Hundreds of articles, reviews, and TV interviews of great chefs of New Orleans include Donald Link and his numerous restaurants. Link is lauded as a hero of NOLA after Hurricane Katrina and his determination to open up for business after the storm. Anthony Bourdain loves him and if Anthony loves him then I must love him also. And with that great expectation, I eagerly walked down Tchoupitoulas Street to visit Cochon Butcher and to sample the great meats prepared from the Holy Swine, that is, Sausage, Salami, Ham, Pork Shoulder, Pork Butt, Bacon. All things pig, minus the squeal.
The reviews here at TripAdvisor can be confusing regarding Cochon Butcher, in that there are two "Cochons". There is a restaurant that does accept reservations, does serve pork meals, and is owned by Link and some reviewers have mistakenly reviewed that place under Butcher.
Butcher has no reservations, has limited seating, has a deli-styled ordering system(You order at the register and your food is brought to you) Many of the menu items are the same as the restaurant, but they are two distinct places.
Because of the countless articles, you can expect the place to be busy. You will stand in line to order. You will wait for a table to clear to have a chance to sit down. But, if your expectations are high, you won't mind. And, if you are more than 5 or 6 blocks from the 900 block of Tchoupitoulas Street and not accustomed to NOLA heat; you will "sweat like a pig" walking to the place in order to eat the pig.
I stood in line to order a Cochon Muffaletta for my wife, a Cubano for myself and a side of Potato Salad for us to share. My wife scoped out the tables, waiting to sit at the first available place. Teamwork is a plus, during a busy lunch rush.
And now you ask, "Why the average rating?"
1) Service was fast and friendly and the staff was engaged.
2) The portions were ample, you won't leave hungry.
3) "Mexican" Coca-Cola in glass bottles were refreshing and somewhat unique. The taste is more like Coke from the 1970s. Trust me, there's a difference
Even though the meats were fresh and tasty--when combined in the individual preparations; they fail to meet expectations.
If you want a Muffaletta in New Orleans, do yourself a favor, go to Central Grocery in the French Quarter. Nothing beats the original. Butcher's olive salad overpowers the ham and salami. Nothing should overpower a salami from a place that prides itself on making its own salamis and sausages.
The same goes for the Cubano. The ham and the roasted pork and the Swiss cheese were all delicious when removed from the perfectly pressed and toasted roll, but when combined with Link's own creole mustard creation, your taste buds are assaulted by anything but "a perfect blend of spices" unless "perfectly blended" means all heat and no flavor.
So, I can deal with a little heat, just let me tone it down by sampling some cold potato salad. Cold? Yes, in temperature, but geez, do we have to spoil something so traditionally Southern by raising the onion and pepper level to a point that stays on the tongue longer than it should. Maybe you should order two Mexican Cokes to finish that side.
I fear that some chefs of New Orleans and some reviewers of said chefs feel that Creole and Cajun dishes must "burn" the throat and tongue above all else, including flavor; or they simply are not worthy of being served to a New Orleans tourist.
So, I'm no "foodie" and Anthony Bourdain is a great man and I may certainly enjoy one of Donald Link's other half-dozen NOLA eateries; but I found Cochon Butcher to be "average" and not so worthy of greater expectations.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.