When working your way through the list of New Orleans restaurants, everyone (including us) will tell you to hit Cochon, the much-lauded new(ish)comer to the Central Business District. You'll hear it so many times that you're sure there's no way it can live up to the hype or be as mind-blowingly awesome as everyone raves about. But somehow, it is. It's that good—if not better.
Donald Link, chef and owner behind the brainchild, created Cochon as a less-fancy-but-still-kinda-pricey alternative to his Herbsaint. It's Southern comfort done very, very well. You'll find items like a ham hock, cut from the glinting full hog you pass on the way to be seated. The pork is served with farro, cucumbers, and English peas. And there's an oyster and bacon sandwich that's not to be missed—you'll have room for a side of charred okra salad and feel good about eating your vegetables.
But it's the Rabbit Dumplings ($21) that are the real showstopper, and a staff favorite to boot. I come from a long line of rabbit hunters, and grew up eating the meat in everything from stew to pies, but I'd never had the pleasure of rabbit dumplings until my most recent visit to Cochon. The dish is cooked and served in a cast iron skillet, the piping hot vessel filled with pink, meaty chunks, bubbling in a thick sauce of those comforting kinds of vegetables: celery, carrot, turnips, onion, celery root with Worcestershire, white wine, butter and herbs. Finally, the buttermilk biscuits crown the dish—all four of them—in their oversized, golden glory.