Chef Eric Cook saw a need for something, and Saint John is the answer. Chef Cook, who cut his chops in the most popular restaurants in the city and famously opened Gris-Gris on Magazine Street in 2018, felt like there was a dearth of truly authentic, freshly-prepared, and locally-sourced Louisiana dishes in the French Quarter. He felt like he couldn't enjoy a meal in the area because he knew what was going on in those kitchens.
Then came along an empty restaurant at 1117 Decatur Street. Chef Cook quickly realized that this would be the perfect opportunity to bring haute Creole cuisine to The Quarter. He went back to the old cookbooks, studied the notes that fell out of them, and asked elder generations about their techniques. This is not a fusion restaurant; these dishes are purely southern Louisiana.
For this preview, Executive Chef and Owner Eric Cook and his highly-trained staff debuted several incredible items. Gumbo, Seared Fish Court-Bouillon, and River Road Shrimp Etouffee used the freshest ingredients that really shined, but the dense, mouth-watering sauces made these dishes unique and exceptional. For the brunch menu, the Louisiana Shrimp Creole will be the star of the show.
Besides the food and beverage programs, Saint John will be a popular restaurant to visit because of the kitchen set-up. Beyond the foyer with the long marble bar and some seating is the main dining area that features a completely open kitchen. Diners will be delighted to sit down at the kitchen table and watch all of their food being made by the team of chefs with Executive Chef Cook orchestrating the entire production. If they're lucky, they'll get to speak with the meal creators, which would only add another delicious layer to the dining experience.
Saint John opens this week, and it's likely that most if not all of the diners for the first week will be locals. Chef Cook's Saint John will impress the natives with authentic, yet surprising fare, and it may spoil the tourists from other restaurants.