Brasserie 19's arrival to the River Oaks Shopping Center was accompanied by a wealth of expectations. But for its smart décor and spot-on New Orleans atmosphere, Brasserie succeeds. Comparisons to the French Quarter landmark Galatoire's are inevitable, although the refreshing dining room is replete with white marble block tables and striking hanging light fixtures that are at once tinged with Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Atomic Age aesthetics. Consistently packed, the people-watching here is the best in town — Brasserie 19 joins Ninfa's as the best place to find a visiting celebrity — and the menu of Gulf-inspired classics has settled in from an under-whelming opening.
For all its reliance on brasserie mainstays, Brasserie 19 went out on a limb with its wine list, which exists solely on an iPad distributed to each table upon arrival. At first gimmicky, the device offers a treasure trove of otherwise inaccessible information about each label. Diners (or drinkers) can assess bottles by region, variety, vintage, name and bottle size. Alternatively, the finger can roam a world map, which can further be narrowed in by national provinces.