count;” and Sam Sifton, “Dishes that Earned their Stars,” and has been consistently listed as a Top Ten New Orleans Restaurant in The Times-Picayune Dining Guide and was recently named one of the 20 most important restaurants in America by Bon Appétit.
In 2015, Stryjewski and his business partner Chef Donald Link created the Link Stryjewski Foundation to address the persistent cycle of violence and poverty, as well as the lack of quality education and job training opportunities available to young people in New Orleans. http://www.linkstryjewski.org
In 1997, Stryjewski graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and went on to work for some of the most notable chefs and restaurants in America including Michael Chiarello at TraVigne, Jamie Shannon at Commanders Palace, and Jeff Buben at Vidalia. Stryjewski grew up moving frequently as an “Army brat” and has traveled extensively in the United States and Europe. He resides in New Orleans’ Irish Channel with his wife and two daughters.
EXECUTIVE CHEF AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER LINK RESTAURANT GROUP: HERBSAINT, COCHON, COCHON BUTCHER, CALCASIEU, PÊCHE SEAFOOD GRILL, GIANNA AND LA BOULANGERIE
Inspired by the Cajun and Southern cooking of his grandparents, Louisiana native Chef Donald Link began his professional cooking career at 15 years old. Recognized as one of New Orleans’ preeminent chefs, Chef Link has peppered the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans with several restaurants over the course of the past fifteen years. Herbsaint, a contemporary take on the French-American “bistro” was Link’s first restaurant. Cochon, opened with chef-partner Stephen Stryjewski, is where Link offers true Cajun and Southern cooking featuring the foods and cooking techniques he grew up preparing and eating. Cochon Butcher is a tribute to Old World butcher and charcuterie shops which also serves a bar menu, sandwiches, wine and creative cocktails. Calcasieu is Chef Link’s private event facility that takes its name from one of the parishes in the Acadiana region of southwest Louisiana. Pêche Seafood Grill serves simply prepared coastal seafood with a unique, modern approach to old world cooking methods featuring rustic dishes prepared on an open hearth over hardwood coals. Enjoy handcrafted pastries and breads at La Boulangerie Link’s neighborhood bakery and café. The latest addition to the family is Gianna, an Italian restaurant joining the group in April 2019.
Link’s flagship restaurant Herbsaint earned him a James Beard award in 2007 for Best Chef South. The same year Cochon was nominated for Best New Restaurant; Link was also nominated by the James Beard Foundation for the prestigious award of Outstanding Chef for multiple years. Pêche Seafood Grill was awarded Best New Restaurant at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards. Gourmet Magazine listed Herbsaint as one of the top 50 restaurants in America, and was inducted into the Nations Restaurant News Hall of Fame. Cochon was listed in The New York Times as "one of the top 3 restaurants that count” and recently named one of the 20 most important restaurants in America by Bon Appétit. For his commitment to the industry, the Louisiana Restaurant Association honored Link by naming him Restaurateur of the Year in 2012.
The James Beard Foundation also honored Link’s first cookbook-- Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana (Clarkson Potter) with their top award for Best American Cookbook. Released in 2009. Real Cajun is a collection of family recipes that Link has honed and perfected while honoring the authenticity of the Cajun people. In February 2014, Link celebrated the release of his second cookbook "Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything," (Clarkson-Potter), which looks beyond New Orleans and Louisiana at dishes in nearby states.
In 2015, Chefs Link and Stryjewski created the Link Stryjewski Foundation to address the persistent cycle of violence and poverty, as well as the lack of quality education and job training opportunities available to young people in New Orleans. http://www.linkstryjewski.org
Chef de Cuisine
Bret Macris grew up in Burbank, California and started cooking at the legendary Campanile Restaurant straight out of college. Under the guidance and mentorship of Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton, Bret attended Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena while still working full time at Campanile. He spent seven years there, with four as Chef de Cuisine, before moving to the Happy Gnome brew pub in St. Paul, Minnesota where he was a Tournant/Consultant. In 2009, Bret became the Executive Chef at Rosewater Restaurant in Brooklyn and in 2015 he opened Syndicated Bar Theater Kitchen in New York. Bret joined the Link Restaurant Group in January 2016 as Sous-Chef at Butcher and was promoted to Chef de Cuisine in 2018. Beginning of 2019 Macris became Cochon's Chef de Cuisine.
Matthew Ghabrial began his tenure in the service industry as a teenager, working in a New Jersey pizzeria. In 2003, he moved to New Orleans to attend Loyola University, where he graduated with a degree in Latin American Studies. Matthew worked in several restaurants and bars in New Orleans until joining up with Cochon in 2006, originally as a server and later a bartender. In the spring of 2013, Matthew left Cochon to help set up and run the bar at Link Restaurant Group’s Peche Seafood Grill. Shortly thereafter, he took the helm at Cochon Butcher as General Manager. In late 2018 Matthew returned to Cochon, accepting the position of General Manager at the Link Group restaurant he started out in.
EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF LINK RESTAURANT GROUP, CHEF/PARTNER LA BOULANGERIE
Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maggie Scales pursued her Undergraduate degree at the University of California, San Diego, majoring in Language Studies. After graduating, she relocated to Boston, Massachusetts to attend the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in the Professional Pastry Program, under Pastry Chef Delphin Gomes. While in school, she worked at Chef Bob Kinkaid’s Sibling Rivalry Restaurant and the Metropolitan Club under Chef Todd Weiner. After culinary school, Maggie worked as a Pastry Chef at Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse in Boston. In 2009, she received the opportunity to work with James Beard winner Lydia Shire at Scampo Restaurant at the Liberty Hotel. When Chef Shire opened Towne Stove + Spirits in 2010, Maggie, became the executive Pastry Chef of the 300-seat establishment. In June 2011, Maggie relocated to New Orleans and began working for the Omni Hotels in July. In 2013, Maggie joined Link Restaurant Group as a Pastry Chef. In summer 2014 Maggie accepted the position as Executive Pastry Chef overseeing all aspects of Link Restaurant Group’s pastry department. In 2015 Scales became Chef/Partner at La Boulangerie, a French bakery on Magazine Street in New Orleans.
Our passion to showcase the remarkable bounty of the Southern region is revealed through our commitment to developing long lasting relationships with the network of farmers we work with. Our Forager, Ashley Locklear, cultivates those relationships by working hand-in-hand with these growers to develop and procure the exact ingredients each chef wants to utilize when crafting their menus at our family of restaurants. Our recipes honor the simplicity of the food and we celebrate the ingredients that are incorporated into each dish.
Ashley spends her days visiting farmers, walking their fields seeing firsthand how things are growing. She’s scouring Louisiana’s farmlands for sublime raw ingredients and invests time working directly with farmers to grow specific varieties of produce that Chef Donald Link and his team of chefs would like to utilize in their kitchens. Her network of farmers spans a 250-mile radius of New Orleans, providing the freshest produce picked at its peak. She believes food it about flavor, just as much as freshness.
Please find here a listing of some of the farmers we are proud to work with on an ongoing basis.
Allen Bee Farms is small honey producer located in Plaquemine, Louisiana.
Cafe Hope Farm is located in Marrero, Louisiana, that specializes in herbs and has year round fruit and vegetable production.
Compostella is a certified organic vegetable farm specializing in salad greens located in Tickfaw, Louisiana. After apprenticing on organic farms in the Northwest, owners Madeline and Tim made their way down to New Orleans. Certified Organic since 2017, Compostella strives to minimize the inputs to their farm and to nurture the farm’s expressions as an individuality.
Covey Rise Farms began as a 10 acre farm which has grown into a 50 acre farm in central Tangipahoa Parish. Covey Rise Farms grows over 30 types of vegetables throughout the year with a retired LSU Agriculture Professor as their crop consultant.
Beginning as a demonstration garden, The Good Food Project has expanded to over 75 active school and community gardens that grow vegetables, fruit and herbs. The project teaches sustainable gardening, nutrition and healthy eating options, while providing fresh produce to participants and restaurants.
Incorporated in 1981, Indian Springs is a farmers cooperative with 31 active members located in Petal, Mississippi.
Inglewood Farm, ran by members of the Keller family, is an agricultural operation on Inglewood Plantation located in Alexandria, Louisiana. Since its founding in 1836, Inglewood has a story of transition from a large-scale commercial tenant operation to an all-encompassing sustainable family farm. Inglewood has year round production of fruit and vegetables, specializing in pecans, pork and chicken.
Isabelle’s Orange Orchard is a small, family-owned farm nestled on the old winding River Road in New Orleans. Isabelle’s orchard is fertilized by the rich Mississippi River alluvial soil and the only thing on her trees are sunshine, ladybugs, honeybees, and rain.
J&D Produce is a small farm that grows blueberries and is located in Poplarville, Mississippi.
Johndale Farm is a berry farm located in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, owned by Heather Robertson, who we have worked with for eight years. Heather primarily produce strawberries, as well as blueberries and blackberries, and is usually the first farm to bring berries to market.
Major Acre Farm is a small farm located in LaPlace, Louisiana run by Ellis Douglas. He left his life as a chef and headed for the farm after moving to New Mexico and being exposed to the variety of healthy produce that is available in a farm-centric community. Ellis uses sustainable and organic agriculture practices to cultivate his one-acre farm.
Old Market Lane Farm is an eight-acre farm located in Hammond, Louisiana, that we have been working with for eight years. Our restaurants utilize their leeks, blueberries, summer squash and any extra eggs Carolyn may have.
Peeps Farms is a poultry farm located in Carriere, Mississippi that specializes in yard eggs with love.
Perilloux Farm is a six-acre farm in St. Charles Parish owned by the friendly farmer, Timmy Perilloux, who we have been purchasing from for the last 10 years. The restaurants utilize Perilloux’s traditional Southern greens, up to four varieties of kale, tomatoes, peppers, corn, beets, and anything else Timmy is willing to grow for us.
Poche Family Farm is a small vegetable farm located in Independence, Louisiana that we have worked with for five years. The farm is a family venture run by Albert and Charise Poche along with their children Billie and Camille, that resulted out of a desire to eat well. While their produce is not certified organic, they focus on sustainable agriculture by using cover crops, organic pesticides and natural fertilizers wherever possible.
Two Dog Farm is a small family farm located in Flora, Mississippi. Owned and operated by Van and Dorothy Killen, Two Dog Farms specializes in seasonal field grown produce using sustainable and natural growing methods to ensure the healthiest produce available.
Veggi Farmers Cooperative is a group of local farmers and fisherfolk dedicated to providing the highest quality local produce and seafood to the Greater New Orleans area. VEGGI was established following the effects of the BP oil spill on the Vietnamese community and was developed to provide sustainable economic opportunities in urban agriculture.
LINK RESTAURANT GROUP JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION AWARD RECOGNITION
The James Beard Foundation Awards recognize outstanding achievement within the food and wine industry. Considered one of the most coveted marks of distinction within the culinary community, Link Restaurant Group partners are honored to have been recognized for their culinary achievements. Link’s flagship restaurant Herbsaint earned him a James Beard award in 2007 for Best Chef South. The same year Cochon was nominated for Best New Restaurant; The James Beard Foundation also honored Link’s first cookbook – Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana (Clarkson Potter) with their top award for Best American Cookbook. Link was also nominated by the James Beard Foundation for the prestigious award of Outstanding Chef in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Stephen Stryjewski, chef/partner of Cochon, Cochon Butcher and Pêche Seafood Grill was named Best Chef: South at the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards. In 2014 Pêche Seafood Grill was honored with two coveted James Beard Foundation Awards Best New Restaurant and Chef Ryan Prewitt Best Chef: South. In 2017, Chef de Cuisine Rebeca Wilcomb was named Best Chef: South for her stewardship of the Kitchen at Herbsaint.
TIMES PICAYUNE TOP 10 2018
BY BRETT ANDERSON
Chef Donald Link’s pivot from the European-New Orleans bistro food of Herbsaint (his first restaurant) to the rural cooking of his Cajun upbringing at Cochon (his second) turned out to be a watershed moment. Cochon opened in 2006, and in the fishbowl, post-Katrina years that followed, no local restaurant garnered more national respect (or had more influence) than the pork-centric Warehouse District canteen. With more eyes on New Orleans than ever before, Cochon’s embrace of rusticity — meat pies, fried livers, stewed ham hocks — helped usher in an era where our most skilled chefs, here and elsewhere, freed themselves to cook Southern cuisine unadorned by white tablecloth pretensions. The restaurant introduced a Beard winner in co-chef-partner Stephen Stryjewski, and the always-jammed sandwich shop Cochon Butcher. More relevant to your future dining plans, Cochon has improved over time, which isn’t to say changed. In executive chef Bill Jones’ hands, Cochon’s Cajun-Southern menu still has no weak spots — an important operational accomplishment in the wake of the popular restaurant’s capacity-doubling 2016 expansion. Rabbit and dumplings, a Cochon staple since Day 1, should cure what ails you as effectively as your mom’s chicken soup. Times Picayune Top 10 List: 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2018
BOUDIN WITHOUT BORDERS
BY JOHN T. EDGE
Link has traveled to Guadeloupe, a French department in the Lesser Antilles, to untangle the knotted roots and branches of Creole cuisine. Originally used by colonizers to refer to people born in the New World, the term Creole can also be applied to racial identity, language, architecture, and, yes, cooking. It’s often associated with New Orleans, where signal dishes such as gumbo z’herbes and oysters Rockefeller are commonly referred to as Creole. “It’s all Creole,” Link says of those red beans and that crème brûlée, if you open your mind to the complexities of history and global trade, and to the complicated fabric of cultures that have long interwoven in Louisiana and across the Caribbean rim. He’s unsure whether trekking to South America to eat boudin will reinforce or weaken his theories. But he knows he has to go. As a native of Louisiana, called to cook and speak for his place, Link wants to get this right.
THE 30 MOST INFLUENCIAL RESTAURANTS IN THE LAST 30 YEARS
By JEREMY REPANICH
When the French Acadians were bounced out of Canada by the British, they ventured down to Louisiana to make their new home. And although Donald Link’s family came to the area from Germany in the 1800s, they absorbed the cooking traditions of the region. When Donald eventually arrived on the scene, it was the food he grew up on. At Cochon, he’s taken that Cajun fare with its fried alligator, shrimp gumbo, catfish, and more and then elevated it.
8 OF THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN NEW ORLEANS
BY CARLY FISHER
Until Chef Paul Prudhomme elevated and popularized the cuisine in the 1970s, Cajun foods were considered country cooking. As a native of western Louisiana’s Cajun Country, chef-owner Donald Link continues to push the conversation about the bounty of the bayou using white tablecloth techniques for dishes like fried alligator with chili garlic mayonnaise, pork cheek sauce piquant with hominy grit cake and catfish courtbouillon.For something a little more casual, stop into Link’s sister spot, Cochon Butcher: a sandwich and butchery featuring a killer muffaletta that will send you straight into a food coma.
THE 15 FOODS YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO EAT WHILE VISITING NEW ORLEANS
BY PHIL MCCAUSLAND and E.M. TRAN
Cochon serves up traditional yet upscale seasonal Cajun dishes using fresh, locally sourced pork, produce, and seafood, but most importantly: the tried-and-true techniques that chef Donald Link has resurrected from his childhood.
21 BEST RESTAURANTS IN NEW ORLEANS
BY PAUL OSWELL
The chatty, boisterous nature of the restaurant is apparent when you enter: the glee of meat-happy patrons practically bounces off the wood paneling that frames the entire dining room. Meat-lovers-going-hog-wild is the overriding sentiment here, with a mostly casual but enthusiastic crowd. It’s a place to pig out, pun intended, but behind the bacchanal is a commitment to high-quality, in-house food production. Despite the high standards, though, it feels casual and welcoming to a crowd that’s heard the hype and are looking to be impressed.
by Hayley Matthews
The award-winning menus and the team’s commitment to creating unique rehearsal dinners and weddings are what make Calcasieu above Cochon restaurant such a sought-after venue.
THE 20 MOST IMPORTANT RESTAURANTS IN AMERICA
BY ANDREW KNOWLTON
I was always in love with the idea of eating out in New Orleans, but I was never in love with actually eating out in New Orleans. The food was filling, but often uninspired. Cochon changed all that. Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski raised the bar on the rich culinary traditions of the Louisiana bayou and gave the NOLA dining scene what it was missing—a passionate, pork-filled point of view. Sure, there are roasted oysters and gumbo, but there’s also fried boudin, stuffed pig’s foot, and unforgettable rabbit and dumplings. And while too many of the city’s dining rooms feel dusty, Cochon’s postindustrial Warehouse District space is like its food: reverent of the past but definitely in the present. Even better, seven years on, Cochon’s approach still drives countless U.S. chefs to get down with all the nasty bits and play with their own traditions. Read full article
ESQUIRE’S TRADITIONAL HOLIDAY GUMBO:
SOMETHING TO KEEP ON THE STOVE WHEN PEOPLE ARE HANGING AROUND YOUR HOUSE THIS WINTER, COURTESY OF A FIFTH-GENERATION CAJUN
AS TOLD BY FRANCINE MAROUKIAN
Although it varies from cook to cook, gumbo is south Louisiana’s signature dish – a complex stew pot thickened by a roux, a mixture of fat and flour that’s carefully cooked into a paste with color ranging from blond to dark brown, depending on what’s going into the pot. When I was growing up, we had chicken-and-sausage gumbo or seafood gumbo, but it was rare to find a combination of the two – probably because the smoked sausage there can be a bit overpowering. However, in this gumbo made with chicken, shrimp and tasso – spicy smoked pork that’s a staple of south Louisiana cooking – the three ingredients complement one another because the distinctive flavor of tasso provides good balance, keeping the shrimp and chicken on an even playing field. Maybe you’ve heard that only little old ladies in Louisiana know how to make a roux. That’s not totally true. But it does take care and attention. I generally make my roux somewhat lighter for gumbos that have seafood in them because it helps the flavor stand out, but even a lighter roux requires vigilance and constant whisking. One little bit of flour stuck in the bottom of the pot can burn, screwing up the flavor of the whole gumbo. Just remember to whisk slowly. They call roux “Cajun napalm” for good reason: If a flying drop lands on your skin, it’ll give you a good sizzle. That shit hurts. – CHEF DONALD LINK
NEW ORLEANS DINING GUIDE FALL 2012: THE TOP 10 NEW ORLEANS RESTAURANTS
BY BRETT ANDERSON
Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski, Cochon’s chefs and co-owners, have not reinvented Cajun cuisine. The crowds (Cochon may be the toughest reservation in town) and accolades (the partners have won three Beard Awards between them) just make it appear that way. Spend a few minutes with Cochon’s flaky crawfish pies, restorative rabbit and dumplings or signature crisped pork cake with turnips and cracklins and it’s clear the chefs respect their source material too much to modify it beyond recognition. Part of the thrill of eating in this post-industrial Warehouse District space — or in Cochon Butcher, the post-industrial sandwich shop and meat shop next door — is that you can’t tell if the kitchen is bucking for brownie points from Acadiana natives — by dishing up authentic boudin balls, squishy-hot rolls and hogshead cheese — or pandering to picky urban tastes — by making it all look like something you could serve in Seattle. The answer is that everything is the genuine article, provided you open your mind enough to imagine a Cajun grandmother roasting local goat to serve with fresh beets and peas or slathering fried alligator strips with chile-garlic aioli. If you thought you knew Cajun cooking before trying Cochon, you weren’t wrong. It just turns out there was more to learn — and love.
COCHON CHEF SHARES MEMORIES AND RECIPES FROM HIS POLISH HERITAGE
When chef Stephen Stryjewski was growing up, Easter meant pierogies, kielbasa and sauerkraut, and he has continued that tradition with his own family. “We always have some aspect of Polish food,” Stryjewski said. This year, he also brought the taste of Easter in Poland to Calcasieu, the special-event venue above Cochon and Cochon Butcher, where Stryjewski is chef and co-owner with Donald Link. More than a dozen dishes were passed, family style, at Wednesday’s event…. See recipes and read more
NEW ORLEANS DINING GUIDE FALL 2011: THE TOP 10 NEW ORLEANS RESTAURANTS
Dispense with labels for a moment. Forget about whether Cochon’s food is Cajun or Southern or some mash-up of New Orleans, Alice Waters and testosterone; whether a restaurant that doesn’t do table linens can play in the same league as those that do; whether a dish as neat and contained as its catsh courtbouillon should really be called courtbouillon. Let’s instead allow all stakeholders in South Louisiana culture to beat their chests over what Cochon’s food brings to light; a native food tradition spanning parish, swamp and prairie that has no weaknesses. Yes, there is a good deal of pig worship on display. But as often as not, pork is revered for what it offers its plate-mates, be it the housemade bacon upping the score of a fried oyster sandwich or braised pork cheeks melting into the background on forkfuls of fresh pear, goat feta and crisp kraut-potato cake. Co-chefs and owners Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski are not ones to shy away from fat, but their food has a much broader range than the fashionable burly-cooking sold in restaurants Cochon easily outclasses. The chefs intuit where herbs, produce and pickling can lighten a dish’s load. Salads and vegetable sides speak of the seasons, seafood to the bounty beyond the farm. If the cooking at Cochon — and the neighboring café and “swine bar” Cochon Butcher — looks and tastes new, it only goes to show what a difference a fresh set of eyes make. BEST BETS: Grilled shrimp with chow chow, fried boudin balls with pickled peppers, rabbit and dumplings.
DISHES THAT EARNED THEIR STARS
BY SAM SIFTON
NEW ORLEANS DINING GUIDE: THE TOP 10 NEW ORLEANS RESTAURANTS
BY BRETT ANDERSON
The Louisiana cochon, a crisped pork cake plated with turnips, cabbage and cracklins, is not the best dish at Cochon. The fried oyster and bacon sandwich is. Or is it the stewy ham hock that has recently been showing up with shell peas and greens? It’s probably the ham hock, unless of course you arrive one night craving rabbit (fall-apart tender and submerged in broth) and dumplings. Whatever the case, the best new dish to recently emerge from Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski’s kitchen involves nothing more than a single poached yard egg, roasted mushrooms, a grits cake and a mahogany sauce that bears a resemblance to demiglace. The dish encapsulates many of the factors — a sinewy approach to ingredient worship, an expansive view of both Cajun and Southern cuisine, an insistence that cooking heartily does not preclude cooking with delicacy that have made Cochon the most celebrated new New Orleans restaurant in recent memory. It also further complicates the question that vexes every party that occupies a hard wooden table in this fiercely traditional but also sui generis restaurant: What to order?
YEAR’S FINE DINING WENT, WELL, SWIMMINGLY
BY JERRY SHRIVER
Leave it to my adopted second home of New Orleans and always unpredictable charms to provide my favorite food moment of 2006, a year in which my dining experiences in Italy and across America were exceptionally rewarding. A friend and Louisiana native had invited two-dozen guests to his home for Thanksgiving. As we neared the start of the feast and the end of our second round of cocktails, he confessed he had gotten off schedule the day before and had not allowed enough time to thaw the two turkeys he was to roast on his outdoor grill. But rather than panic, he looked around and found his solution right in front of him: the heated swimming pool. He plopped the plastic-encased fowl into the water, watched them bob back to the surface, and four or five hours later he fished the perfectly defrosted birds from their bath. We joked the chlorine had mad the beast meat a little whiter, but other than that, the taste was delicious, and we were left with a tale we’ll dine on for years. (By the way, do not try this at home; it only works if there’s New Orleans mojo involved). I also was blessed to find more traditional dining pleasures in a host of other places this year, most notably the Italian city of Torino and the surrounding Piedmont region; Washington, D.C.; both Portland, Ore., and Portland, Maine; Anchorage, Alaska; wine countries of California, Ohio and Virginia; and my home base of New York. The best of those experiences are offered here in my annual buffet of five top meals and 25 top dishes of the year (listed in no particular order). 5. Cochon, New Orleans This contemporary Cajun restaurant, an offshoot of chef Donald Link’s equally fine and more upscale Herbsaint, is probably the best eatery to open in New Orleans post-Katrina. I’ve eaten there at least five times and have made a pig of myself on each occasion. I cannot resist the signature Louisiana cochon du lait with turnips, cabbage and cracklings; roasted corn cala; fried boudin with pickled peppers; smoked ham hocks with braised greens; rabbit and dumplings; nor any of the other two-dozen items on the menu.
IN NEW ORLEANS, THE TASTE OF A COMEBACK
BY SAM SIFTON
The Cajun Factor For those interested in the big flavors that lie at the intersection of urban New Orleans and rustic Cajun country, Cochon, a few blocks upriver from Emeril’s, is a can’t-miss stop. The chefs and owners — Donald Link, who also owns the well-regarded Herbsaint in the Central Business District, and Stephen Stryjewski, a sous chef at that restaurant — opened Cochon in 2006, a few months after Katrina. The dining room looks out through walls of windows, and its brick walls and bare wooden furniture glow in soft light. It is a highbrow roadhouse, a juke joint near Neil Young University. The food is head-shakingly good: delicate fried rabbit livers on toast points with a fiery pepper jelly; oysters roasted in the heat of a wood fire; fried cauliflower with a chili vinegar sauce; a gumbo of shrimp and deviled eggs. This is not bad for starter plates, with a glass of bourbon from Black Maple Hill and a chaser of Miller High Life. Afterward matters get serious. Main dishes include a marvelous soft Louisiana cochon, a kind of Cajun version of suckling pig, slow-cooked and then crisped, served with turnips, cabbage and crackling skin, as well as a perfect sandwich of deep-fried oysters and house-made bacon on white Pullman bread, with a chili-spiked mayonnaise. A fellow could eat that for days. And there is a simple salad: cucumber and herbs in vinegar, lightly pickled. It will be familiar to anyone who has ever eaten a banh mi, the Vietnamese sandwich.
ESSENTIAL NEW ORLEANS
BY FRANCINE MAROUKIAN
In a city synonymous with eating, it’s hard to know where to begin… Don’t let the phase “contemporary Cajun” scare you; there’s no trickery about the food at Cochon. Devoted to protecting old-style traditions, chef/co-owners Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski turn out splendid boudin, andouille, and smoked bacon, which you can also buy at the newly opened Butcher, located in the same building. Order absolutely anything: wood-fired oyster roast, ham hock with lima bean hoppin’ John, catfish court bouillon. And whatever you do, don’t leave without trying the fresh chunk-pineapple and cornmeal upside-down cake, slightly sticky with caramel sauce. The last bite will haunt you for days.
wood-fired oysters with chili garlic butter $14
fried alligator with chili garlic mayonnaise $12
shrimp cake with cream corn and cucumber relish $12
dirty rice meat pie $12
fried livers with pepper jelly & toast $8
smoked pork ribs with watermelon pickle $14
fried boudin with pickled peppers $9
crispy pork cheek with cherry tomatoes and green goddess $11
boucherie plate $16
chicken & andouille gumbo $8
soup of the day $8
cucumbers & herbs in vinegar $6
spring vegetable salad with lemon crema $9
catfish courtbouillon $19
smoked hamhock with hoppin’ john $26
louisiana cochon with cabbage, cracklins & pickled turnips $24
rabbit & dumplings $23
oven-roasted gulf fish “fisherman’s style” $32
smoked beef short rib with fried new potatoes & smoked tomato butter $32
oyster & bacon sandwich $20
macaroni & cheese casserole
twice-baked stuffed potato
crawfish & green tomato casserole
GIMME THE BEET $11
cathead vodka, beet juice, lemon & gingersnap bitters
IN BLOOM $12
bristow gin, strawberry, hibiscus tea & burlesque bitters
RUM THE MULES $12
light & dark rum, lemon verbena, mint & ginger beer
SMOKE ON THE WATER $12
peloton mezcal, sage, honey, smoked salt
THE SCARLET LETTER $12
buffalo trace, punt e mes, peychaud’s, honeysuckle & peppercorn
HOT BLOODED $13 cathead vodka, satsuma, campari & hellfire bitters
BY THE GLASS
gruner veltliner, hermann moser ‘17 $9
pinot gris, alexana ‘15 $9
sparkling gruner veltliner, szigeti nv $10
chardonnay, sandhi ‘16 $11
sancerre, domaine girard ‘17 $11
chardonnay, pascale matrot ‘16 $11
riesling, selbach-oster ‘17 $11
champagne, henriot souverain nv $17
rhone, domaine de la janasse ‘17 $10
bordeaux, chateau tire pe diem ‘17 $9
cotes du rhone, roger sabon ’17 $10
zinfandel, seghesio ‘16 $11
frappato/ nero d’avola, occhipinti ‘17 $12
pinot noir, bouchard ‘16 $12
pinot noir, roserock ‘15 $12
cabernet sauvignon, arrowood ‘16 $13
cabernet sauvignon, pine ridge ‘15 $17
urban south paradise park lager, LA $6
urban south ca phe coffee stout, LA (10oz) $6
great raft reasonably corrupt shwarzbier, LA $9
gnarly barley ‘jucifer’ ipa, LA $9
nola muses belgian pale ale, LA $9
wiseacre tiny bomb pilsner, TN $9
founders better half ba old ale, MI (10 oz) $10
nola revivalists pale ale, LA $4
miller high life, WI $4
miller lite, WI $5
founders all day ipa, MI $5
abita amber, LA $6
bell’s hopslam dipa, MI $6
bell’s passionfruit lime tart ale, MI $6
parish canebrake wheat ale, LA $6
spb suzy b dirty blonde ale, MS $6
spb salad days ipa, MS $6
arnold raspberry af, TX $6
sierra nevada brut ipa, CA $6
sweetwater 420 strain g13 ipa, GA $7
dogfish head ‘seaquench’ sour, DE $7
aval cider, FR $8
argus ciderkin, TX $8
housemade lemonade $4
abita rootbeer $5
barq’s root beer $5
dad’s diet root beer $5
hippo huckleberry $5
mexican coke $5
orange crush $5
fentiman’s rose lemonade $7
huhu ginger beer $8
RICE PUDDING CAKE $8
with orange caramel & cinnamon puff pastry straw
pineau des charentes $9
MILK CHOCOLATE MOUSSE $8
with salty caramel custard & chocolate peanut crumble bar
warre’s heritage ruby porto $10
PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE $8
with coconut lime sherbet & dulce de leche
christian bros sacred bond brandy $10
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOBERGE CAKE $8
with vanilla buttercream & chocolate chip cookie crumbs
feist 10yr tawny port $10
STRAWBERRY MOUSSE $8
with shortbread crumbles, strawberry coulis & fresh strawberries
tokaji “aszu 5 puttonyos” $17
MEYER LEMON CHESS PIE $8
with whipped cream & meyer lemon gelee
vittorio bera e figli ’17, moscato d’asti $9
ICE CREAM OR SHERBET $6
chocolate, vanilla or daily selection
Pastry Chef Maggie Scales
Our traditional Southern menus are custom crafted to meet your needs. We use locally sourced pork, fresh produce and seafood to create the authentic flavors of Cajun country.
WE HOLD SPACE AT THE BAR, THE CHEF'S COUNTER AND WEATHER PERMITTING THE PATIO FOR WALK-INS. WE CAN ALSO ACCOMMODATE LARGER PARTIES. PLEASE CONTACT US AT 504.588.2123 OR INFO@COCHONRESTAURANT.COM WITH ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS.
Our new semi-private dining space in the mezzanine of the new Diamond Street dining room can accommodate up to 40 guests for seated meals as well as for reception style events.
If you are interested in hosting an event on a larger scale let's talk about other options within the restaurant - from reserving the entire Diamond street dining room to buying out the whole restaurant. Please also look into Calcasieu, our private dining facility located in the same building.
At Cochon, Chef Link has reconnected with his culinary roots, serving the traditional Cajun Southern dishes he grew up with. Chef Link and Chef/Co-owner Stephen Stryjewski are working with locally sourced pork, fresh produce and seafood, focusing on traditional methods, creating authentic flavors of Cajun country.