Warm Bread and Butter
Chicken, Tasso and Andouille Gumbo
Baked Asiago with Oregano and Lemon
French Fries with Pimenton Aioli
Gnocchi with Roasted Broccoli, Pancetta and Parmesan
Housemade Spaghetti with Guanciale and Fried-Poached Farm Egg
Saffron Fideo with Tomato Confit
Lamb and Mushroom Lasagna with Greens
Apple Pie Profitteroles with Brown Sugar Ice Cream and Calvados Caramel
Banana Brown Butter Tart with Fleur de Sel Caramel
Coconut Custard Pie with Buttermilk Chantilly and Orange Caramel
Long held as one of The Crescent City’s greatest dining destinations, Donald Link’s Herbsaint may now best be described as an empire-launching enterprise, the Chef’s 2007 Beard Award for Best Chef: South and several nominations for Outstanding Chef just a few of the accolades lavished on Link since opening the space over 15 years ago with the dining room at 701 St. Charles Avenue still continuing to impress locals as well as tourists to this day.
Now toqued by Chef de Cuisine Rebecca Wilcomb, an East Coast transplant with Link Restaurant Group since 2008 and at the pass since 2011, Herbsaint takes a contemporary look Louisiana Cuisine by way of a focus on local sourcing and plates intended to yield bold flavors while resisting the tendency to be heavy, the room itself a sort of minimalist space where white tablecloths and wood predominate beneath bright overhead lighting.
Embracing a style similar to that of Bayona, French technique and global influences infusing the very best local Meats and Produce with flavor while still allowing the intrinsic quality of every ingredient to shine, dinner at Herbsaint can be enjoyed either indoors or al fresco where a limited “Bistro” menu is offered between lunch and dinner, the cocktail list mixing of classics with modern herbal mixology as the classic Pimm’s Cup is highly recommended and just a touch sweet with a hefty hint of Ginger.
Arriving early for a reservation, crusty Bread served warm with good Butter provided as the seasonally updated menu was perused, it was with a few daily specials passed up that a three-course meal was selected, a focus on appetizers and small plates quickly seeing a spicy cup of Gumbo presented alongside crisp Fries served with Pimento and bubbly Cheese with griddled Bread for spreading.
Deciding to focus course two on pasta, appetizer portions slightly larger than the typical primi at fine Italian restaurants, one would be hard pressed to name a better Carbonara than the housemade Noodles crowned with a crispy Egg and bits of Pork Jowl, the Gnocchi and Fideo also well-composed with deep Vegetal notes while the entrée-size Lasagna layered tender Lamb on a backdrop of earthy flavors.
At this point an unabashed fan of Pastry Chef Maggie Scales, everything at both Cochons and Peche bold and beautifully balanced, it was only the fact that more eating was to be done that prevented a “one of each” situation, the Apple Pie Profitteroles technically proficient with crispy Choux encasing Brown Sugar Ice Cream while the Banana Brown Butter Tart and Coconut Custard Pie divided the table as to which was better, the latter my choice as the tangy Chantilly Cream imparted a Chess Pie sort of flavor.