Tidbits: The Second Line
The most anticipated new restaurant of the year.
Chef Kelly English, above, greets guests at an opening party for The Second Line, his new restaurant and bar located next to Restaurant Iris.
Chef Kelly English tried to down play the opening of The Second Line, slipping out a tweet the Friday after Thanksgiving. His strategy didn’t work. So many people flocked to the refurbished bungalow on the corner of Cooper and Monroe that the kitchen ran out of food on the restaurant’s first day.
The most anticipated new restaurant of the year, The Second Line shares a kitchen with its acclaimed big sister Restaurant Iris, but the similarities between the siblings stop there (except for an exceptional fried oyster salad served on both menus). Trim the color of cooper patina and warm rust walls make The Second Line feel like a seasoned haunt for the workers of New Orleans and the food they love to eat. So does the menu, a straightforward one-sheet kicked off by appetizers such as meat pies, oyster rangoons, and slender skin-on fries loaded with crawfish, Andouille sausage, and pimento cheese.
While the appetizers mate well with cocktails and local beer, stay attentive to the menu’s mainstay, a genuine rendering of the po’boys English ate growing up. “People try to make po’boys too fancy,” English said. “A po’boy is tomato, mayo, lettuce, pickle, and the right bread. It’s the same sandwich over and over with a different filling.”
At The Second Line, the right French bread comes from Leidenheimer in New Orleans, a bakery family owned and operated for more than a century. Fillings change seasonally, so don’t miss the best bets for cold winter months: slow roasted beef or braised chicken thighs served with Swiss cheese and gravy and messy by design. “A po’boy has to drip down your arms after the first bite,” English explained. “And if you can’t figure out how to put it back on the plate, you know it’s authentic.”