Lucy Browne's on Varick (flipped from Steak Frites) officially opens today after an opening party last night that rechristened the "wholesome American" restaurant born of that Francophile factory (on Bastille Day, no less). And the early word is ... confusion.
It's got an oyster Po' Boy, so it's New Orleans grub, right? Our pain over the recent loss of the nearby Bourbon Street Southern Gourmet Pantry on Hudson Street will be eased. Not so. The sammy is stacked with apple-smoked bacon and other assorted travesties to the saints of the Bayou (first Katrina, and now this?).
And then there's a dish dubbed NOLA Shrimp and Grits, but opinion about whether or not shrimp and grits constitutes a New Orleans dish is decidedly mixed. Many people (except those who a couple of months ago were running a French restaurant on Hudson Square) think shrimp and grits represents a contribution of the Carolinas. Then take a look at the Crab Cakes and you think we're talking about the best the Mid-Atlantic has to offer, right? Well, you forgot about the nachos and the Beer Battered Fish and Chips.
Well at least, in the style of the day, the place offers not one, but two new burger creations. The house burger, so-called Lucy's Juicy again comes topped with that apple-smoked bacon and cheddar. The crowning achievement as far as burger hounds may be concerned though, is the La Frieda blend Big O (named for its creator, food blogger Josh Orzersky, not for the way it makes you moan when you eat it).
So in the end, the big changeover has turned Steak Frites into a pretty good place for meat eaters -- and not such a good place if you are looking for French or Cajun fare. Which is pretty much what it was before.