We’ll oversimplify a bit here and say hotel restaurants in New Orleans tend to fall into two categories: upscale, splashy places with marquee chefs and backers (see: Restaurant R’evolution at Royal Sonesta, SoBou at W French Quarter, Borgne at Hyatt Regency, Tamarind at Hotel Modern) and restaurants with jacked-up prices and mediocre “Cajun” and “Creole” food designed for undiscerning, starving tourists. Vacherie inside Hotel St. Marie is a rarity in the genre – a straightforward, well-run restaurant serving top-notch home-style Louisiana fare.
Fans of the perpetually-packed local dining scene at the restaurant EAT in the French Quarter will recognize some of chef Jarred Zeringue’s regional cuisine at Vacherie, where he also runs the kitchen. The breakfast, dinner and bar menus showcase Zeringue’s signature South Louisiana foods and southern comfort classics in dishes like the pimento cheese gritcake and collards or the cured meat and cheese board with punchy house-made pickles.
This is a restaurant/bar/café for people who want lovingly prepared, inventive Louisiana cuisine and aren’t afraid to dive into a dish like Breakfast Bread Pudding (a smoked sausage, cheese, Brabant potato and egg casserole) or Boudin Benedict before noon. Vacherie’s dinner menu is equally hearty and down home-y with originals like the boudin-stuffed, deep-fried hen and Black Iron Skillet Beef Tenderloin. Don’t miss the crisp-tender collard greens or the okra and seafood gumbo, a peppery stew crowded with crab and gumbo shrimp. (It may very well be one of the best bowls in the city.)
The café at Vacherie has also added a much-needed lunchtime departure from the standard po-boys and beans-and-rice menu. Fresh salads, soups and sandwiches are identical to those from CBD lunch favorite Between the Bread, which is operated by the same group who run Vacherie and EAT.
One of the true gems in French Quarter dining, Vacherie specializes in rustic South Louisiana fare that's both sophisticated and simple.