JBottoni?2011_RSDesire_Food002Nothing could be simpler or more pure than shrimp from the gulf. And there’s no more basic staple on southern plates than good, wholesome grits. So for this month’s Food is Art feature, Sonesta Executive Chef Corey Jacobs at Desire Oyster Bar in New Orleans, set out to create the perfect pairing of these two favorites.

Chef Jacobs is thrilled to have a brand-new venue in which to show off creations like this one. After months of careful planning and renovation, the iconic Desire Oyster Bar on Bourbon Street has reopened its doors at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans. The restaurant’s new look embraces its rich history while capturing a fresh contemporary feel that is also reflected in an exciting new and expanded menu.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Desire Oyster Bar offers everything from a Jambalaya Breakfast Skillet to Creole Gumbo and Chargrilled Oysters. With expanded seating at the bar, Desire’s interior renovation blends the property’s original aesthetic with modern details. Inspiration for the redesign evokes architectural styles, such as iron grillwork, that you’ll see throughout the restaurant’s historic Vieux Carré district. French doors open to Bourbon Street and an antique mirror reveals a fully stocked bar perfect for casual gatherings with friends. The original tin ceiling and the black and white checkered tiled floor provide visual depth and complement Desire’s new state-of the-art char-grill station, where plenty of culinary magic happens.

Straight from the menu at the new Desire Oyster Bar, Chef Jacobs is happy to share his recipe for Shrimp & Grits, an exciting and delectable dish that will add a jazzy note to your next gathering.


Serves 16


  • 3 qt. prepared yellow stone ground grits
  • 4 pounds gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined (if you do not have gulf shrimp in your area, then shrimp local to you are fine)
  • 1 pound tasso, diced
  •  2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 2 tbs. fresh garlic, chopped
  • 4 oz. white wine
  • 2 tbs. creole seasoning
  • 1 c. roasted red peppers, peeled and diced
  • 1 qt. heavy cream
  •  Kosher salt to taste


1. Cook grits according to your favorite recipe or package instructions. Hold warm on the stove top.

2. In a sauté pan caramelize tasso with 2 tsp. olive oil. When tasso is brown add shrimp. When shrimp is opaque (pink and plump) add garlic and roasted peppers. Deglaze the pan with wine.

3. Add creole seasoning and heavy cream. Cook until mixture reduces to half its volume or until sauce coats the back of a spoon.

4. Salt to taste.

To serve:

Spoon 4 oz. grits into a serving bowl. Portion shrimp and sauce over grits. Repeat for remaining guests. Garnish with green onion slices.