723 Dante Street, New Orleans, LA 70118
LOCAL FARMS *** LOCAL FISH *** LOCAL FLAVORS
Our Menu Changes Daily
Derived from the French word for ‘awakening,’ Reveillon originally was a meal served after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Early New Orleans was almost entirely Catholic, and virtually the entire community would participate in these ceremonies. Families would return from the late-night service famished and set upon a feast prepared in advance and laid out on the table or sideboard. A typical early Reveillon menu looked very much like breakfast, with egg dishes, breads and puddings, but could also include turtle soup, oysters and grillades of veal. Naturally, the Creoles accompanied these rich repasts with wines, cordials and other fortified drinks. The dinners could last for many hours, and by some accounts even until dawn.
Through the 19th century, American holiday conventions like Christmas trees, gifts for children and shopping frenzies began gradually to establish themselves in New Orleans and supplant many of the Creole traditions. By the turn of the century, Reveillon dinners could be found only in traditional homes, and by the 1940s the custom was all but extinct.
Reawakening the Reveillon
In the 1990s, however, the Reveillon tradition was ‘reawakened’ and transformed. The organization French Quarter Festivals Inc., interested in attracting travelers to New Orleans during the perennial holiday season lull in convention bookings, approached local restaurants with an idea to offer and promote special holiday menus. Restaurants eagerly embraced the idea and soon so did their local regulars and out of town visitors.
Frank Brigtsen is at the forefront of a new generation of New Orleans chefs who are revitalizing Creole/Acadian cooking. Co-owner of Brigtsen's Restaurant with his wife, Marna, Frank has applied an inventive personal touch to seven years of training in classic Louisiana cooking under internationally acclaimed Chef Paul Prudhomme. Patrons praise his ability to ingeniously incorporate local ingredients into his unique menu, which changes daily.
Frank utilizes his native New Orleans palate to create dishes that pay tribute to the traditions of Louisiana cuisine. Gene Bourg, writing as restaurant critic for The Times-Picayune, described Frank's interpretation of Creole/Acadian food as a "reaffirmation that Louisiana cooking is America's most durable and satisfying. Brigtsen's is now the place against which all other restaurants serving South Louisiana cuisine have to be measured."
The reception he has received in the culinary community confirms Bourg's assessment. In 1988, Food & Wine named Frank "ONE OF AMERICA'S TOP TEN NEW CHEFS." In 1994, Frank was chosen "CHEF OF THE YEAR" in New Orleans magazine's annual poll of local chefs and restaurateurs. He also received the James Beard Award for "AMERICAN EXPRESS BEST CHEF: SOUTHEAST" in 1998.
Critics have been equally quick to heap praise on Brigtsen's Restaurant. Gene Bourg, writing as restaurant critic for The Times-Picayune, gave Brigtsen's a "Five-Bean" (Superior) rating in both of his reviews. New Orleans restaurant critic Tom Fitzmorris rates Brigtsen's 94/100. Restaurant diners voted Brigtsen's "TOP CAJUN RESTAURANT" in the 2000 Zagat survey.
Frank began his culinary career in 1973 while attending Louisiana State University. In 1979, he apprenticed at Commander's Palace Restaurant under the guidance of Chef Paul Prudhomme. In 1980, Frank became the first Night Chef at K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen when the restaurant began dinner service. During his seven-year tenure with Chef Prudhomme at K-Paul's, Frank attained the position of Executive Chef. Chef Paul and his wife K Prudhomme were instrumental in helping Frank and Marna open Brigtsen's in 1986. Frank supports numerous charitable endeavors, including Second Harvest food bank and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation.
Chef Brigtsen is a strong believer in culinary education and shares his passion for Creole and Acadian cuisine through his roles as Adjunct Professor at The John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University and Chef-in-Residence at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA). He is a member of the American Culinary Federation.
Top Ten New Chefs in America
Food & Wine Magazine
Chef of the Year
New Orleans Magazine
Best Chef: Southeast
James Beard Foundation Awards
|Restaurateur of the Year||La. Restaurant Association (New Orleans Chapter)|
|Lafcadio Hearn Award||The John Folse Culinary Institute||2012|
|Hall of Fame Induction||Louisiana Restaurant Association||2012|
|Chef Paul Prudhomme Award||American Culinary Federation||2016|
Five Beans (Superior Rating)
Gene Bourg, restaurant critic,
The Times-Picayune newspaper,
Lauriers Du Terroir Award
The Best of New Orleans
Good Value Dining Award
Travel & Holiday Magazine
Distinguished Restaurants Of North America
Fine Dining Hall of Fame
Nation's Restaurant News
Tom Fitzmorris, restaurant critic,
Menu Magazine, WSMB Radio
Top Cajun Restaurant
Zagat Survey, New Orleans
Restaurant & Institutions
James Beard Foundation
|Top 10 Restaurants in New Orleans||The Times-Picayune/nola.com||various|
Brigtsen's has an opening for an experienced server. Please inquire here.