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Times Picayune


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.

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