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Bon Ton Cafe

401 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA - (504) 524-3386
Posted By Michael Stern on 11/8/2000 5:04:00 AM
Bon Ton Cafe is the place to know the joy of crawfish etouffe, an unspeakably luscious meal especially in May, the peak of the season when crawdads are plumpest. You can have etouffe as a main course or as one part of a wonderfully monomaniacal meal of bisque, etouffe, Newburg, jambalaya and an omelet, each of which is made with crawfish. Or you can start dinner with an appetizer of fried crawfish tails. They look like little fried shrimp, but taste like shrimp’s much richer relatives.

Dinner begins with the delivery of a loaf of hot French bread, tightly wrapped in a white napkin. When the napkin is unfurled, the bread’s aroma swirls around the table. Then comes soup – either peppery okra gumbo made with shrimp and crab or turtle soup into which the waitress pours a shot of sherry. Other than crawfish in any form, the great entrée is redfish Bon Ton, which is a thick filet sauteed until just faintly crisp, served under a heap of fresh crabmeat and three gigantic fried onion rings. For dessert, you want bread pudding, which is a dense, warm square of sweetness studded with raisins and drenched with whiskey sauce.

A big, square, brick-walled room with red-checked tablecloths, Bon Ton is soothingly old-fashioned. Service, by a staff of uniformed professionals, is gracious and Dixie-sweet. The place is crowded with locals at lunch, but mostly groups of tourists and celebrants at supper. Either time, and whether you are a regular customer or a first-timer, Bon Ton feels like Creole home.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
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Red Fish Bon Ton, one of the house specialties, is an extravaganza of redfish, crabmeat, onion rings, and lots and lots of butter.  Fantastic!
"Red Fish Bon Ton, one of the house specialties, is an extravaganza of redfish, crabmeat, onion rings, and lots and lots of butter. Fantastic!"
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle





Bon Ton serves the booziest bread pudding in town.  It's one of the best, too.
"Bon Ton serves the booziest bread pudding in town. It's one of the best, too."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Eggplant combines with seafood beautifully in this etouffee of crab and shrimp.
"Eggplant combines with seafood beautifully in this etouffee of crab and shrimp."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Sirloin tips in a rich red wine sauce tempted us on Ash Wednesday. We decided they were worth going to hell for.
"Sirloin tips in a rich red wine sauce tempted us on Ash Wednesday. We decided they were worth going to hell for."
Elise


Underneath the onion rings, you can see heaps of crab meat.  The succulent redfish is below that.
"Underneath the onion rings, you can see heaps of crab meat. The succulent redfish is below that."
Michael Stern


One of Bon Ton Cafe's friendly waitresses poses with a loaded tray of delicacies.
"One of Bon Ton Cafe's friendly waitresses poses with a loaded tray of delicacies."
Elise


An eating landmark, Bon Ton Cafe is a humble building on old Magazine Street, not far from the French Quarter.
"An eating landmark, Bon Ton Cafe is a humble building on old Magazine Street, not far from the French Quarter."
Michael Stern


Outside of the Bon Ton (and all over the French Quarter, too) are gas lanterns.
"Outside of the Bon Ton (and all over the French Quarter, too) are gas lanterns."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle



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