Food & Drink

A Sneak Peek at the Emeril’s Reopening Menu—and Cornbread Recipe

E.J. Lagasse serves up change at his father’s iconic New Orleans restaurant

Photo: Romney Caruso

Smoked salmon cheesecake topped with caviar.

“There were a few dishes Dad said not to mess with, and frankly, I messed with them all,” chef E.J. Lagasse told G&G last spring after officially taking over the kitchen at his famous father’s New Orleans flagship restaurant, Emeril’s.

E.J. Lagasse at Emeril’s in New Orleans.

Now, after a three-month closure for major renovations, Emeril’s will reopen October 24, and twenty-year-old E.J.’s stamp is even more apparent. Regulars can’t miss that the Tchoupitoulas Street space now accommodates fewer tables, a result of E.J.’s emphasis on the more intimate tasting-menu format he came to prefer while working in Michelin-starred restaurants in New York, London, and Stockholm. (Yes, he started quite young.) Also new? A floor-to-ceiling glass window that affords diners a view of all the action in the kitchen without all the pots-and-pans racket.

How much Emeril’s is balancing its beloved past with an aspirational future is apparent in the existence of two tasting menus, both consisting of seven courses. The Classics Tasting Menu ($185) is stacked with longtime Emeril’s favorites:

• Smoked salmon cheesecake topped with caviar

• Oyster stew

• Potato Alexa

• Barbecued Maine lobster gumbo

• Wagyu and daube glacé

• Snoball

• Banana cream pie

photo: Romney Caruso
Potato Alexa.

The Seasonal Tasting Menu ($165) is where E.J. is free to set his own course, which appears aimed toward applying modern gastronomy to local ingredients:

• Louisiana blue crab with crab royale

• Cauliflower and caviar

• Scorpion fish with corn and collard greens

• Georgia rabbit with Grand Isle shrimp

• White Sand Homestead Farm quail with risotto

• Snoball

• Autumn citrus with white chocolate

The obvious strategy, dear diner, is to share both menus with a tablemate. Preceding it all, E.J. has even tweaked Emeril’s bread service, from which he shares his own special cornbread recipe containing cane syrup and cake flour. Get the recipe, exclusive to G&G, below.

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  • EMERIL’S CORNBREAD (Yield: 1 large skillet or 4 four-inch skillets)

    • ¾ cup buttermilk

    • ¼ cup whole milk

    • ¼ cup cane syrup

    • 1 large egg, lightly whisked

    • ⅓ cup butter (melted)

    • ⅔ cup heirloom corn flour (such as Anson Mills)

    • ½ cup cake flour

    • ½ cup yellow corn flour

    • 1¼ tsp. salt

    • ½ tsp. baking powder

    • Melted clarified butter, for coating pan


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, cane syrup, and egg. Whisk in the butter and set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

  2. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together using a fork, mixing only until just combined. (Don’t overmix.) Set batter aside to rest for at least an hour.

  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F on convection setting. (If you don’t have a convection setting, increase to 425°F.) Place 4 four-inch cast-iron skillets (for individual servings) or 1 ten-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to preheat for at least 10 minutes.

  4. Brush the hot skillets generously with clarified butter, including the sides. Working quickly, pour the batter into the large skillet or divide evenly between the small skillets, and return to the oven. Bake until the cornbread is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, usually 13 to 15 minutes.