Piece of meatthe butcher shop and restaurant on Bienville Street in North Rendon, reopened on April 8 after a three-month closure.
The restaurant, which has been serving lunchtime specialties like Boudin Eggrolls and meat sandwiches since 2018, has undergone a renovation and partly focuses on steak.
The transition came naturally for owners Leighann Smith and Daniel Jackson, as they saw changes in the food landscape and meat prices. They also wanted to add another name to the neighborhood diner selection.
“Meat prices have risen more than 200% since the start of the pandemic,” Smith said. “We weighed our options and realized we always had successful steak nights. Apart from places like Peanut butter and Meat of ToupsMid-City is a desert diner.
David Demarest, business partner and owner of the Bayou Beer Garden, came up with the idea for steak dinners on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. “So far it’s been a really good idea,” Smith said.
The team had already planned to open a steakhouse next door on Bienville in a building they had purchased. “We bought the building in January 2020 and had plans for a steakhouse there,” Smith said. “Then March came, we didn’t know what was going to happen, so we converted it to a double, and now we have tenants living there.”
The interior of Piece of Meat has been renovated, the meat locker has been removed to make room for 32 seats. The welcoming bar offers a 32-bottle wine list as well as cocktails and beer.
Dinner is by candlelight of beef tallow melting into a puddle – and accompanying toast for dipping. The candles, Smith said, were the brainchild of business partner Fiona Delargy.
“I had made candles a few times and we discussed the option of an edible candle. We got together and thought that was an amazing idea,” Smith said. “When we break down our cows, we end up with 45 pounds of melted suet, and we thought that would be a cool way to greet people.”
Smith said the suet is blended with chimichurri to create a beefy, herbaceous, garlicky candle that replaces butter on restaurant tables.
The dinner menu is where the reimagining of Piece of Meat shines. Small plates include steak tartare with ground beef tenderloin, shallots, mustard, capers, Worcestershire aioli and toast; and braised beef shank with Gnocchi alla Romana, oyster mushrooms and parmesan shavings.
Appetizers include a selection of 20 oz. rib eye, 8 oz. rib eye and 36 oz. herb suet, sour cream, aged cheddar and green onions; or sweet and spicy Brussels sprouts. The menu also features roast chicken and regional fish, a first for the restaurant.
The lunch menu will look familiar to any Piece of Meat regular. Sandwiches such as fried bologna (thickly sliced homemade bologna, provolone cheese, BBQ sauce, fried onions, lettuce and mayo on an onion bun), smoked bologna (lightly smoked Joyce free-range chicken salad with red onion, celery, BBQ sauce with blueberries, mayo, lettuce on a bun). And the aforementioned Boudin Egg Rolls are still available.
The weekend brunch menu includes Southern favorites like sage sausage cookies and white sauce, Dan’s famous cookies with a fried egg; and Steak ‘n Eggs – burger, oatmeal, collard greens, and fried egg.
Dessert includes ice cream from local vendors House Rahm and Laozi ice cream. A dessert from Rahm Haus consists of a beef suet graham cracker crust topped with bone marrow ice cream and duck fat caramel topping.
“Dessert is crazy,” Smith said. “People say they don’t want meat for dessert – and I tell them it’s the most decadent thing they’ll ever eat.”
The dinner crowd was heavy last weekend, and this weekend is shaping up to be the same. The next chapter of Piece of Meat already seems to be filling a spot in the neighborhood diner scene.
Hours: Lunch and brunch hours are Thursday through Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner hours are Thursday through Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Seating for the final dinner is at 9:30 p.m., but will be extended until 10:30 p.m. throughout Jazz Fest.