Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant, a bistro on St. Charles Avenue the Central Business District, was renowned chef Donald Link’s first restaurant — but certainly not his last. Since this flagship eatery opened in 2000, Herbsaint has evolved into a launching point for Link’s other wildly-successful food ventures, including award-winning restaurants such as Cochon, Cochon Butcher, Pêche, a private event facility, and a couple of celebrated Cajun-inspired cookbooks.
One of chef Link’s great talents is his savvy ability to spot and nurture up-and-coming young chefs —a generosity that was extended to him fifteen years ago when Chef Susan Spicer (Bayona, MONDO) became an Herbsaint partner, stewarding the bistro through its early years. Both Spicer and Link were critical to the New Orleans restaurant scene’s resurgence after Hurricane Katrina, and are still actively involved in the amazing food, and new restaurant talent, coming from this great city.
As an example of paying-it-forward, Herbsaint’s current chef de cuisine is Rebecca Wilcomb, a bold and creative young chef who understands how to maintain the best elements of bistro dining while keeping the menu fresh and adventurous. Wilcomb came to Herbsaint in 2008 to work on the line and, just three years later, rose to become the top chef. Under Wilcomb’s diligent watch, Herbsaint continues to place on many of the cities food critics’ top ten restaurants lists, and produces one of the best bistro experiences in town for both regulars and visitors.
Whether you sit at the bar for a light supper, or feast with a group of friends at a round table in the boisterous main room, or snag a romantic table for two in the back room, Herbsaint bustles with professionalism and passion. Menu favorites include small plates such as the succulent beef short ribs with potato rösti, salsa verde and horseradish cream, or the signature pasta —a house-made spaghetti with guanciale (Italian salami) topped with a splashy fried egg. Standout mains include the braised pork belly with mushrooms and potato puree or the luscious duck confit. Executive pastry chef Maggie Scales’ creates a number of great desserts, most notably the richly decadent banana brown butter tart.
Herbsaint may not be the newest or trendiest restaurant in town, but it has truly earned an esteemed place in the assemblage of locally owned restaurants by creating delectable dishes in the European tradition —and giving them an inspirational New Orleans twist!