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If you detect the scent of simmering garlic from blocks away and aren’t lured to its source, Irene’s may not interest you. No worry—that leaves more of the French Provincial and Creole-Italian cooking for the rest of us. Irene—herself a Quarter institution—and her friendly crew create delectable house-made pastas and sauces, but the secondi are the real standouts. Locals come on Thursdays for the ginormous osso buco flavor bomb, and someone at the table needs to order Duck St. Phillip (with raspberry-pancetta demi-glace) so that everyone can taste it and wish they had ordered it. The seemingly simple pollo rosemarino—marinated, par-cooked, re-marinated, and roasted—is nearly perfect. The cramped, low-ceilinged little rooms have a strange, mob-headquarters sort of appeal. Would that the desserts were a little bit better, but the cheesecake will do. Irene’s is notorious for long waits, even with reservations, and alas, it can be true. Just figure it into your plans. Limited reservations accepted if space is available; it’s worth it to try.