The tradition-bound French Quarter is surprisingly devoid of coolness, save for a few spots including gastropub Sylvain, with its side-alley entrance, resident ghost, Civil-War-meets-Soho vibe, and literary heritage (it was the home of a tall, feisty Storyville madam who was the inspiration for Faulkner's "Miss Reba" in both Sanctuary and The Reivers).  Fortunately, it’s delicious, friendly, and unexpectedly unpretentious, even when packed and loud. The lush chicken liver crostini and the “Buffalo”-style sweetbreads are worthy starters. Try the absurdly tender beef cheeks; signature “Chick Sylvain” fried chicken sandwich; or a brightly delightful shaved-apple and Brussels sprout salad. Since the menu doesn’t skew light, share the chocolate pot du crème. On a nice evening, the discreet back-alley tables have their own cool vibe (a quieter one).