Chris Lynch, a former Emeril’s chef de cuisine, has taken over the kitchen at Atchafalaya, and his menu makes this atmospheric Uptown bistro even more attractive. The execution of the food was a shade indelicate, but dishes, such as potkiller-steamed mussels and lamb meatball cous cous crowned in soothing cucumber raita, were too structurally sound to disappoint.
There are herbs and flowers growing in beds and boxes outside of the restaurant’s entrance at the corner of Louisiana and Laurel. It’s a cultivated look that’s duplicated by the view when you enter. There’s a sense of space that you get from the wall dividing the bar from the main dining room. The ceilings are as high as you’d expect in a New Orleans restaurant, and the wall between the rooms is made of mismatched window frames. It highlights the size of the room while keeping the scale intimate, if that makes sense.
New Orleans Jazz music and brunch go hand-in-hand in the Big Easy, and Atchafalaya hits all the right notes with an indulgent New Orleans-style menu. Executive chef Chris Lynch whips up shrimp and grits, duck hash, and a variety of egg dishes plated alongside local favorites such as popcorn crawfish and alligator sausage. While a line at Atchafalaya is likely, a teeming Bloody Mary bar and a lively, bustling atmosphere will keep things interesting during the wait for this authentic NOLA brunch.