The up-and-coming South market neighborhood, adjacent to the Central Business District, is rapidly evolving to become a new restaurant row. With Willa Jean and Company Burger already up and running, Magasin Kitchen recently made its debut. This offshoot of Magasin Vietnamese Cafe, the popular Uptown Vietnamese restaurant, does not stray far from its predecessor, but the owner’s plans sound a bit more ambitious than the original. Many of the recipes offered in the Vietnamese restaurant have been handed down through the generations in Kim Nguyen’s family, including a Vietnamese pork meatloaf sandwich, fried rice with avocado and fried eggs in a cast-iron skillet. Nguyen does not yet have a liquor license, but eventually she hopes to serve Asian-inspired cocktails. Lunch & Dinner daily. Magasin Kitchen, 611 O'Keefe Ave., New Orleans, LA 70113, 504-571-5677.
In a town that is somewhat short on great barbecue restaurants, it comes as welcome news that Moe’s Original Bar B Que is now open in Uptown New Orleans. Located at the corner of Calhoun and South Tonti streets, Moe’s is a chain restaurant with more than 40 locations nationwide. Diners can expect smoked pork, ribs, turkey,chicken and chicken wings, plus fried catfish, with a selection of traditional Southern sides and daily specials. The place is casual, and customers order at the counter, rather than from servers at their tables. Moe’s is located in a space that has been vacant since Hurricane Katrina. It used to be the home of a popular Tulane student hangout called Kokopelli’s. Lunch & Dinner daily. Moe's Original Bar B Que, 3150 Calhoun St., New Orleans, LA 70118, 504-301-3790.
Killer Po-Boys, the popular po' boy spot located in the back of a French Quarter bar, has opened a second location just blocks away. The owners now refer to the original as “little killer” and the more spacious new location as “big killer.” Still, the restaurant offers only seven po-boy selections (try the black beer beef debris with pickled peppers), and a few sides (the spicy potato salad is in a class all its own). There are frequent specials, as well, and a few sandwiches that are not really po' boys (peanut butter and jelly, pork belly, and a roasted cauliflower selection). Breakfast & Lunch Wed.-Mon. Killer Po-boys, 219 Dauphine St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-462-2731.
Are they food trucks? Are they concession stands? What are they? That’s the question diners are pondering over the new Roux Carré. This collection of former food trucks has assembled to form a permanent location in the Central City area of New Orleans. Surrounding a common outdoor seating area, Roux Carre includes Estalita’s Express (gumbo, po' boys); Johnny’s Jamaican Grill (jerk chicken, fried plantains); Splendid Pig (cochon de lait po' boys, crab cakes); The Pupusa Lady (pupusas, quesadillas); and the Juice Box (cold drinks). In the near future, a beer and wine bar will be added. As it progresses, it is also planned that Roux Carré will be a showcase for local visual and performing artists. Lunch & Dinner Wed.-Sun. Roux Carre, 2000 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70113, 504-309-2073.
Chef John Besh, who continually adds new restaurants to his collection, is set to reopen the Caribbean Room at the historic Pontchartrain Hotel, scheduled to reopen in early 2016. Originally opened in 1927, the Garden District hotel was a dining destination for decades before the restaurant closed in 1994. Known for its “Mile High Pie,” the room was often a special occasion choice for locals. In addition to the restaurant, Besh will also open other outlets in the hotel, including the Bayou Bar, the Silver Whistle Café and a rooftop lounge. While there have been rumblings about this for some time, it came as a surprise that Chris Lusk has been hired as executive chef. Lusk will leave his current post at Restaurant R’evolution, where he has worked since before it opened. At press time, R’evolution had not announced a replacement. Caribbean Room, 2031 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70140, no phone.
2016 promises to be a banner year for restaurant openings in the New Orleans area, largely because renowned chef Emeril Lagasse will open Meril's, a new casual dining spot in the Warehouse District. Named after his daughter, the concept for Meril has not yet been fully revealed. What is known is that the restaurant will feature one of Emeril's signature open kitchens, as well as a U-shaped bar, a 23-table dining room, and a separate smaller room that will seat 28 guests. The restaurant will be on the ground floor of a new condo building. Emeril also owns his flagship, Emeril's, as well as NOLA and Emeril's Delmonico. Meril's, 424 Girod St., New Orleans, LA 70130, no phone.
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.
Leah Chase Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
The James Beard Foundation announced it will bestow its 2016 lifetime achievement award upon New Orleans restaurateur Leah Chase, owner of Dooky Chase. Chase, 93, is known for 75 years of service in the restaurant industry, as well as her historic role in the Civil Rights Movement. Dooky Chase’s was the meeting ground for black voter registration campaign organizers, the NAACP, political activists and countless others, and Leah Chase cooked for them all. The Southern Food & Beverage Museum named a permanent gallery in her honor in 2009, and she is a 2008 recipient of the National Restaurant Association's Faces of Diversity Award. But most important to New Orleanians, Chase still works a regular schedule at Dooky Chase’s. Dooky Chase, 2301 Orleans Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119, 504-821-0600.
"No Menu Tuesdays" to Debut at Coquette
Mark your calendar for the last Tuesday of each month. That is when Coquette chef/owner Michael Stoltzfus will offer his “No Menu Tuesday,” featuring a five-course dinner for $65. Stoltzfus plans to team with Meauxbar chef Kristen Essig, to produce a dinner with a different theme each month. There will be two seatings, 5:30 p.m., and 10 p.m., by reservation only. The price includes drink pairings. Stoltzfus plans to collaborate with other chefs and bartenders as the year progresses. Coquette, 2800 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-265-0421.
Dat Dog Hires New Chef & Expands Menu
The place that brought hot dogs into the New Orleans mainstream is adding some new menu items. Dat Dog, with three local locations, and planned restaurants in Lafayette and Baton Rouge, has hired chef Alex Ventura, who has already introduced the “Dat Chick,” a sliced chicken sandwich (grilled or fried) and burger sandwich. Reportedly, Ventura will add more new items to go along with the existing list of sausages and hot dogs. Lunch & Dinner daily. Dat Dog, 5030 Freret St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-899-6883.
Chef Susan Spicer Announces Plans for New Restaurant
Even an old, abandoned police station can morph into a restaurant in New Orleans. Just ask chef Susan Spicer (Bayona, Mondo), who announced plans to convert an old precinct, complete with a jail cell, into her newest enterprise. Although stil unnamed, and details remain under wraps, the new place, says Spicer, will open in 2016; the dining area will occupy about 2,000 square feet, with another 1,300 square feet for outdoor seating. Located between Lakeview and Mid-City, Spicer's upcoming restaurant site faces the new Lafitte Greenway, a recently completed multi-use, massive green space. Lunch Wed.-Sat., Dinner Mon.-Sat.. Bayona, 430 Dauphine St., New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-525-4455.
The owners of Café Adelaide proudly announced the addition of a new chef. Meg Bickford, who trained under chef Tory McPhail (Commander’s Palace) will take over the kitchen from chef Carl Schaubhut, who resigned to open his own restaurant in Covington, on the North Shore of New Orleans. Bickford ran the kitchen at Café Adelaide for five months in 2014 when Schaubhut was on medical leave. While the overall culinary tone will remain as it always has been, Bickford has already introduced a few new menu items. Among them is her veal grillades with cane-cured tomato jus served over black truffle grits, and a citrus-infused roasted Gulf fish. Cafe Adelaide, Loews New Orleans Hotel, 300 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-595-3300.
There is good news for those who have sorely missed Guy’s Po-Boys. You may recall Guy’s building was hit by a car that crashed into the front of the building in December 2015. The shop has been closed since then, but the owner, Marv Matherne, has started to rebuild the front of the building. Guy’s is the “little restaurant that could,” since it has already survived two fires and come back to serve what some consider the city’s best examples of this classic New Orlans two-hander. No re-opening date has been revealed yet. Guy's Po-Boys, 5259 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-891-5025.
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