ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
The menus of most premium steakhouses are interchangeable. Shrimp remoulade, crab cakes, wedge salad. Filet, strip, ribeye. Baked potato, broccoli au gratin, creamed spinach. Bread pudding, chocolate mousse, cheesecake. There is no sign of this uniformity at Doris Metropolitan, a major new steak joint in the French Quarter.
Doris Metropolitan is not only unconventional, but a little mysterious. That starts with the name. Dori is one of the owners, but the signmaker left the apostrophe out, and they liked the suggestion that someone named Doris works there. They let it be. (It’s pronounced “door-eez.”) Beef cuts we’ve never heard of before interrupt the usual steaks, but nobody will tell you what the “Classified Cut” or the “Butcher’s Cut” actually are. The starters, sides, and desserts include only a few familiarities.
All of this conspires to make the place cool and very busy.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
We needed a new direction in the well-populated steakhouse category. Dry-aged beef disappeared from most steakhouse menus during the last twenty years or so, absent now from steak shops that once bragged about having it. Doris Metropolitan heads in the opposite direction, offering dry-aged strips, ribeyes, and porterhouse steaks. You decide whether you want it aged 21 or 31 days. Also unique are offbeat signature cuts, prepared in atypical ways. For example the Classified Cut (I think it’s a skewed cut of flank, but I’m not sure and they won’t say) at first gets the plastic-bag-in-hot-water sous vide treatment, then is grilled briefly. It emerges very tender.
WHAT’S GOOD The steaks are unimpeachable–except perhaps for their lofty prices. (Most are in the $40s.) The beef is flavorful, accurately broiled, and eminently satisfying. The rest of the offerings are less convincing. Past a brilliant heirloom tomato salad and an equally good beet salad, few grabbers are found either among the starters, sides, or desserts.
The original two locations of Doris were both in Israel. The trio of owners sold them in 2010, then traveled to Costa Rica to open the next Doris. A change in travel schedules had them in New Orleans a couple of years ago. They found the city so engaging that they opened #4 here in mid-2013. The building–a hal-block from Jackson Square–is the former Alpine Cafe, a long-running, bohemian hangout for many mediocre decades.
The restaurant is smaller than it at first seems. The main dining room is literally walled with wine from a very good list. A lot of customers like to dine on the courtyards around the back of the kitchen, which shares a tight slot with the always-full bar and a display case for the meats. A bigger beef display is behind the hostess stand. The glass walls offer an instructive display of how beef is dry-aged. The service staff is efficient and entertaining.
»Tomato celebration salad (four kinds of tomato, kalamata olives, lebneh, manchego cheese)
Grilled artichoke salad, tzatziki, sun-dried tomatoes, black garlic
»Beet root supreme, cheese-walnut filling, crème
Endive salad, fennel, carrots, shallots, walnuts, asparagus
»Sweetbreads, demi-glace, roasted poblano peppers, truffle oil
Tuna tartare, ginger, tobiko, sea beans, avocado, soy pearls
»Lamb chops, chickpeas, tahini-yogurt salad
Calamari salad, smoked eggplant cream, saffron potatoes, squid ink
Beef carpaccio, Parmigiana Reggiano, balsamic, arugula, jalapeno
Charred baladi eggplant, tahini, tomato, pine nuts
»Chateaubriand tartare, smoked paprika, shallots, capers, Dijon
mustard, quail yolk
Green salad, pomegranate seeds, kataifa, Parmigiana
Yellowfin tuna, cauliflower truffle cream, seasonal vegetables,
Fresh Gulf fish, semolina and herb crusted, beet gratin
Pan-glazed chicken, mushrooms, bacon, polenta, orange zest
»Veal cheeks braised in red wine, root vegetables, truffled
»”Falls off the bone” shpondra (short ribs, cooked 24 hours)
Doris burger, Gorgonzola, smoked gouda, mushrooms, caramelized onion, black garlic, garlic aioli, truffle fries
Bone-in Ribeye, cap off
»Ribeye aged 21-31 days
»»Bone-New York strip aged 21-31 days
Tenderloin 8-12 oz.
»Porterhouse 32 oz.
Chocolate pots de creme
Fresh berries with kataifa
FOR BEST RESULTS
Try to avoid the filets. They’re not bad, but the dry-aged cuts are superb. If you love roast beef poor boys, a cut of short ribs cooked for 24 hours delivers that taste. Most of the salads and appetizers are big enough to share.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
As different as they are, the sides are boring, and not helped by the way they come to the table less than piping hot.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar +2
- Hipness +2
- Local Color +1
- Courtyard or deck dining
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday dinner
- Reservations recommended