For many years, New Orleanians have taken the long drive over the Mississippi River bridge to the West Bank of New Orleans to dine at Nine Roses. Known for its authentic Vietnamese preparations, Nine Roses is often mentioned as the best Vietnamese cuisine in the city. Now, the owners have expanded to the French Quarter, 620 Conti St. Although the original location serves a number of Asian specialties, the new location, a bit smaller, serves strictly Vietnamese items. Nine Roses, 620 Conti St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-324‐9450.
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.
The increasingly popular El Gato Negro is ready to open its third location. This time, the Mexican restaurant will open 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 will use that to its advantage and offer seating and service in the bar, as well as the dining room. The same menu will be served as the other locations. El Gato Negro, 800 S. Peters St., New Orleans, LA 70130, no phone.
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.
Ralph's on the Park Offers Traditional Summer Special
For the past ten years, Ralph's on the Park has offered its popular summer special of three appetizers and a glass of wine for $33. This year is no exception, with the special offer running through the end of August. This year's appetizers run the gamut from grilled octopus or oyster risotto, to a crabmeat napoleon, and even Ya-Ka-Mein (pork belly with pasta, mushrooms and a fried egg), among about a dozen others. One of those items, vadouvan (an Indian spice blend) shrimp and grits, won a silver medal at this year's New Orleans Wine & Food Experience in May. Ralph's on the Park, 900 City Park Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119, 504-488-1000.
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.
Coquette Offers Special Once-a-week Summer Menu
Coquette, the innovative Southern cuisine restaurant in the Garden District, is offering a special five-course dinner menu on Tuesday nights only, for $45. Items on the menu will be new creations from chef/owner Michael Stolzfus. We can't tell you what items will be on the menu, because diners will not know what is planned for that evening until it is served. Stolzfus expects to offer a similar five-course menu on other nights for $70. Coquette, 2800 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-265-0421.
Alon Shaya Wins High Honor from James Beard
Chef Alon Shaya, co-owner of Pizza Domenica and Shaya, is the recipient of this year's "Best Chef South" award from the James Beard organization. Shaya, who most recently debuted his signature restaurant, Shaya, is in partnership with chef John Besh, one of the most high-profile chefs in New Orleans. This is the first time Shaya has won the coveted medal, although he has been nominated for the past three years. New Orleans chefs Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery and Slade Rushing of Brennan's were also nominated in the category. Shaya, 4213 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-891-4213.
Antoine's Turns 175 Years Old
When Antoine's Restaurant opened, William Henry Harrison was (albeit briefly) president. Those days (and Harrison) are long gone, but Antoine's is still in business. In fact, Antoine's is the longest continually operating restaurant in the United States. Throughout 2015 the restuarant will be celebrating its 175th year with a special five-course menu that stays close to its French Creole roots. In addition to a number of legacy menu items, Oysters Rockefeller will be offered, since it was invented at Antoine's. Throughout the year, Antoine's will be bringing back classic menu items, such as lobster thermidor and its renowned puff potatoes. Additionally, the recently opened Southern Food and Beverage museum in New Orleans will feature an exhibition paying tribute to the restaurant's extraordinary history. Antoine's, 713 St. Louis St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-581-4422.
Chef Emeril Lagasse's French Quarter restaurant, Nola, has a new chef, but one who is certainly famliar with the Emeril's organization. Brian Mottola replaces Josh Laskay, who passed away. Mottola previously worked at Emeril's, the flagship restaurant, and at Delmonico Steakhouse in Las Vegas. Although Mottola is taking over the kitchen, no major changes are expected to the daily menu. Nola, 534 Saint Louis St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-522-6652.
Now that restaurateur Ralph Brennan is the owner of Napoleon House, it is only fitting that he would install a chef whose work he knows. Chef Chris Montero, who put one of Brennan's other restaurants on the map, Cafe B. Montero, has been working closely with the previous owner/chef to ensure a smooth transition, although Montero does plan to make some changes to the menu in the future. Reportedly, chef Steven Marsella of Brennan's Heritage Grill will assume Montero's duties at Cafe B. Napoleon House, 500 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-524-9752.
Two high profile New Orleans Italian restaurants closed wtihin one week of each other. Maximo's Italian Grill, located in the French Quarter, and Eleven79 in the Warehouse District both closed their doors permanently. Neither of the owners gave any reason for the closings, and both came as a surprise to local diners. Reportedly, Maximo's owners will re-open in the same location with a new concept and a new name. Maximo's owner, while confirming the closure, gave no indication of plans to re-open.
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