Opened in 1990 in Covington, La., the Dakota Restaurant is a local mainstay that’s held a Wine Spectator Restaurant Award since 1994. Located about an hour-drive north of New Orleans, the restaurant first earned an Award of Excellence before it was upgraded to Best of Award of Excellence 10 years later. The wine list has sustained this achievement ever since, with co-owner and wine director Kenneth LaCour managing the program in collaboration with beverage director Jimmy Scheidell.
While the wine list is fairly classic, featuring top picks from California, Burgundy and the Rhône across its 600-plus selections, LaCour aims to offer guests the opportunity to try something new. The list has plenty of diverse picks to choose from, as well as a robust reserve list with bottlings sourced from LaCour’s travels and personal visits with producers.
LaCour also regularly organizes wine dinners, pairing picks by a variety of vintners with regional tasting menus by chef Kim Kringlie. The Dakota Restaurant’s standard dinner menu showcases Louisiana-inflected dishes like gumbo and a soup with lump crabmeat and brie, plus larger mains like country-fried steak and porcini-crusted filet mignon.