True confession: One of my favorite local dishes is “Filet Stanley”—filet mignon flanked by cooked bananas and two sauces (marchand de vin and horseradish cream). That’s right, steak, bananas and savory sauces; it’s divine.
I first had the dish at Brennan’s, and most who know me well know it is my weakness. It is also a little-known secret that the dish is part of the wider Brennan family food cannon that includes Ella Brennan of Commander’s Palace and a long-ago trip to New York where chopped steak and bananas was eaten and became an inspiration.
Of course there is no discussion of New Orleans and bananas without Brennan’s famously infamous bananas Foster, a simple dessert that is mired in myth, but its invention mostly had to do with trying to figure out how to use a surplus of the fruit. Combining them with rum, butter, brown sugar and liqueur over ice cream, well, that's sheer New Orleans chef genius.
Savory or sweet, the following dishes prove there is no denying the banana’s importance to the New Orleans’ menu.
Chef Slade Rushing has reimagined the grande dame's “Filet of Beef Stanley," serving a filet mignon with horseradish-banana puree, trumpet mushroom confit, scallions and périgourdine sauce.
The bananas Foster sno-ball may be Wednesdays only at this beloved Uptown institution, but it’s worth planning for. Pillowy shaved ice topped with a rum-butter syrup and slices of banana; it’s otherworldly.
This Warehouse District gem has a wonderfully diverse menu with robust vegetarian and meat options, including the “Rico,” a sort-of sandwich that uses a grilled plantain patty as "bread" to hold pulled pork, avocado, salsa and a tangy-sweet-spicy sauce.
The tostones (flattened and fried savory plantains) here are deliciously dusted with a seasoning blend, and served with warm tomato salsa.
The cocktails at Jeff "Beachbum" Berry's tiki temple are brilliant, all of them, but big love goes out to the "Mississippi Mermaid," composed of vodka, tamarind, allspice, lemon and banana.
One of the best starters on the menu at this Caribbean hot spot is “Cold Smoked Tuna Tartar” with avocado and crispy bananas.
This French Quarter outpost for African fare (and the Jazzfest favorite "Jama Jama") also serves a nice baked chicken leg and thigh with fried sweet plantains, sauteed spinach and coconut rice.
Breakfast is easy and so satisfying at this Uptown bistro, especially when it includes Nutella-and-banana crepes.
Willa Jean Bakery
Two incredibly tender, tasty words to remember here: Banana bread.