The increasingly popular El Gato Negro has opened its third location. This time, the Mexican restaurant opened in the Warehouse District in the space formerly occupied by the short-lived Tacos and Tequila. Other locations are in the French Quarter and Lakeview. The space has a large bar area, so this location uses that to its advantage and offers seating and service in the bar, as well as the dining room. The same menu is served as the other locations. El Gato Negro, 800 S. Peters St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-309-8864.
Primitivo is one of the first full-service, upscale restaurants to make its debut in a part of New Orleans that is slowly reemerging as a commercial and entertainment hub. Owner Adolfo Garcia is no stranger to culinary innovation, having helmed the now-shuttered Rio Mar for decades, and who is currently offering dining at the Canal Place theatres and the popular La Boca steakhouse. Primitivo's dishes are smoky, charred and full-flavored. Chef Nick Martin turns out ember-roasted shrimp ratatouille, a coal-grilled rib-eye, and a five-hour smoked beef selection. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner Mon.-Sat. Primitivo, 1800 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70113, 504-881-1775.
Kin defies categorization, with diverse menu offerings that suggest Italian, Asian and even French influences. Typical dishes include Cornish hen with Vietnamese saté sauce, fried oysters and crawfish tails, and pan-fried gnocchi with fennel and orange purée. From the outside, the place is nondescript; the tiny, sleek and brightly lit interior comes as a surprise. Patrons are welcome to bring their own alcohol, since the restaurant does not have a liquor license. Lunch & Dinner Tues.-Sat. Kin, 4600 Washington Ave., New Orleans, LA 70125, 504-304-8557.
The Standard has moved into a storefront spot on Magazine Street that has been home to a number of restaurants over the years. Owners Lana Banks and Ali Wild are proprietors of a popular Mexican restaurant in Atlanta, but had their eyes on New Orleans for quite a while. Banks and Wild did a complete renovation on the interior, which was heavy on reds and flocked wallpaper. The new look features soothing colors, craftsman tables and chairs, and an almost spa-like setting. Future plans call for outdoor seating as well. The menu runs the gamut from sandwiches to salads and full entrées, including some fish dishes and stuffed mirliton. Also look for traditional Southern preparations, such as buttermilk fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Lunch & Dinner Tues.-Sat., Brunch Sat.-Sun. The Standard, 4206 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-509-7306.
For months, drivers passed the odd collection of structures on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in Central City, wondering what they were for. It has now been revealed that an open air food court called Roux Carré will occupy the spot, previously a vacant lot. Earlier reports had indicated it would be a gathering of local food trucks, but as the project progressed it became a more permanent installation. Slated to open in mid-October, Roux Carré so far has enlisted vendors selling food products ranging from traditional New Orleans specialties (red beans and rice, gumbo) to Jamaican recipes and pupusas. Also included will be a Yaka Mein vendor and a juice and Popsicle bar. True to New Orleans form, there will even be a stage for live music shows. Roux Carré, 2000 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70113, no phone.
What started out as a low-key poboy service in the back of a French Quarter bar has become something of a local phenomenon. Killer Poboys, which offers only six selections on its menu, has announced the impending opening of a second, larger location. The new restaurant will reportedly have an expanded kitchen, which unlike its first location, will serve breakfast. The menu will also feature side items and salads, neither of which is offered at the original location. Will the in-demand "Dark and Stormy" pork belly poboy make the cut on the new menu? Indeed it will. Killer Poboys, 219 Dauphine St., New Orleans, LA 70112, no phone.
New Happy Hour at Palace Cafe
One of New Orleans' favorite Creole dining spots, Palace Cafe has a new happy hour from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Enjoy half-priced draft beer, wine on tap and small plates. Palace Cafe, 605 Canal St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-523-1661.
Reveillon Menu at Galatoire's
Galatoire's Reveillon Celebration (December 1-24, 2015) features a special four-course menu for $45 per person. There's a choice of fried oysters or bakes shrimp scampi to start with, mixed greens or lobster bisque as a second course, and drum, filet or fried fish cakes as the main course. Dessert options are mocha panna cotta, ice cream sundae or custard cup. Reservations are available at 504-525-6022. Galatoire's, 209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-525-2021.
Willie Mae Seaton
In August, President Barack Obama stopped by the famed Willie Mae’s Scotch House to sample what some say is the best fried chicken in the country. Now, just weeks later, owner Willie Mae Seaton has died at age 99. Seaton opened the place as a bar in 1957, but it morphed into a national institution that couldn’t even be stopped by Hurricane Katrina. Although the restaurant was badly damaged from the storm, a joint effort between the Southern Foodways Alliance and Mississippi chef John Currence brought the building and the business back to life. Seaton was well known for decades as so hard working that she started cooking her renowned white beans and chicken at 4:30 every morning. Until the late 1990s the place remained a simple neighborhood “joint,” but little by little it became nationally known, and a true tourist destination in the Treme section of New Orleans. A highpoint of her career happened when she was honored as an America's Classic by the James Beard Foundation in 2005. Seaton is survived by her two sons and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Lunch & Dinner Mon.-Sat. Willie Mae's Scotch House, 2401 St. Ann St., New Orleans, LA 70119, 504-822-9503.
Chef John Besh Releases New Cookbook
John Besh may be widely known as a restaurant empire builder, TV personality and New Orleans ambassador, but he still knows how to relate to the everyday cook. His new book, Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes, is geared so much to everyday home cooks, it even has a flexible binding that allows it to lie perfectly flat on the kitchen counter. The recipes are largely those that can feed a whole family, that require minimal shopping and can be produced at minimal cost. Perfect examples are Besh's recipes for such meals as green onion sausage and shrimp stew, "Day After Thanksgiving Turkey Gumbo," and a tradtional beef brisket daube. The book is divided into five sections: appetizers, soups, stews, gumbo and vegetables. While some of Besh's previous books have been big, coffeetable tomes, this one will most likely stay in the kitchen. Restaurant August, 301 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-299-9777.
Remembering Chef Paul Prudhomme
Paul Prudhomme introduced the country to true rural Louisiana cooking. There is probably not a chef in New Orleans today who hasn’t been influenced by, mentored by or worked with Prudhomme. The 75-year-old culinary master has died following a brief illness. For more than 35 years, his famed K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen has been attracting crowds from all over the world, even though for a long time the restaurant did not take reservations, did not allow substitutions from the menu and kept the menu pretty much the same year after year. If you never had the pleasure of dining there, you probably saw the chef on television. If you never saw him on television, you probably have one or more of his nine cookbooks in your kitchen. Further, by now almost every grocery store in America stocks Prudhomme’s line of Magic Seasoning Blends. Prudhomme became a national figure, but never really left Louisiana for very long. Having grown up in the small city of Opelousas in the middle of Louisiana, Prudhomme always stayed true to his roots in his cooking. He is credited with bringing authentic Cajun cooking to New Orleans, exemplified by his time as chef at Commander's Palace in the 1970s. He is also the one chef who introduced blackened redfish, now a staple of many menus. But his real legacy is that of being a great guy. One of Prudhomme’s most accomplished proteges, chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s Restaurant, summed up Prudhomme’s life simply: “R.I.P. to legendary chef Paul Prudhomme. The world is a better place because of him.” K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, 416 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-524-7394.
Expansion Plans for Cochon
It will be quite a feat, but Cochon chef Stephen Stryjewski reports that the restaurant will be closed for only a few days when it adds 3,200 new square feet of dining and kitchen space, which is set to double the size of the popular Warehouse District eatery. Included will be seating for private group functions as well as room for tables to accommodate larger parties. Last year, the adjacent Cochon Butcher expanded into a next-door building. Cochon’s expansion is set to debut in December. Lunch & Dinner Mon.-Sat. Cochon, 930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-588-2123.
Following the recent death of The Franklin's chef Jason Baas, The Franklin has scored a culinary coup with the hire of Baruch Rabasa. Rabasa, most recently in the kitchen at Atchafalaya, has already added his touch to The Franklin's dinner menu. Look for new items including a bacon-wrapped pork loin with roasted corn and poblano relish. The Franklin, 2600 Dauphine St., New Orleans, LA 70117, 504-267-0640.
Annunciation, the Creole and Cajun Warehouse District restaurant, has lost its high profile chef, Steve Manning. He was a big draw, having been at the helm of the venerable Clancy’s for several years prior to the opening of Annunciation. Manning has not announced his future plans, and Annunciation’s owners have not announced a new chef. Annunciation, 1016 Annunciation St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-568-0245.
To the surprise and disappointment of many New Orleanians, Liborio Cuban Restaurant has closed after more than 40 years in its high profile downtown location. Liborio was one of the first restaurants in the city to offer authentic Cuban fare. Whether the restaurant will open in another location has been the subject of speculation, but reportedly, the son of the owner seems optimistic about a Liborio resurrection. A hotel located next door has expressed interest in expansion into the Liborio site. Liborio, 321 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70130, no phone.
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