Since opening in 2000, Chef Donald Link's flagship, Herbsaint, has topped nearly everyone in the city's "best" list. Located on St. Charles Avenue in the CBD, Herbsaint offers contemporary, seasonal French-Southern cuisine with elements of rustic Italian cooking. An eclectic wine list and a knowledgeable staff make for perfect pairings.
Herbsaint won Link the 2007 James Beard Award for Best Chef South. Herbsaint has also been named a Hall of Fame Restaurant on Eater National’s Essential 38, as well as a Top 50 Restaurant in America by Gourmet Magazine. Take a bite out of any dish, and you'll understand the hype.
Often in regards to New Orleans dining, the focus is on the grand, century old dining rooms and restaurant legacies that have carried on the traditions of the city’s world-renowned cuisine. Herbsaint, however, has waltzed into the spotlight with Link's vision of a modern, charming Southern bistro.
And a vision it is. Herbsaint sits lazily on a bustling CBD corner where tall windows flanking the restaurant offer plenty of natural light. When a slow-moving street car rolls by, the restaurant can feel like every gorgeous cliché that makes people fall in love with this city.
Herbsaint is a great spot for a solo traveler looking for a chic, Southern meal in New Orleans. With a cozy dining room and bar, solo diners will feel comfortable at smaller tables amongst the crowds. Service is friendly, attentive and knowledgable.
Link and chef de cuisine Rebecca Wilcomb's menu exemplifies farm to table by transforming humble classics into simply chic dishes. The shattering, buttery batter on fried frog legs (which are easily the best in the city). A crispy-skinned confit of duck leg perched on a bed of dirty rice. The strong, dark roux-thickened daily gumbos like chicken/andouille or blackeyed pea and pork. Other standouts include a pairing of crab meat and bright watermelon gazpacho and a deconstructed carbonara made with a tangle of house-made spaghetti and guanciale dressed in little more than black pepper and a gush of yolk from a fried poached egg. The spaghetti is so good you'll want two orders (maybe even three!)
Herbsaint's dessert menu is impressionable and will leave you craving more. For dessert, try a twist on the classic beignet-chocolate beignet or the saffroned semolina cake with caramel.
Chef Link may be a country boy from the rice fields of South Louisiana, but he has been a frontrunner in merging the soul of our regional cuisine with the spirit and sophistication of these foodie times. Herbsaint was ahead of the curve among contemporary New Orleans restaurants in showcasing house-cured meats, putting local ingredients to good use and introducing the city to high-end, small plates dining.