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The Return of the Caribbean Room at the Pontchartrain Hotel – John Besh Brings Back a Classic

One of my fondest memories growing up in New Orleans was going to the Caribbean Room at the Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue. We didn’t go very often but went often enough I remember it.

I remember the beautiful murals on the walls, but heck I couldn’t tell you right now what they were murals of. You can take a look in image below. It’s interesting that in doing a search on the Internet for this most famous restaurant frequented by kings and queens, movie stars and celebrities there are very few images to be found.

Beautiful murals grace still grace the Caribbean Room

Beautiful murals grace still grace the Caribbean Room

Whether the food was good or not I don’t remember but it was celebrated and honored. The long-time chef of the restaurant (I was going to say “joint” but the excellence of place does not allow it to fit in that category) was Louis Evans who created many of the dishes that we recognize today as being iconic New Orleans food.

The famous Caribbean Room chef Louis Evans who created many of the iconic New Orleans dishes

The famous Caribbean Room chef Louis Evans who created many of the iconic New Orleans dishes. He was also well-known for his fantastic red beans and rice.

But here is the one thing that I do remember, one of the most fabulous desserts on the planet: the Mile High Pie. Yep, after all of the lovely dishes were served and you were already too full they bring you out this massive, nearly impossible-to-eat pie. At least I could never finish it.

But somehow you felt like royalty when they set this amazing, beautiful dessert in front of you. Then if that weren’t enough they topped it with chocolate. Oh my God. If I was able to eat half of it I was lucky.

mile high pie

The amazing Mile High Pie, the Caribbean Room dessert classic.

Really, the crowning achievement to the wonderful meal, the fabulous surroundings and the great service was getting that Mile High Pie.

For some reason the Caribbean Room fell out of favor when it was taken over by another establishment. The quality went down, it wasn’t the same. I don’t know why anyone who would take over such an iconic restaurant would try to cut corners and squeeze more money out of the restaurant, but that is what happened. People stopped going and it just fell off the radar.

When I heard recently John Besh was taking it over I knew that not only would the Caribbean Room regain its former glory, maybe not with the exact same dishes that were served before, but the beauty of the room would remain, as would the excellent service, but no one can doubt that the Mile High Pie will be back. Maybe even better than before.

And a little bit of NFL history happened right in that room because the Caribbean Room is where the deal was signed that created the Saints football team.

It’s about time this place reopens and takes its place right along side Commander’s Palace and other great New Orleans restaurants.

Thanks, John Besh, for bringing back a classic!

You can read more about what’s happening with John Besh and the Caribbean Room at Nola.com.

Posted in New Orleans Life.

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