The crowd at last night's "The New Orleans Table: Return and Recollect" at 5 Ninth had their hands full — literally. The restaurant, which is spread out over three floors of an ancient townhouse, was packed to the rafters with food players and New Orleans culture heroes.
Drop what you're doing, run to the phone, and reserve a spot at the Southern Foodways Alliance's "The New Orleans Table: Return and Recollect" Friday-night event at 5 Ninth. A New Orleans culinary supergroup will bless the party with some of their signature dishes, including Anthony Uglesich's famous BBQ oysters and Leah Chase's gumbo z'herbs (green gumbo). The cocktails will include Colonial-era Sazeracs and Ramos gin fizzes made just the way Huey Long specified (a tape loop will show rediscovered footage of "The Kingfish" giving a mixology lesson). Gumbo man Lionel Key Jr. will pound sassafras leaves in an immense mortar and pestle made from a 150-pound cyprus tree, and N.O. chef John Besh will collaborate with our own Zak Pelaccio on a New Orleans–tribute menu. Call 212-679-660, extension 201, for reservations.
And, oh, did we mention that it's free? (Other than in the headline?)