In New Orleans, pretty much every day is a little like brunch–casual, slow to start, and infused with hair-of-the-dog. So it’s appropriate that Loosie’s Kitchen–the Big Easy-themed restaurant that is partner to Loosie Rouge, the Big Easy themed bar that abuts it–started serving brunch last weekend.
While none of Loosie’s four co-owners is from New Orleans, the city is a model for their values: Eating and drinking are done in service of chilling out. When you arrive for brunch via a trellis-lined walkway that ends in an indoor-outdoor space with bohemian rugs, Mediterranean hues, and a big ceiling fan, you will understand they are serious about giving you a vacation the length of a meal, and they will not hurry you through it.
I went to Loosie’s on Saturday with a couple of hardened brunch skeptics. But much like the initial descent into New Orleans (especially if you’re coming from New York), you’re likely to forget you were ever grouchy the moment you get there. The background music is all over the place (James Brown, old-school hip hop, Carla Bruni, reggae), but held together by one loose yet important thread. “At the end of the day, it’s all very groovy,” explains co-owner Vincent Marino, a social butterfly and DJ with a background in the club scene, who may not be wearing shoes when you meet him.
If none of this charms you, you are likely a person immune to charm in general, and definitely the charm of brunch, specifically. But if a friend drags you there anyway, here’s what to focus on: the cocktail list. Arnaud Dissais, previously of Daniel, makes recipes with a sense of humor (the “Bloody Merry,” the “Arnaud Palmer”) and they are delicious. His version of the half-tea, half-lemonade thirst quencher involves hibiscus-infused black tea, Creme de Cassis, Lillet Rouge, Cynar, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, and gin–a big mix of flavors that winds up being mild and balanced; when you finish, you will wish your cup were as big as a bathtub.
For your meal, get the French toast or fried chicken sandwich. Better, get a French toast for the table and have your own sandwich. The toast is cut into blocks that are stacked into a Jenga tower and dressed with fruit and maple syrup. As my friend noted, the bread is doused with egg but not soggy. We started to wonder how they make this happen, but then we were told to use our hands to eat the toast blocks and concentrated on that instead.
The fried chicken sandwich is crunchy and honey coated. A runny egg and a layer of slaw easily elevate the flavor and texture. Personally, I was excited about the house-blend hot sauce that comes on the side. For once, I didn’t have to ask the server to turn right around to get some whenever she had a minute. Loosie’s understands hot sauce is as integral to the sandwich as the bun.
One miss: The bed of guacamole beneath the Poached Crawfish and Eggs. It was bland. Luckily, my portion of hot sauce was large so my friend used some to nurse the guacamole to health and then clean her plate.
By the end of the meal, even my most-brunch-hardened friend was contented. He sat drinking an Abita Light, looking at the attractive patio, but from inside, protected from a 90 degree heat scourge. The groovy music nudged his mouth into subtle smile position. Then he started to nod-off—the ultimate sign of chilling out. And for a New Orleans-themed brunch in Brooklyn, a success.
91 S. 6th Street, Williamsburg