Weekend crowds habitually stand three deep at the bar sipping cocktails while waiting for a table in this narrow, bustling neighborhood bistro…and for good reason. Up-and-coming chef/owner Aaron Burgau, who worked in some of the best kitchens in New Orleans before he stepped into his own, has created a restaurant that speaks its own dialect – one that can look and sound familiar to New Orleans, but beguiles with originality.
Heavily reminiscent of stylish French bistro comfort foods, the menu is flush with regional ingredients like Gulf seafood, house-made charcuterie, and rabbit, but it also imports Spanish, Italian, Mediterranean, and even Asian flavors, from piquillo peppers to yuzu. Moules frites, a bistro staple, swim in a smoky tomato broth worthy of sopping with New Orleans’ finest bread. Dark, full-bodied Steen’s cane syrup marries the muscular saltiness of pork belly with the elegant sweetness of a seared scallop. Grilled flank or hanger steaks might lean French, with a red wine and marrow reduction and skinny fries, or South American, with a bright chimichurri and a corn, poblano and tomato salad.
Regulars know to order menu fixtures like sautéed sweetbreads with beluga lentils or the gnocchi. If you’re an aficionado of brunch, let the tourists flock to the city’s weekend stalwarts for eggs Hussarde. Tucking into Patois’ decadent croquet madame or egg, pork belly and fried green tomato sandwich is how we show no remorse for the previous night’s sins. No matter how far and wide the kitchen pulls inspiration from, Patois speaks a language we all understand: good food.
Local chef Aaron Burgau blends a world of flavors and gastronomic influences at this popular contemporary southern bistro.