A great thing about going to a new place is having a local show you some of the hidden gems.  Even though a med school student doesn’t get out much, she knew a perfect place to take us for our last night in town.  This spot is not very well known and you would pass by it during the day and not even think twice about stopping.  The name of the restaurant is Bacchanal and they have a very unique concept of operation that I am surprised has not spread around the States.

Taken from their website, this is all you’ll see at 600 Poland St.  No big signs, if you didn’t know to go here, you would have a very hard time finding it.  It is located in a residential neighborhood that is sort of an artists’ colony in New Orleans.  I guess that’s why they don’t mind the nightly music which travels throughout the neighborhood.

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The first thing you see when you walk in is that you’re in the middle of a small wine shop.  They also have cheese and some cold cuts for sale.

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Here is where this gets brilliant.  You select one or more bottles of wine, some cheese and meats if you like and then take it to the counter to pay.  After paying they give you a number and direct you to the back of the house.  They take all that you have bought and will then plate the assortment and add in bread, some added “fixins” like gherkins and orange marmalade and then meet you out back.  The way out to the back is going through a little portal and then finding yourself in the house’s backyard which is full of tables and stand bars with a stage at the far end which has a jazz band playing.  There is also a stairway to an upstairs and that is where the band plays in inclement weather.

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The food you purchased is then brought as shown below, but if you want hot dishes you can order from the waiter.  My wife and daughter got a bowl of mussels and some other seafood that they raved about.  I simply enjoyed the wine and cheese.

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We first heard a French band Harmonouche playing kind of folk music in French and then a second band came on that was more traditional New Orleans jazz.  Both were fun to listen to.  One thing about New Orleans is that they have a wide variety of music styles.  Closing time is midnight, although us old folks didn’t stay to the end.

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So now you have a great little secret to share with your friends or check out yourself next time you are in NOLA.

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