It’s hard to know where to start with our brunch at Compere Lapin. It was our last day in New Orleans, and we’d had incredible meals at Maypop, Annunciation, and Trinity for dinner, and at Sylvain for brunch. Meanwhile, we’d found Cane & Table’s brunch to be so-so but the cocktails top notch. It turns out that we’d saved the best for last with Compere Lapin, which was one of the better meals we’ve ever had.
I’d been traveling with Steph, my college best friend, and we hustled our hungover tails across the French Quarter and to Compere Lapin, which means “Brother Rabbit” in French and serves French Creole food.
The restaurant is housed in a high-end, boutique hotel that’s designed to give off the hipster-approved industrial, vintage vibes. It’s a bit industrial overboard: a dark wooden check-in counter, metal industrial stools, Edison light bulbs, chalk boards with old-timey font. But, we didn’t hate it. In addition to the restaurant, there’s also an art gallery in the hotel. This is charming little spot to add to our list of boutique hotels we adore. Compere Lapin continues with this masculine, vintage aura, with its dark wooden booths, exposed brick walls, and black-and-white tile floors. We were seated in a large, wooden booth by the window, and took in the crowd of brunchers and waiters bustling by the beautiful bar in the center of the space. It’s worth noting that this crowd is far better dressed than the rest of New Orleans patrons.
We began with black coffees, brûléed grapefruit, and avocado toast. The brûléed grapefruit was classically done, with the perfect casing of burnt sugar. We appreciated that each individual section was cut, making it easy to eat with the provided spoons.
Much like the grapefruit, the avocado toast was clean, fresh and simple—just enormous chunks of avocado and thinly sliced radishes atop fluffy, fresh, French bread. It’s from here that the meal would get oh-so-interesting.
This is the South, so hush puppies are a must. The flavor changes seasonally, but on our visit it was a spicy Creole shrimp. They were absolutely delicious. While they looked dark and fried on the outside, inside, the hush puppies were fluffy beyond belief. The mustard aioli was flavorful and creamy, but you didn’t need it as the shrimp filling packed a punch. This dish just tasted like New Orleans.
Everyone loves everything bagels, but an everything bagel doughnut is a whole ‘nother story. As this was to be our gluttonous last hurrah in New Orleans, we ordered both the tuna tartare on an everything bagel and the fresh hamachi on an everything bagel doughnut. Yes, you read that right.
The tuna tartare was stunning: beautiful, fresh tuna, with dollops of avocado crema, sliced micro-radishes and a creamy, spicy aioli atop a heavenly house-made bagel. This dish combines this Bitch’s two favorite things: Everything bagels and tuna tartare. And, it could not have been executed more beautifully.
The award for most memorable brunch dish goes to the everything doughnut with fresh hamachi. This was an inventive take on your lox and bagel. The mini doughnut was moist and fluffy, with fresh, raw hamachi sandwiched in between. It was topped with cream cheese, everything sprinkles, and fresh fish roe. I told myself just one bite, but after one bite I couldn’t resist eating my entire half, and covering my face in cream cheese and my lap in crumbs in the process. It was utterly delectable.
We love truffles, so we continued the decadence with the truffled fondutta, a little pot of mushroom, truffle, melted cheese heaven—with a poached egg concealed inside. The buttered, toasted bread alongside was absolute heaven—as was everything at Compere Lapin that day.
I love chia seed pudding, so I knew I had to try the chia seed and coconut pudding with fresh berries. Steph was initially skeptical, but when the dish arrived she was singing a different tune. This was one of the most photogenic plates we’ve seen, and was just utterly delicious. It’s great that a hearty, Southern restaurant has a dairy- and gluten-free dish on its menu. But, in true Nina Compton fashion, it was delectable and satisfying.
I love sharing French toast for dessert at brunch, so that’s exactly what we did. Again, the coconut-crusted French toast looked a bit crispy and overdone on first blush, but it was, in fact, anything but. The rounds of fried bread were buttery and fluffy inside, and oh-so-delectable when covered in a pecan rum sauce. A very New Orleans take on French toast.
At the end of our meal, Steph, who had been traveling and brunching with me quite a bit lately, looked at me with satisfaction saying, “Good work, boss. This is definitely your best brunch yet.” We were pleased to end another great girls weekend on a high note, but not terribly thrilled about the Monday to come.
The Bitches say: A+ for incredible, inventive food, in a chic, vintage ambiance from a lady boss chef. We’ll dream of this brunch for years to come.
533 Tchoupitoulas Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Compere Lapin serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.