Mary Tutwiler

Restaurant reviews back on Times-Picayune menu

by Mary Tutwiler

It’s a sure sign of hurricane recovery when Times-Picayune restaurant writer Brett Anderson starts handing out beans again. While most reviewers paste on stars to indicate excellence in the restaurants they critique, it’s a TP tradition to ladle out red beans -- five for superior cooking down to one, or none, for not-so-good. It’s been nearly three years since Hurricane Katrina swamped the best cooking in the western hemisphere. Anderson spent that time writing hard news, food news, features, and best bets; today marks his weekly return to holding New Orleans’ chefs' feet to the grill fire. He explains his decision to begin writing restaurant reviews again in today’s TP.

“So as the recovery wore on, my reluctance to return to criticism wasn’t because there was no great food to be had. By my measure, most of our highest achieving restaurants were, remarkably, performing at or near pre-Katrina levels around the first anniversary. I was, rather, uncomfortable with what the critical analysis of food and service could imply: that things were back to normal when they so clearly were not.

Finally, there was too much good food out there to hold out any longer.”

Today’s review is of French Quarter bistro Mr. B's, a restaurant in the Brennan family group, which includes Commander’s and Bacco.