Voted one of the 25 Most Important Restaurants of 2013 by Zagat, SoBou is an up-and-coming niche restaurant in the French Quarter that focuses just as much on spirits as its neighbor, Bourbon St (SoBou stands for South of Bourbon), but with an upscale and gourmet class that is truly inimitable.
Owned by the Commander’s Family of Restaurants, SoBou describes itself as, “a modern Creole saloon” and “a Louisiana-centric and street food inspired restaurant with a beverage focus,” hence its tagline of being “A Spirited Restaurant South of Bourbon.” This Quarter gem serves everything from breakfast, brunch and lunch to exquisite dinners and even their “Happier Hour.”
SoBou consists of a main dining room, a semi-private pool room, a beer garden with beer taps in the tables and self-serve wine machines, a bar with a bar chef table and The Saloon, a semi-private room for up to 10 guests. The décor is classy with large wrap around booths and walls full of well-lit empty glass bottles, which provide a distinct ambience that complements the food and drinks.
The dinner menu is nothing short of inventive and impressive, beginning with Snacky Things like Yellowfin Tuna Cones with pineapple ceviche and basil avocado ice cream and upgraded bar snacks like $1 pork cracklin’s, $4 Creole beer nuts and $4 boudin balls. Small Bites include Sweet Potato Beignets and a Louisiana Strawberry & Kale Salad, and Big Bites include a Foie Gras Burger, Creole Chili Mustard Painted Gulf Fish and Breaux Bridge Crawfish Salad. Top it off with a dessert like Cherries Jubille & White Chocolate Bread Pudding or a Candied Pecan Chocolate Fudge Brownie, layered with bruleed banana filling, brandy spiked strawberries and sea salt caramel.
The restaurant’s breakfast menu is smaller but boasts high-quality dishes such as the Sunrise Surf & Turf, which is a 24-hour smoked Cochon de Lait with Louisiana crispy oysters, scrambled eggs, caramelized onions and chargrilled chilies with grilled tortillas for building your own breakfast tacos. The Bananas Foster Pancakes are as delicious as they sound, with Old New Orleans Rum flambéed bananas, Creole beer nuts, Foster’s caramel sauce and peanut butter whipped cream. The Brunch menu is even more extensive and includes such dishes as the SoBou Oysters Benedict, NOLA Parfait and Shrimp & Tasso Pinchos, to name a few.
During Happier Hour, held from 3 to 6 p.m. daily, SoBou’s Bar offers snacks like Smashed Red Beans, Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos and Alligator Corndogs as well as discounts on drinks such as draft beers, Miss Abigail’s Punch and a local classic, the sazerac. SoBou also has an extensive cocktail menu, complete with such delights as the Sunset in the Courtyard, Big Chief, Jitterbug and Gatorcane, which is similar to the local classic Hurricane, but uses Old New Orleans crystal rum, ginger, passion fruit and lime. You can also enjoy 25-cent martinis Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. through 3 p.m. with the purchase of an entrée.