Legendary restaurateur Ella Brennan once said (and it's the tagline on her recently released memoir), "I don't want a restaurant where a jazz band can't come marching through." Many credit her Commander’s Palace restaurant with the inception of the jazz brunch, an experience that rests comfortably at the top of any New Orleans dining bucket list.
Jazz brunch has become so popular that restaurants citywide have added it to their weekend repertoire, and some have expanded on the theme with various music styles (the House Blues' Gospel Brunch, for instance) and other forms of entertainment, making brunch's leisure delicious fun.
In the Bywater neighborhood, The Country Club—located in a lovely Italianate "center hall" home with dining rooms, a bar and a large backyard pool with a cabana bar—is home to a weekly “Drag Brunch” on Saturdays. Sip on bottomless mimosas or dive in to the extensive Bloody Mary bar, and feast on fried green tomato eggs benedict, truffle mac-and-cheese or buttermilk fried chicken and waffles, while drag performers joke, sing, engage and make the meal totally fun and frivolous.
There are two seatings between 10 am and 3 pm, and reservations are a must. After brunch, grab a Skinny Coolada and a lounge chair out by the pool. Once there, it's hard to leave.
A recent addition to the weekend lineup at SoBou, “Leg’s & Eggs” is the newest form of “brunchertainment.” Burlesque beauty Bella Blue tastefully glides around the room to live music—feather fans, chiffon veils and all. Sit back and savor the moment with bar gal Laura Bellucci’s creative cocktails and the divine Creole-inspired dishes of chef Juan Carlos Gonzales.
Try a Cheerios-garnished Honey Buzz Punch—re-thought milk punch with a cereal-milk vibe—while perusing the sizable menu. Standout starters include freshly made donuts with seasonal fruit and the diced yellowfin tuna ceviche in teeny cones, brightened by pineapple ceviche and baby scoops of basil avocado ice cream. Follow with fresh fish draped lushly in crab meat or one of several decadent egg dishes, and finish with a classic cherries jubilee-white chocolate bread pudding or the wild Pecan Not Pie—warmed pie filling in a jar, topped with peanut butter and an airy, crisp chocolate-covered crackling.
Building on this burgeoning trend, keep eyes out for a redux of the cocktail-paired “Ladies Who Brunch” menu at Café Adelaide and a fall return of tantalizing small plates and burlesque at CellarDoor … housed in a former brothel.