Pêche Seafood Grill is a James Beard award-winning seafood restaurant in the Warehouse District. In 2014, Pêche was voted Best New Restaurant in the nation— surpassing heavy-hitter nominees from New York and San Francisco. Two years since it opened, Pêche continues to get rave reviews, pack in the crowds, and make many foodie-focused restaurant lists, including the Times-Picayune’s 2014 Top 10.
Don’t let the accolades scare you off: Pêche is fun, lively, original and rousingly rustic and, although noisy, the festivity makes it a great gathering spot for group dining. Maybe it’s the conviviality of the large round tables (ask for one!), or the well-washed flour sack fabric napkins, or the attentiveness of the server team, but a meal at Pêche is unpretentious, relaxed, delicious and memorable.
Focusing on local Gulf seafood, prepared to emphasize freshness, Pêche delivers authentic, hearty dishes. Start with locally-sourced oysters — you can watch them being shucked at the Oyster Bar toward the back of the restaurant’s long rectangular space — and an order of the spicy tuna dip ‘snack’ served with soda crackers. Specialty cocktails like the ‘Ancient Mariner’ or ‘The Hemingway’ pair nicely with the appetizers, and the nautical theme!
But its Pêche’s signature main dishes that are truly impressive, and can turn your meal an innovative New Orleans spectacle. Each night succulent fresh Gulf fish sacrifice themselves —head, tails, scales and all — to an herbal bath followed by a perfect open-fire grilling. By all means, order the whole fish (its market priced), carefully carve it yourself and watch the great Pêche disappearing act until you are left with an intact fish skeleton, and not much else, in the middle of your table.
Side dishes that complement the fish masterpiece are curried mussels with potatoes, pasta with crab, a pumpkin/ goat cheese medley, and the fantastic deep fried Brussels sprouts coated in chili oil. Do not skip the dessert course: Pastry Chef Maggie Scales serves up delectable salted caramel cake, key lime pie, or blueberry cornmeal crisp. The dessert wine and liqueur menu is bounteous.
Chef Ryan Prewitt (who tied for James Beard/Best Chef South award in 2014), and award-winning chef/owners Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski have changed the way seafood is prepared and served in the city, and they may have rattled some of the traditionalists with the rampant success of Pêche Seafood Grill. This modern approach to fish-forward dining reflects the dynamic New Orleans food scene. Pêche leads the pack with a mighty successful blend of old-world techniques and vibrant new talent.