We’re all told time and time again from our doctors, nutritionists, trainers and other health gurus to keep our consumption of red meat to a minimum. But doesn’t everyone, even Miss Mary, like a little lamb once in a while? Though it is often tarred with the same brush as beef, lamb doesn’t deserve such a “baaad” rap. As a matter of fact, lamb (especially grass-fed) has less calories, more omega-3’s and less saturated fat than beef. Though the nutritional benefits of lamb are beside the point, because when it comes down to it the fact is lamb, especially when prepared by New Orleans chefs, is altogether delicious and affordable.
Take, for example, the smoked lamb leg at Toups South. Chef Isaac Toups has a magical hand with anything meat-related (see his flagship restaurant Toups’ Meatery in Mid-City) and he’s brought those well-honed skills to the dishes at his Central City restaurant located on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. Offered as an appetizer, the smoked lamb is thinly sliced and topped with a sweet corn “chow chow” (pickled relish), roasted red pepper and aged sheep cheese. One taste and you’ll be gobbling it up faster than you can say “fleece.” At only $13 a plate, you can also order some of his sourdough biscuits with crab fat butter, the combination of which makes an enviable meal by any standards.
For a completely different lamb experience, skip over to Mason Hereford’s new yet already-famous Turkey and the Wolf sandwich joint on the corner of Annunciation and Jackson in the Lower Garden District. Employing the heady flavors of India, Hereford has created a sandwich or wrap featuring lamb neck that has been slow-cooked in chiles and carraway and served on roti (pan-fried flatbread) with cucumbers, onions, fresh herbs and lemon-laced yogurt. This excellent wrap will only set you back $10.50, leaving plenty of change for “Men About Town” cocktail with scotch, hibiscus and honey or a dish of vanilla soft serve with tahini and date molasses.
If you’re looking for something a bit more “old-school,” drop in for lunch at Shaya, a part of the Besh Restaurant Group made famous by James Beard Award-winning chef Alon Shaya. Offering a modern take on classic Israeli cuisine, Shaya features several affordable lamb dishes like his tangy, tomato-based Lamb Ragú hummus sprinkled with crispy chick peas or the juicy lamb kebab marinated in garlicky yogurt, grilled and served with tomatoes, pine nuts and tahini. Naturally, you couldn’t possibly eat either dish without several helpings of their wood-fired pita bread leaving you so full you won’t even be able to finish a cup of halva espresso … but we’re sure you’ll try.
But maybe all of this is just too much. You want a simpler taste, something more familiar yet completely different? How about a burger? At either location, uptown on Freret Street or downtown on Girod, Adam Biederman’s Company Burger offers a luscious, juicy lamb burger topped with red onion, feta cheese and a chili mint glaze served on their buttery buns for only $12. Top it off with some tater tots or a Steen’s Malted Vanilla Shake and you’ve got one heck of a lunch. Isn’t it time you tried a little lamb?
*Article originally published in the April 2017 issue of Where Y’at Magazine
*Toups South is closed