The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Must-sees in the Big Easy: Luke and the Besh restaurants

A few short blocks from the Sheraton New Orleans, you can find a friendly, up-scale corner restaurant and bar with a menu full of gems based on traditional French and German cuisine--with an unmistakable touch of Southern Louisiana.

The Luke Restaurant, located at 333 St. Charles Ave., in the Hilton hotel, is a traditional brasserie from Chef John Besh and Blake LeMaire. Besh, a Marine Corps veteran of the Gulf War, is well known in the New Orleans community and around the country. LeMaire, whom Besh calls the "businessman" behind their ventures, is a Marine Corps friend of Besh's, who recently served in Afghanistan.

You may recognize Besh's face from Next Iron Chef on the Food Network or Top Chef Masters on Bravo. Besh's restaurants have earned James Beard Foundation awards and are consistently named among the best in Louisiana.

According to LeMaire, what Besh and Chef Steven McHugh bring to the table at Luke is a wealth of culinary experience and a love for German and French cuisine. This passion is reflected in the menu through such staples as the croque monsieur, flamenkueche, shrimp "en cocette," or even the Luke Burger.

Luke also features a full raw bar and three locally-crafted beers brewed exclusively for the restaurant.

The environment is relaxed and the staff is courteous and attentive.

Within walking distance of the Sheraton New Orleans, Besh also has two additional restaurants. For an unforgettable formal dining experience, visit August at 301 Tschoupitoulas Street. If you're interested in a steak, visit Besh Steak House inside the Harrah's Casino. All of the Besh restaurants are veteran-owned businesses.

Chef John Besh and Blake LeMaire sat down with American Veteran magazine this week in New Orleans. Be on the look-out for the fall issue of American Veteran, where we will highlight Besh, LeMaire, their military service, and the way the Marine Corps has helped mold their mastery of the restaurant industry.

(Photo: The bar at Luke Restaurant. To the left, you can see the Marine Corps sabres hanging over the bar, as well as the unmistakable eagle, globe and anchor on the wall. Photo by Ryan Gallucci.)

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