Finding the next “new” food destination is always exciting. Here in New Orleans, with the “live to eat” attitude dominating a lot of our food decisions, a new restaurant opening or discovery is always a fun adventure. About three weeks ago, a culinary adventure was exactly what happened when I discovered Bearcat Cafe.
Located uptown, just off Freret Street, at 2521 Jena Street, Bearcat Cafe specializes in seasonal, local ingredients for breakfast and lunch,( yes a cool breakfast spot.) The hours are 7am-4pm, Tuesdays through Sundays. My adventure started because of a conversation. First a recommendation by chef friend after a chat about restaurants offering more vegetable options, whether it be appetizers or main courses, I was looking for alternatives. Don’t get me wrong, I am an omnivore, but as I get older and wish to discover new options, I see a lot of creativity in chefs using vegetable as the main component of a dish.
Bearcat Cafe embraces the idea of using vegetables in more of a center stage way by offering two sides of their menu: Bad Cat and Good Cat. You can probably guess, the Bad Cat offers traditional protein options, cow, pig or chicken, while the Good Cat side focuses on vegetable forward dishes; vegan, vegetarian, and some gluten free. The Cafe really caters to today’s varied eating habits and styles. I chose the Good Cat side because I was looking for the veggies and the portobello philly caught my eye. A vegetarian cheesesteak consisting of portobello mushrooms and vidalia onions as the “Steak”. The mushrooms are loaded with so much umami, especially portobellos, each bite has a meaty flavor. The sandwich is finished off with a sweet potato “cheese whiz.” Tangy, and slightly salty, sweet potato wiz really brought everything together and evoked a good “memory” taste of a cheesesteak. Wow, it was delicious. The sandwich came with some well-seasoned roasted potatoes and I opted for a side of creamed spinach, rich and flavorful with that little extra amount of garlic I so love.
Leaving no detail behind, Bearcat cafe has an extensive drink list with many housemade/bottled teas and lemonade. I chose the peach ginger green tea, and was super happy with the refreshing taste and feel with a spicy pop of ginger to balance some peach sweetness. This tea was sugar free, the flavors coming from fruit and root.
If you are adventuring uptown and in need of a breakfast/lunch spot, do yourself a favor and try out Bearcat Cafe. And if you time your visit on the first Saturday of each month you can catch the Freret Street Art market, now you have a double adventure.