Dining Out


A Bastion of Modern French Cuisine

a bowl of soup at MaMou
Written by Beth D'Addono, Images courtesy of Sam Hanna

New Orleans is proud of its French roots. While the early colonizers certainly left their mark, the city’s table is defined more by French Creole influences, from African to Spanish to Sicilian, than the imprint of those reluctant settlers.

Which is why chef Tom Branighan’s new restaurant, MaMou, stands out from the crowd. MaMou, named not for the Cajun town in Louisiana but for the chef’s great-grandmother, is French—not Creole French, but France French. Branighan, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, worked closely for two years with chef David Bouley, who had trained under French masters including Joël Robuchon and Paul Bocuse.

Mamou entree by Sam Hanna

Branighan discovered a passion for nouvelle French cuisine. He opened MaMou with business partner and sommelier Molly Wismeier in November 2022, on the edge of the French Quarter in what was formerly Meauxbar. The pair had talked about collaborating back in 2017, but time got in the way.

As soon as 942 North Rampart Street became available, the partners made their move.  The 48-seat restaurant was recast with art nouveau flourishes and deep jewel tones. Pink Mamma in Paris inspires the bar, and a wall of family photos pays homage to MaMou.

Classic dishes like poisson à la Florentine, with its silky beurre blanc flecked with Louisiana caviar and a traditional côte de boeuf are menu highlights. But Branighan is proud to be a local son, and it shows in his food. The chicken bonne femme is a tribute to his dad, who often took him to Tujague’s for dinner as a kid. The mosaic square of head cheese on the red bean cassoulet channels the flavor of the Louisiana brand Robert’s. A more typical dish is braised celery hearts topped with thin slices of smoked beef tongue.

Wismeier, the former wine and spirits director for Restaurant R’evolution, curated a precise and approachable wine list notable for biodynamic wines and female winemakers. Its overarching purpose is to complement her partner’s inspired cookery, and she succeeded brilliantly.

Thanks to the partners’ joint efforts, MaMou is a New Orleans gem, drawing fine-dining enthusiasts and wine devotees alike to this new bastion of modern French cuisine.

Can’t Miss at MaMou

Salmon Mi-Cuit

The savory beignet topped with a buttermilk dill cream and filled with everything you’d find on a salmon platter. Don’t be shy—the best approach to eating is to pick up, hand-pie style, and munch.

Cassoulet at Mamou

Escargot tartlet

Tender snails tucked into a basil cream sauce, all folded into a savory crust laced with suet.

Celeriac remoulade

A quenelle of blue crab and remoulade arrives garnished with bottarga atop a raft of pain perdu that speaks directly to the chef’s heritage in South Louisiana.

Shrimp risotto

A dose of briny goodness! Local head-on shrimp are marinated with olive oil and smoked paprika and lightly grilled. The shrimp adorn creamy arborio rice rich with a pat of crab fat butter and fresh herbs.

Poisson à la Florentine

A Michelin star-worthy choice: flaky Gulf fish topped with a caviar-studded beurre blanc and crowned with a laurel wreath of crisped parmesan, all on a bed of impossibly rich creamed spinach.

about this restaurant

  • Chef

    Tom Branighan

  • Address

    942 North Rampart Street
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    • French

    • Fine Dining

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