Drop Me Off in New Orleans

MY STATESMAN

With its handsome wicker chairs, art deco flooring and white tablecloths, chef John Besh’s Lüke in the Central Business District has a more genteel feel than R&O’s, but the seafood gumbo will make you roll up your white Oxford sleeves and drop your elbows to the table. The sumptuous roux, packed with shrimp, spicy sausage and crabmeat, flexes with brawny soul, and the croque monsieur sandwich disappears behind a melted drape of Emmenthaler cheese. But if you want to feel like a seersuckered trial lawyer, it’s best to start lunch with a scotch and the grand seafood platter, a tiered spire ringed with oysters, shrimp, clams, crab and mussels.

The kitchen at the restaurant that opened in 2007 puts delicate grace notes on a robust dish of pâté — nutmeg, smoked paprika and allspice in a dish that tastes like pork chocolate — with refined touches of pickled watermelon rind and a layer of sweet Moscato gelée.

By Matthew Odam

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