Gautreau's (address and info) & Marti's (address and info)
New Orleans, LA
The odds were not in Sue Zemanick’s favor when she took over the kitchen at Gautreau’s. She was 24. She’d cooked professionally for less than three years when the head chef at the Uptown New Orleans institution moved on, leaving her to fill the position. And that all happened a month before Hurricane Katrina. But, over the last 10 years, the CIA grad has not only reinvigorated a 25-year-old gem. In the process, she earned herself a James Beard Best Chef South award and, along with Gautreau’s owners, resurrected Marti’s, a local legend of a spot that had been closed since 1988.
If you just started to feel badly about everything you did not do before you were 35, just go to Gautreau's, order some of her fish, and relish in what an insanely talented small-town Yankee can do in a New Orleans kitchen. We promise it'll make you feel better.
Liz Childers is an associate editor on Thrillist's Food & Drink team. She would sell all her sweatpants if it meant she could only eat Ashley Christensen's food every day. Follow her: @lizchilders1.
Andy Kryza is a senior editor on Thrillist’s Food & Drink team. He still isn’t fully sold on vegetables, unless they’re made by Amanda Cohen. Follow him to troubling medical results: @apkryza.