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.
McIlhenny Company, the producers of TABASCO pepper sauces, have added a restaurant to the visitor center and factory on Avery Island, which is located about 140 miles west of New Orleans. The company traces its roots back to the year 1868, hence the name. 1868, Avery Island Rd., Avery Island, LA 70513, 337-365-8173.
If there was one concept missing from the ever-growing John Besh collection of restaurants, it was a bakery. Enter Willa Jean, the brand-new bakery created and helmed by chef Kelly Fields, Besh's corporate pastry chef, along with baker Lisa White. It is located in the emerging South Market area adjacent to the Central Business District. Reportedly, the seeds for the new concept were planted way back in 2003. At that time, Fields was the pastry chef at Besh's flagship, Restaurant August. Surrounded by new and under-construction apartments, Willa Jean promises to be a gathering spot for incoming South Market residents. The bakery also offers sandwiches and hot plates for lunch and dinner. Best of all, Willa Jean is planning a sweets happy hour! Willa Jean, 611 O'Keefe Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-509-7334.
The always-busy Nine Roses has expanded its operation to the French Quarter. Nine Roses Cafe opened in the Quarter, after doing business on the Westbank of New Orleans for two decades. Nine Roses has developed a stellar reputation for fine, authentic Vietnamese cuisine. The new location features some of the favorite items from the original menu, but adds some original dishes, as well. Closed Wednesdays, the French Quarter location is open six days a week for lunch and dinner. Lunch & Dinner Thurs.-Tues. Nine Roses Cafe, 620 Conti St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-324-9450.
One of the most ambitious restaurant projects to be announced in a long time will open in late Fall 2015 in uptown New Orleans. Kenton's will be a bourbon-focused restaurant, featuring what the owner describes as an "encyclopedic collection of American whiskey." The restaurant is the creation of a husband-and-wife team, Mani Dawes and Sean Josephs, who each own restaurants in New York City. The building that will house Kenton's is under construction on Magazine Street at Nashville Street. Kenton's menu will reportedly be designed around the bourbon theme, and will feature a selection of smoked and grilled meats. In a tip of the culinary hat to New Orleans, the restaurant will include an oyster bar. Look for Kenton's to be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Kenton's, Magazine St. at Nashville St., New Orleans, LA 70118, 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.
The ongoing struggles among Brennan family members continues as Ted Brennan, previous owner of Brennan's, announces his new French Quarter establishment will open in the fall. As we have reported, Ted Brennan lost his iconic Royal Street restaurant, Brennan's, last year, which is now owned by Ralph Brennan. Ted Brennan's new restaurant, Ted Brennan's Decatur, will be located just two bocks from Brennan's, with previous Brennan's chef Lazone Randolph in the kitchen. Ted Brennan's Decatur will be a 12,000-square-foot, two-story facility in a location that has seen many restaurants and bars come and go over the past several years. Ted Brennan's Decatur, 309 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-512-9290.
One would be hard pressed to remember an Israeli restaurant in New Orleans, but the recently opened SHAYA aims to change that. SHAYA gets its name from chef Alon Shaya, of the John Besh restaurant group, who says he grew up eating some of this food with his grandparents. Now, he endeavors to combine traditional Israeli cooking with foods and ingredients indiginous to Louisiana. Housed in the same elgant building formerly occupied by Dominique's on Magazine, SHAYA is a sleek, contemporary space that offers authentic Israeli recipes cooked in a wood-fired oven. The chef spent much of last year traveling in Israel working on ideas for his menu, which focuses on items that can be shared at the table. Look for such dishes as matzoh ball soup with slow cooked duck, falafel, lamb kebabs, baba ganoush and a few other items that may not be familiar to first timers, but well worth a try. Lunch & Dinner daily. SHAYA, 4213 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115`, 504-891-4213.
District Donuts Sliders Brew opened to great acclaim and long lines last year, and now the Garden District donut shop is opening a new concept uptown. District Hand Pie & Coffee Bar occupies a high-profile corner shop that previously was home to PJ's Coffee. The new concept features both sweet and savory pies and a number of creative coffee drinks. Look for pies filled with such items as as kung pao chicken, oyster dressing, red beans and rice, and beef Wellington, among others. The menu changes daily, and features two cream pies, two fruit pies and at least two savory options. District Hand Pie & Coffee Bar, 5637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, no phone.
Remembering Chef Paul Prudhomme
New Orleans news station WWL reports that chef Paul Prudhomme, known worldwide for his big personality and as the man who invented blackened redfish, has passed away at the age of 75. He first made a name for himself at Commander's Palace, and in 1979 opened his own Cajun/Creole restaurant, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. 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.
Cafe du Monde Announces Expansion
People waiting in the long lines for their coffee with chicory and beignets at the iconic Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter are about to get some welcome relief. Cafe du Monde's owners announced the company has purchased the adjacent connecting building and will expand its operation. The additional building has been home to Evan's Creole Candy Factory for 50 years. Cafe du Monde reportedly will keep the candy store open while it renovates the space. Ever-increasing foot traffic in the French Quarter was cited as the reason for the expansion of the 115-year-old Cafe du Monde. Cafe du Monde, French Market, 800 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-525-4544.
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One of New Orleans' favorite Creole dining spots, Palace Cafe, is closed until sometime in October, for major renovations. The changes will include a new kitchen, that will now have an entire area dedicated to charcuterie. Chef Rene Bajeux, most recently of the now shuttered Rene Bistrot, will design the new charcuterie menu. Changes most visible to customers will take place on the second floor of the restaurant, where a new bar and lounge will be installed, serving primarily rum drinks. During the extended period of renovations, Palace Cafe's lunch menu will be served at Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse, while the weekend brunch will be served at Bourbon House. Palace Cafe, 605 Canal St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-523-1661.
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