There’s no escaping pork no matter where you travel in the US. Cochon is The Publican of New Orleans, right down to the prominent pig paintings. Or maybe The Publican is the Cochon of Chicago. Cochon Is two-and-a-half years older. I’m currently planning a Labor Day trip to San Francisco and Incanto is high on my list—are they cut from the same porcine cloth too? Bah, I’m still waiting for goat to go mainstream.
While scanning the menu and having a hard time deciding what I wanted as a main (I still think it’s odd that we were never told the specials and didn’t realize there were any until I started seeing a mysterious fish dish topped with an egg on tables appear on tables near us) since James claimed the namesake cochon, I also began wondering if the number of fedoras in the city shrinks drastically after Tales of the Cocktail is over. I also wondered if young men realize you’re not supposed to wear hats indoors—thank god the Wall Street Journal has taken up my cause.
The food is so rich and distinctly flavored that you could just order a bunch of the smaller dishes, share and be sated. My favorite might have been the paneed pork cheeks. They were so unique because if you hadn’t read the menu—or temporarily forgot like I did—you’d think you were eating al dente beans, curiously textured and pleasantly mealy. The little nubs were softened peanuts like you’d get boiled in the shell in the south. Add sharp radishes and unctous pork cheeks, and you have a combination not likely found elsewhere.
The mushroom salad also went down the unexpected pairing route by incorporating fried beef jerky, hints of cooling mint and thin wagon wheels of preserved lemons. Now that’s a way to serve vegetables.
Fried rabbit livers on toast got a lift from a savory, not terribly spicy pepper jelly.
Not feeling like embarking on one of the larger entrees, I ordered a bacon and fried oyster sandwich (not pictured) then regretted my choice after seeing the bowl of suckling pig, wintry cabbage and turnips (I actually like root cellar vegetables more than fresh warm weather ones) garnished with curled cracklings. Thankfully, it was too much meat for one person in one sitting and I was able to try a good portion of this delicacy.
Cochon * 930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA