* Click here for rating key
THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Gerard's Downtown Restaurant Review: Freshness is a relative term when it comes to restaurant food, and the standard for it in New Orleans is set in the kitchen of Gerards Downtown, which opened in late 1998. Proprietor-chef Gerard Maras relies on his own, homegrown garden for much of the vegetables gracing the plates at Gerards. And he uses them to excellent advantage, in some of the most straightforward, rewarding food youll encounter. Crisp salad greens, pungent or delicate in flavor, glory in the presence of such additives as Parmigiano-Reggiano, satiny goat cheese, dulcet strawberries, bracingly seasoned crab meat and ripe avocado. Crab reappears with nuggets of fresh asparagus in a state-of-the-art risotto. A butter-moistened cake of sliced potato escorts a thick and luscious pork chop swathed in herbs. The kitchens self-sufficiency extends to the delicious breads, and paper-thin, velvety ravioli holding bits of lobster in a broth with the subtle flavors of leek and saffron. Desserts can range from homey and hearty fruit tarts to the irresistible dessert called Theobrama, a pat of super-rich dark-chocolate cake submerged in a milk-chocolate sauce and topped with whipped cream. Enjoy them while contemplating the dining rooms view of the marble columns of the stately old City Hall and the nearby grove of sinuous oak trees in Lafayette Square. Olive-hued walls and deep-red mahogany furniture give the single dining room a cozy warmth.