When people in New Orleans talk about great vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free restaurants, Carmo is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. But they’re not the only ones who rave about this place. Pescatarians and carnivores also love them some Carmo. Fresh. Inventive. Exotic. Authentic. All these adjectives work when describing this artsy little eatery on Julia Street. Founded in 2010 by Chef Dana Honn and Christina Honn, Carmo is a tropical restaurant with dishes influenced by the tastes and textures of the Caribbean, Central and South America, West Africa, Southeast Asia, Gulf South, and beyond. The emphasis is always on fresh, local ingredients.
We started with their Creole Banquette Bread – crispy Armenian bread topped with Harvarti cheese, shrimp, scallions, onion bell peppers and tomatoes. It was light and delicious with a thin, pizza-like crust.
Next, we sampled the Carmo Salad, a beautiful dish made with rice, pineapple, avocado, almonds and cashews, raisins, cucumber, green pepper, and cilantro tossed with citrus mango vinaigrette – all served on a bed of organic lettuces. You can get this with smoked vegan ham as well, if you like.
We also couldn’t pass up the Veg Kathi Roll, a street-food dish originating from Kolkata, West Bengal. It features house-made paratha stuffed with yummy potatoes, onions, Serrano pepper, peas, chickpeas, cheese, and chutney. We decided we’ll have to order this next time, too.
And we had to try the Rico. This dish is comprised of grilled plantain topped with panela cheese, house-smoked heritage pork, avocado, salsa fresca and a sweet and tangy “Rico” sauce. If it sounds good, it’s because it was good. We ate every bite.
If you’re a raw seafood lover, Carmo doesn’t disappoint. They serve region’s freshest fish prepared in a variety of styles, including shima sashimi (raw, flash-cured fish, a style common to Japan’s tropical islands), tiradito (a Peruvian version of sashimi, smothered in aji Amarillo pepper sauce) and rum-cured, cold-smoked yellowfin tuna. Ceviche lovers, this is the place to go in New Orleans. They also offer a raw vegan menu. Here’s your chance to introduce your palate to shio-koji style preparation, avocados, organic tofu, and other fresh vegetables lightly fermented using a koji (aspergillus oryzae) marinade.
Of course, we always save room for dessert. Carmo features a daily selection of cakes, tortes, mousses, ice creams and more, made from scratch by Chefs Isabelle and Christina. This chocolate pie concoction was the perfect way to end the meal.
Carmo offers Happy Hour Drink Specials from 3-6 pm. We sampled the Mojito, the Pisco Sour, and the Caipirinha, Brazil’s national drink, made with Cachaca or vodka muddled with lime and cane sugar. All were winners. They also offer live music from Charlie Dennard and Friends every Friday and Saturday from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Carmo is located in the Warehouse District. It’s an easy walk from the Convention Center, Arts District museums and galleries, and the St. Charles Streetcar line. Check out their site.
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