Established in 1934, Crescent City Steaks (1001 N. Broad St.; 504-821-3271; www.crescentcitysteaks.com) maintains dining traditions of the past while catering to a clientele spanning several generations. The original proprietor, Croatian-born John Vojkovich, died in 1990, but the restaurant has stayed in the family and is now run by his wife, Krasna Vojkovich.
Crescent City Steaks specializes in steak, with options ranging from strip sirloins and T-bones to bacon-wrapped filets and porterhouses for three. Slabs of aged USDA prime beef are seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked to the diner's preference and plated with warm French bread, perfect for dipping in the buttery steak juice.
Side dishes include Lyonnaise potatoes, spinach au gratin and caesar salad. Though the steakhouse also offers seafood, the descriptions and prices for these entrees are printed on a separate page.
"It will never be on the physical menu, because the integrity of the physical menu is to be as much like it was then, now," says general manager Kelly Kerrigan O'Connor. When the restaurant first opened, it had no menu, but eventually a short one listing steak and side dish choices was created.
Crescent City Steaks features a robust wine list, traditional cocktails and French Market coffee served with warm milk.
"We don't follow trends," O'Conner says. "We don't pretend to be something that we're not. We're true to what the steakhouse has always been."
This seems to be a successful approach. The Mid-City restaurant's old-school New Orleans charm attracts neighborhood regulars, politicians and celebrities, among other characters. Allen Toussaint frequently dined at the restaurant and Elvis Presley once appeared with an entourage.
In 2006, a scene from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was filmed at Crescent City Steaks. The decorative tin ceiling that was installed for filming is still present.
During Mardi Gras, the steak-house serves breakfast to the Krewe of Endymion as riders prepare their floats for the long day of revelry.
The family-oriented restaurant has upstairs seating and a room adjacent to the main dining area for private parties. Reservations are not required, but are encouraged. Regardless, neighborhood regulars often stop by, hoping to sit in their usual spots.
"They're upset if someone is sitting at their table, and they will wait," Vojkovich says.
On some nights, patrons request songs from the large 1950s-style jukebox featuring music from artists like Sam Cooke and the Four Tops.
"Some nights I get everybody in the restaurant singing, and some nights I get everybody dancing," O'Connor says. "We just want people to come in, enjoy themselves and have a good meal, and appreciate the restaurant for what it is."