This Sunday, Chef Emeril Lagasse brings you 3 distinct Game Day lunch menus at his New Orleans restaurants. So if you’re eating light (or saving calories for celebration booze), which restaurant gives you the most options?
I picked dishes with the healthiest ingredients and preparation, and any dish that could be lightened with one change. I thought I knew which restaurant would come out on top – but I found a few surprises.
For lunch on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 7) go to:
Delmonico for the appetizers. Make a meal from small or medium plates of bresaola (cured beef), lean pancetta-wrapped dates, pickled or grilled vegetables, or a salad tossed with dried cherry vinaigrette.
Also tasty are the marinated gold beets, served with housemade yogurt and pine nuts; steamed mussels in a chili broth with cilantro; butternut squash risotto with ginger; and Gulf shrimp sautéed with arugula pesto.
Look for the rabbit crepes layered with pancetta, mushrooms, and mascarpone cheese (this is an especially high-fat cheese, so ask for half the usual amount.)
Small plates are great; just be aware that you’ll want to eat more when there’s a variety of foods. That whole taste-saturation thing.
Emeril’s for the salads. The heartiest salads are here – you’ll find jumbo lump crab meat, marinated beets, boiled egg, country ham and cucumbers on the chopped romaine salad, which is then tossed in a gorgonzola red-wine vinaigrette (a great way to deliver cheese with a lot less fat.)
Butter lettuce gets a boost with Gulf shrimp, local citrus and smoked bacon (ask for half); it’s all drizzled with truffled vinaigrette. Rounding out the greens is Emeril’s Salad, which gets protein from pepper jack cheese. Pair this with the soup of the day or the scrambled eggs appetizer on brioche (cleverly paired with caviar, so there’s no need for added salt.)
NOLA for the entrées. Nearly everything here can work with your diet. Most promising is the seared yellowfin tuna, laced with avocado and cucumber and a ponzu, or citrus, vinaigrette; just ask for the wasabi aioli on the side. Wild mushrooms make a meatless bolognese sauce, which is paired with angel hair pasta.
A duck confit and fried egg pizza works, as long as the crust isn’t deep dish; so does a smoked turkey breast sandwich – ask for a single slice of bacon, and get the garlic mayo on the side.
The Carolina-style pulled pork panini is inspired on roasted onion bread, though go easy on the pepperjack cheese. Ask them to hold the green onion hush puppies.
Another good-sounding sandwich is the Parma ham, goat cheese and basil panini. Keep in mind that paninis are often loaded with extra cheese to make the grilled gooey halves go together, so ask for half the usual amount of cheese here. It’s served with tomato soup, by the way.
Delmonico for the desserts. I named Emeril’s Delmonico the 4th best light dessert menu in the city, and those same fantastic desserts are on the Super Bowl menu. See them here.
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Emeril’s New Orleans, with Chef de Cuisine David Slater, 800 Tchoupitoulas St. (504) 528.9393. Serving lunch on Super Bowl Sunday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
NOLA Restaurant, with Chef de Cuisine Joshua Laskay, 534 Saint Louis St. (504) 522.6652. Serving lunch on Super Bowl Sunday from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Emeril’s Delmonico, with Chef de Cuisine Spencer Minch, 1300 St. Charles Ave. (504) 525.4937. Serving lunch on Super Bowl Sunday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. **Complimentary valet parking will be on the corner of Prytania & Erato due to parades.