During its first decade in the lower French Quarter, Meauxbar was a quiet, locally favored restaurant serving American bistro-style comfort foods. The changes since its sale last winter—a modest renovation and a new chef, Kristin Essig, in the kitchen—have been subtle but significant. Essig’s menu is more French than ever. Think hand-chopped beef tartare, escargots in bone marrow, hanger steak au poivre and irresistible frites—all prepared with bright, market-fresh produce cooked with a delicate touch. The wine selection skews heavily French as well, with Taittinger Champagne and Clavelin et Fils Crémant de Jura to start, continuing into a list rich in undersung, stellar bottles, like Pegau Blanc and Clos Uroulat’s Cuvée Marie Jurançon Sec. An added bonus: Meauxbar’s kitchen stays open beyond 10 p.m., unusual in New Orleans, where restaurants close early in an otherwise late-night-city.