New Orleans Comes to LA at Preux & Proper

Eating in New Orleans is one of my favorite annual trips. After all, in New Orleans they know how to fry food like nobody’s business. Po boys, beignets, gumbo….what’s not to like?!?! And, now Angelenos don’t have to travel across the country to enjoy these dishes because Preux & Proper is here.

Located in Downtown LA, wedged between Spring and Main Streets, you might even think for a moment that you are in New Orleans. With second story windows lining the narrow, two story brick building, you can just imagine people throwing down beads. If it wasn’t so quiet in this part of town and the patrons were not wearing so many articles of clothing, you’d be fooled.

Preux & Proper Exterior

As I entered the restaurant, I passed the ground floor bar (Preux) with slushy machines. But, we didn’t stop here until we were on the way out.

Preux & Proper

Upstairs (Proper) there is another full bar (sans slushy machines) and a full dining room. The drink menu consists of traditional New Orleans cocktails (French 75, Pimm’s Cup, Vieux Carre and Sazerac) as well as variations on other classics (The West Side, Blackberry Honey Sour, Lemon Smash, Category 6). As we were a large group, we shared a Lemon Smash in a punch bowl and then ordered individual cocktails.

Lemon Smash Punch Bowl  Pimm's Cup French 75 Blackberry Honey SourThe West SideCategory 6 Vieux CarreSazerac

If you can tear yourself away from the cocktails, the wine list is a creative selection of international wines from California, Italy, France, Spain and Washington. But, on this outing, we stuck with cocktails. Once the table was filled with drinks, it was time to get down to the food.

Like most good meals, we started with fresh oysters on the half shell. The oysters for the night were Fanny Bay from British Columbia.

Oysters on the Half Shell

As we finished the oysters, the Smoked Shimp Beignets arrived. Whether sweet or savory, how can you not love those little fried fritters? And, the smokiness of the shrimp balanced well with the tart preserved lemon and tartar sauce ($10).

Smoked Shrimp Beignets

Instead of a traditional muffuletta loaf which is split and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone, the Muffaletta Board is a deconstructed version. Filled with cured meats, cheese, olives, fig jam and grilled bread, the Muffaletta Board is a great option for sharing ($16).

Muffaletta Board

As we were a large table, the Cajun Corn Nuts ($4) and Pickles ($4) are great sides to share as well. Well, I would say to share but I think I might have eaten all of the corn nuts. They are addictive.

Cajun Corn Nuts Pickles

Someone else in the group ordered the Crispy Frog Legs, served with chilies, sauce picante and coriander seeds ($12). While I have managed to never try frog legs before, I did on this occasion and they were very good, very crispy on the outside and delicate on the inside.

Crispy Frog Legs

The majority of the menu is under “shared plates” so we kept ordering.

The Steam Pot with house-made andouille, crab, shrimp, corn, potato and saffron court bouillon is a flavorful dish and the soft bread quickly absorbs the broth.

Steam Pot

The Grilled Beef Short Ribs is one of my favorite dishes. The tender meat has an abita (beer) marinade and sits on top of cajun kimchi, adding a little Asian flair ($14).

Grilled Beef Short Ribs

The Wood Roasted Chicken is served with gumbo fried rice, sautéed greens and hot sauce ($18). While chicken may not be the most exciting thing to order in a restaurant, this chicken is very flavorful and the gumbo fried rice was so tasty that we ordered an extra side of it. The gumbo fried rice was another fun little play with an Asian flair mixing fried rice with okra.

Wood Roasted Chicken Gumbo Fried Rice

Of course, we could not forget the Po’Boys – a Fried Oyster Po’Boy with cornmeal, arugula, tartar sauce and tomato ($13) and a Lobster Po’Boy with avocado, remoulade, lettuce and hot sauce ($18). I am partial to the fried oyster po’boy because I loved the crispy cornmeal batter.

Fried Oyster Po'Boy