In a city where culinary nomenclature can be oh-so-clever, Pioneer Square veers several miles off-course from Subtletown. Tiki Bob's, for instance, is exactly what you think it's going to be: a tropical-themed meat market. Similarly, Cowgirls Inc. is a Wild West-themed meat market, Sluggers is a sports bar with a bunch of baseball memorabilia on the wall, McCoy's Firehouse is located near a fire station and has a bunch of firefighter memorabilia on the wall, the Triangle is so named for the triangular building in which it resides, and the Comedy Underground features live, stand-up comedy--underground.
As Friday nights steamrolls ever closer their 2 a.m. crescendo, the New Orleans can usually be taken just as literally as the aforementioned establishments. This m.o. is clearly not everyone's cup of tea, or at least not the preferred cup of tea for hipper-than-thou city-dwellers over the age of 26, who have mostly outgrown the Square's unwaveringly party hearty atmosphere.
If you're going to fly such a patently obvious flag, 'tis best to strive for maximum authenticity. In this respect, the New Orleans scores big points, serving cheap, straightforward Creole cuisine that would hold its own in the Marigny.The Chicken Rochambeau (boneless fried chicken breast and ham on an English muffin, drenched in Poulette Sauce) and French Quarter Burger (thin beef patty with American cheese, served open-face on a cornbread pancake and covered in Creole Sauce) we tasted were original and satisfying. They each came with a side of red beans and rice, which would have been plenty. But oh no: Prior to the entrees, our server brought out a delicious, unadorned cornbread pancake and a New Orleans salad (lettuce with a dressing reminiscent of honey mustard).
This elevated the meal from lunch to feast, and all for under $7, making the New Orleans about the best bang for its buck in the entire city. Naturally, we ordered a pint of Abita to commemorate such good fortune.
The New Orleans, 114 1st Ave. S., neworleanscreolerestaurant.com, PIONEER SQUARE