* Click here for rating key
Irene's Cuisine Restaurant Review: Reminiscent of the now-shuttered Elaine’s in New York, Irene’s relies for atmosphere at least partly on lining the walls with photos of regular customers and famous patrons. The dining rooms are intimate (even a bit snug), and the waiters are old favorites in the French Quarter. A décor enriched with garlic braids, crockery and gewgaws proclaims Sicilian influences, as does the menu, although a Creole accent also comes through to ground many of the dishes in their New Orleans roots. The cooking relies on southern Italian sauces, rather than the truffles-and-cream cuisine of northern Italy. For instance, a marinara with a toss of garlic and oil is notable in its simplicity. For more complex pairings of seasonings, consider the tender veal Marsala, and grilled red snapper with shrimp and peppers. Italian-style baked Alaska aflame with grappa makes a good conclusion. The wine list features Italian selections that pair well with the lusty food. Service is efficient, considering the space configuration. Be prepared to wait for a table most nights, and know in advance that you will probably be doing so outdoors.