As our friends belly up to the bar at Stanleys, Troy and I finish talking to a prominent local who was born and raised in New Orleans. A self-proclaimed foodie, I can tell that he has food chops by the recommendations he offers. He is adamant that Stella! is the best restaurant in the state of Louisiana and that the oyster po’ boy at Stanley is the best in New Orleans.
He introduces us to his good friend Chef Scott Boswell as we order soft-shell crab and oyster po’ boys, breaux bridge benedict made with Charlie T’s boudin, eggs Stella (a soft-shell crab twist on eggs benedict) and a root beer float.
For those of you who are not yet familiar with Scott Boswell, he is on the short list of New Orleans’ greatest chefs. Nominated for the 2010 James Beard Best Chef in the South, Chef Scott Boswell is thought by many to operate the finest restaurant in New Orleans—Stella! With upscale global cuisine and southern flair, Stella! is known for exquisite food and long waiting lists. People are clamoring to get into this French Quarter locale.
Fortunately there are other ways to taste Chef Bowell’s flavors. Stanley is a casual sister restaurant to Stella! and much easier to get into. As Chef Boswell says, Stanley is a “new dimension to all day dining” serving breakfast and brunch along side of burgers, po’ boys and house made ice cream all day long. This must hit spot in Jackson Square features the food that Chef Boswell wants to eat. To give you an idea of the quality behind this menu, the Stanley burger is made with ground tenderloin steak from Stella!
We are all salivating over these po’ boys and the Creole hollandaise sauce on the benes. The soft-shell crab is my favorite po’ boy because of the perfect balance of texture and flavors. The gritty dusting of cornmeal, the crunch and sweetness of the crab, the brightness of the cole slaw, the punch of the Creole cocktail sauce and the creamy of the remoulade. The toasted bread stays in tact while the luscious sauce drip down my chin. I love New Orleans.
We walk with Chef Boswell next door to Stanley’s Service Bar which serves sandwiches to-go, ice cream, Italian sodas and drinks including the Stanley Screamer which is an alcoholic ice tea served in a cup that turns into a megaphone.
Chef Boswell tells us about some of his proudest moments following Katrina. At that time Stella! was his only restaurant and it was in ruins. All that he had built was gone, and no one was even permitted to enter New Orleans. “So I got myself a police-issued hat” which allowed him access into the quarter, gathered his mom and a few employees and began offering burgers to emergency workers. “There was such a need for us that we sold 500 burgers a day” and Stanley was born. As the first made-to-order restaurant in the city, Chef Boswell had a large role in “nursing New Orleans back to life.”
Images courtesy of Chris Litwin