Upon first glance at Lüke restaurant of New Orleans’ menu, German dishes like Chappapeela Pork Schnitzel and Flammenkuchen can be seen mingling with French dishes such as, Le Grand Plateau De Fruits De Mer and cavorting with Cajun dishes like Shrimp Cavatelli Etouffee. One is quickly reminded of two things.
First, you are in New Orleans, where pretense is not stood upon, especially where good food abounds.
Two, this is a John Besh restaurant, and no matter the pedigree of this James Beard award winner’s culinary experience, he’ll never forget his Cajun roots.
Lüke is a Franco-German Brasserie that is brother to the first Lüke location on San Antonio’s famous boardwalk. Similar to the San Antonio location, Lüke New Orleans is wrapped in the warmth of various tones of carved wood panels, floors, and chairs. Both locations are even topped off with matching tin ceilings. Despite the high-brow feel of the menu’s many French names, this place is as homey and comforting as its food. A fact, reinforced by The Times-Picayune, which extolled Lüke for its “disarmingly home-spun culinary touches and broad-shouldered dishes that satisfy something more than just an appetite.”
The current executive chef behind the creative mash-up of regional food is Chef Matt Regan. Regan began his career as a classical guitar player, but once he moved to New Orleans in 2002, was seized with the desire to go into the culinary arts. Which, considering NOLA’s reputation for food, the inspiration was certainly an easy one to catch and pursue. Regan diligently paid his dues, working in Lafitte for seven years and learning everything he could about the local seafood. His hard work paid off when he was introduced to Lüke’s former executive chef, Steve McHugh and Besh. Fortunately for Lüke diners, Regan’s extensive seafood knowledge is taken full advantage of by the restaurant’s raw bar.
The BAR À HUÎTRES features the best of the bay with expertly prepared shrimp, clam, mussels, oysters, and whole Maine lobsters. Not only is the raw bar a veritable cornucopia of shelled delights, but also the visual appeal of piles of shells and lobster legs standing at attention is enough to make one’s mouth water and tummy grumble in excitement.
Not only does Lüke feature a fine raw bar, but their choices of libations aren’t too shabby either. You can keep things simple with a superb selection of whiskies, bourbons, brandies and other sipping spirits, get creative with fun mix drinks like “door#3” and “Bufala Negra,” enjoy local micro-brews and national favorites, or wines from the “new” and “old world.”
The diverse menu that ranges from the simple to the fine dining married with the upscale wait staff and home-like ambiance will keep you coming back for more with promises of the discovery of an enticing culinary experience.