It was big news last year when Stella! closed its doors for good, leaving chef Scott Boswell with just one restaurant, Stanley. But now, Alex Harrell, formerly of Sylvain, is taking over the space that Boswell once occupied, with a soon-to-be-opened restaurant, Angeline. Harrell describes his cuisine simply as "Southern." Unlike Stella! , Angeline's price point is described as "moderate," for items such as barbecued shrimp, ricotta fritters and fried quail. The interior of the building is also being refashioned with leather banquettes, hardwood floors and lighter colors. Harrell hopes to open later in March. Angeline, 1032 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 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. It bears mentioning that chef Shaya is a 2015 James Beard Award semi-finalist in the Best Chef South category, for his outstanding achievements at Dominica. 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.
James Beard Award 2015 Semi-finalists Announced
Several local restaurateurs and chefs have been nominated as semi-finalists for the prestigous 2015 James Beard Awards. Among them are five chefs nominated for "Best Chef South." They are: Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery; Slade Rushing, Brennan's; Alon Shaya, Domenica; Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette; and, Isaac Toups, Toups' Meatery. In other categories, Donald Link of Herbsaint is nominated as Outstanding Chef, and Kelly Fields of the John Besh Restaurant Group is nominated as Outstanding Pastry Chef. Additionally, Arnaud's French 75 Bar is nominated for Outstanding Bar Program, while Brigtsen's and Restaurant August show up in the Outstanding Service Category. Finalists are expected to be named in March. Domenica, The Roosevelt New Orleans, 123 Baronne St., New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-648-6020.
Emeril's Celebrates 25 Years in Business
Although it seems like chef Emeril Lagasse's flagship restaurant has occupied its high profile warehouse district corner forever, it has actually been 25 years. In that quarter century Lagasse has opened a number of other high-profile eateries in and out of New Orleans, but Emeril's remains the star attraction. All during March, Emeril's will celebrate its milestone with menu items that are throwbacks to some of its past menus. Each week the restaurant will feature different items that will be familiar to longtime patrons, and surprisingly current to those who don't remember the full-flavored menu items. Check out Emeril's.com for full menus, but a few of the popular past favorites will include fried oyster salad, shrimp rémoulade parfait, pan-fried shrimp cakes and an irresistible cane syrup and pecan bread pudding. Also notable is Emeril's "Omagasse" special menus offered on the third Thursday of each month, featuring a five-course off-the-menu tasting series for $65, and $105 if paired with suggested wine. Emeril's, 800 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-528-9393.
Andrea's Restaurant Turns 30
It was 30 years ago that chef Andrea Apuzzo opened Andrea's in Metairie, LA. Largely because of his consistently outstanding Northern Italian cuisine, Andrea's has become a favorite fixture in metro New Orleans. Other than a couple of anniversary dinners that were held in January, Andrea's will operate as usual, with Apuzzo making nightly rounds, table to table, in the sprawling dining room. Andrea's, 3100 19th St., Metairie, LA 70002, 504-834-8583.
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.
Change of Ownership for Vega Tapas Cafe
Glen Hogh, owner of Vega Tapas Cafe, announced he has sold the restaurant to Greg Francis, formerly of Creole Cuisine Concepts, the parent company of Kingfish and Broussard's. Hogh has been at the helm of the restaurant for 15 years. Vega Tapas Cafe sous chef, Will Sampson, has been promoted to executive chef. The new owner has not announced plans to make changes to the concept or the menu. Vega Tapas Cafe, 2051 Metairie Rd., Metairie, LA 70005, 504-836-2007.
Smoking Banned in New Orleans
The New Orleans City Council passed a resolution that bans smoking and vaping in almost all public places, most notably restaurants, bars and casinos. The new ordinance follows a 2007 state law that banned smoking in places where food is the primary focus. Mayor Mitch Landrieu is expected to sign the bill, which would make the law go into effect within 90 days of his approval. Fines for those who do not follow the law start at $50 and increase incrementally within a 12-month period. Individuals who are unable to pay their fines will be assigned community service tasks.
Another New Owner for Frankie & Johnny's
Open since World War II, Frankie & Johnny's has seen more ownership and management changes in the past couple of years than in decades. Known for its great boiled and fried seafood and crawfish dishes, the restaurant announced a new owner in 2013, and now has another one. This time, chef David McCelvey is at the helm, after a number of years working for most of Emeril Lagasse's restaurants in New Orleans. Thankfully, no major changes are expected on the menu, or to the weathered interior. After more than half a century in business, most items are still priced under $10. Frankie & Johnny's, 321 Arabella St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-243-1234.
New Orleanians have been anxiously waiting to find out where one of their favorite culinarians, chef Dominique Macquet, would land next. Last year, Macquet's elegant Dominique's on Magazine closed, but now Macquet has taken up a post just one block away at the new Saveur Cuisine and Cocktails, which used to be Baie Rouge. Owned by the same team that brought Baie Rouge, Saveur is a full re-branding of the restaurant with a dressed up, white-tableclothed and contemporary art interior, and a hard-to-categorize new menu. Look for appetizers such as baked goat cheese drizzled with local honey, entrées such as seared duck breast with cracklin's and cherry essence. There are also several varieties of flatbreads. At this time Saveur serves dinner only.
Mason Hereford, who has been the chef de cuisine at Coquette since 2010, has resigned his position. The executive chef, Michael Stoltzfus, has not yet announced a replacement for Hereford. Hereford, who plans to travel the country for a while, is expected to open a high-end sandwich shop in New Orleans, to be called Turkey and the Wolf. Coquette, 2800 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-265-0421.
Rib Room at the Omni Royal Orleans in the French Quarter has been a virtual revolving door for chefs in the past few years. The most recent chef, Michael Gottlieb, left last fall to open his own business in Savannah, GA. Now, a familiar name to many New Orleanians, Tom Wolfe, has taken over the executive chef position. Wolfe, who has helmed a number of restaurants in New Orleans, plans to maintain the hearty, red meat-intensive menu, but Wolfe intends to bring his own expertise and style to the classic cuisine. Rib Room, Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, 621 St. Louis St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-529-7045.
Martinique Bistro, one of Uptown New Orleans' most charming fine-dining spots, has closed. The owners, who also own Dick & Jenny's further uptown, announced the closing unexpectedly. They will reportedly retain ownership of the building, which is now leased to chef Nick Lama from Gautreau's. Lama plans to renovate the interior and open a new restaurant called Ava, serving Italian cuisine. Martinique's closing came as a surprise to a number of regular customers who generally scrambled to secure a table in one of the most romantic courtyard settings. No reason was given for the closing. Martinique Bistro, 5908 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, no phone.
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