Tuesday, August 16, 2011

O’Brien’s Grille | Upscale Steakhouse

This is my article that ran in the August issue of The West Bank Beacon.
While in high school, Ken Theriot worked as a bus boy at the original West Bank Ruth’s Chris Steak House on Stephens Street in Gretna.  Immediately after graduation, Ken was a waiter at one of the most prestigious restaurants in the metro area – LeRuth’s. Two years later he embarked on a career as a bartender with stints at T. Pittari’s, The Fairmont Hotel, Visko’s, and Salvadore’s Disco.
In 1988, Ken opened the very popular Parkside Café in Towne Square Shopping Center at 601 Terry Parkway. The business thrived and he sold it in 1996. During his Parkside days, Ken also opened Drive Side Daquiris in the parking lot of Parkside.

In 2001, Ken bought a piece of land on Belle Chasse Highway and built what is now the flagship Drive Side Daquiris.  His goal was to build a restaurant, and in March 2005, the financing for the restaurant was approved. But as we all know, Katrina had other plans for this area in 2005. Three years later, Ken and his wife, Patti O’Brien, opened O’Brien’s Grille on St. Patrick’s Day 2008. 
Ken’s goal was to fill the void in fine dining on the West Bank. To achieve that goal, he hired local chef Matthew Donelon who sharpened his skills cooking at two prominent CBD restaurants: Cuvee and Rene Bistrot.

The lunch menu is extensive. Appetizers include oyster & artichoke cheesecake ($11), BBQ shrimp ($12), jumbo lump crab au gratin ($14), grilled scallops ($14), and crawfish cakes ($9). There are 8 entrée salads including the steak & spinach salad ($13), Cajun cobb salad ($13), green goddess chicken salad tossed in LeRuth’s green goddess dressing ($13), and a roasted beet and crab salad ($12). The sandwich menu offers an Irish dip – sliced corn beef and shaved prime rib $(15), BBQ duck breast ($15), prime rib ($14), Cuban ($13), and a grilled chicken wrap ($13). All lunch sandwiches are served with your choice of french fries or fruit salad.

The lunch entrees include a good selection of steaks: 6 ounce petite filet ($23), 12 ounce cut ($36), 12 ounce prime rib ($23), 20 ounce ($34), bone in 22 ounce ribeye ($38), New York strip ($36), double cut bone-in pork chop ($27), and for the fish lovers – grilled blackened tuna ($21). Make sure to ask about lunch specials. Recently the lunch special was a big, thick veal chop that according to a good source, was the best veal chop anywhere ever.
Wedge salad
The dinner menu includes most of the appetizers offered at lunch. One salad offered only at dinner is the blue cheese wedge salad ($6). In addition to steaks, the dinner menu also includes braised beef short ribs served with parmesan and truffle mac & cheese ($29), seared crisp snapper with lump crab meat and a Creole beurre blanc ($27), crispy shrimp and corn grits ($23), and grilled salmon ($26). 
Filet topped with lump crabmeat
O’Brien’s interior is a pleasant contrast to its stark exterior. The dark wood bar, hand-built by Ken, is the first thing you see upon entry. It is well-stocked and seats 6 people. The narrow dining room has a sleek, art deco design. Booths line one wall. O’Brien’s wine list is short, but rich. Ken sometimes has a few special labels not on the list, so make sure to inquire.

By all accounts, Ken has succeeded in achieving his goal of bringing fine dining to the West Bank. He uses only USDA prime beef and fresh local seafood. The portions are huge and the food is excellent. The staff is professional and service is good. 
Owner Ken Theriot with Chef Matthew Donelon
O’Brien’s is located at 2020 Belle Chasse Highway in Gretna (between Belle Meade Blvd. and Wall Blvd.). The phone number is 391-7229. Lunch is served Monday – Friday and dinner Monday – Saturday. Closed Sunday. All credit cards accepted. The dress code is business casual. Reservations are recommended to ensure a seat in this small, busy dining room. Check out O’Brien’s on their web site and “Like” them on their Facebook page to keep up with daily specials.

Reprinted with permission of The West Bank Beacon.*
*To keep up with all things positive in West Jefferson, Algiers, and Plaquemines Parish, subscribe to receive this free monthly publication in the mail. The West Bank Beacon

O'Briens Grille on Urbanspoon 

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