Bruno’s Tavern, New Orleans, LA Report #42

A local food critic named Tom Fitzmorris always advised against buying Groupons to go to restaurants.  I have no idea why.  I’ve discovered SOOOOO many good restaurants through Groupon!  And what’s wrong with getting your food at a discount?  The restaurant put themselves on Groupon!  I didn’t.  I just always make sure to tip on the full price and not the discounted price.  And they always give you two receipts reflecting each price to help you with that.

This place is one of those.  I was born and raised in New Orleans and had no idea this place was here until a Groupon email featured it.  And it’s been there since 1934!  It’s a stones throw from Tulane and Loyola Universities and it’s obviously a bar that caters to the uptown university crowds.  I actually graduated from Loyola and still didn’t know about it.  But in my college days, 1) I was too broke to afford bars and, 2) Being New Orleans we had a nice bar right there on campus where the pitchers of beer flowed freely when some of my better off high school friends were buying!  Made for many scary white knuckled rides home on my motorcycle, but that’s another story.

The place is primarily a bar, but big with plenty of seating.  Several booths with TVs in them and remotes on the table so you can change channels.  Video poker and other games to keep you occupied too.  Keep in mind being a bar it can be noisy, so if you’re looking for a quiet, romantic place, look elsewhere.  Now to the food.

Our appetizers were the Crawfish Kickers and Debris Fries.  Whenever you see the term “debris” in New Orleans cooking it refers to the bits of scrap roast beef left over in the pot of brown gravy normally used to make hot roast beef and gravy poor boy sandwiches.  The fries here are waffle fries.  So this appetizer consisted of crisp waffle fries, covered with not scraps, but roast beef and brown gravy, topped with melted Monterey jack and cheddar cheese and drenched in a horseradish cream sauce.  Best debris fries I ever had!  The horseradish sauce was fantastic, and along with the gravy it tasted like you were eating prime rib and potatoes.

The crawfish kickers were great too.  A crawfish stuffing, full of crawfish too, well seasoned and deep fried crisp and golden brown.  The menu said they were served with a homemade remoulade sauce, but it was more like a cocktail sauce, also with a nice kick of horseradish.  Not too spicy though.  And very good.

For entrees we tried the Hickory Bacon Burger.  Pretty good burger but nothing extraordinary.  But when I checked out the menu before buying the Groupon, what caught my eye was the pork shanks.  In fact that made me buy the Groupon!  I love any kind of shanks.  Before ordering I asked the waitress how they were.  She said she had no idea because she had never tried them.  Good enough for me.  I had no idea they were BBQed.  And utterly delicious.  Tender, juicy, and crispy.  Like maybe they were slow cooked for a couple hours to get them tender, then flash fried to crisp them, then slathered in a delicious BBQ sauce.  The waffle fries they were served on were crisp, hot and delicious.

For a place that seems to be a bar first and restaurant second, the food is GREAT!  I highly recommend the place.

7538 Maple St., New Orleans, LA  70118  Ph: 504-861-7615

Blaine  10-8-2017

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