Chef Alon Shaya (Dominica and Pizza Domenica) has again partnered with chef John Besh (Restaurant August, etc.) to open SHAYA, which features modern Israeli cuisine. Shaya, who was born in Israel, presents a number of Middle Eastern recipes that were handed down through the generations of his family. SHAYA, 4213 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70125, 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.
Locals were sorry to see the elegant Stella! restaurant close last year, but now the space once occupied by Stella! will see new life, thanks to longtime Sylvain chef Alex Harrell. Harrell will open Angeline this winter. Harrell has not revealed much about the menu, except to say that it will feature traditional Southern cooking. Those who were put off by Stella's prices will be happy to hear that Harrell plans a moderate price structure, and he hopes to attract those who live in the surrounding residential French Quarter neighborhood. Angeline, 1032 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70116, no phone.
Finally, someone sees the wisdom of combining two of New Orleans' favorites: ice cream and alcohol. Kream will open in the Carrollton neighborhood in the near future, featuring booze-infused dessert treats, even late at night. Among them will be such cleverly named items as "poptails," made with gin, vodka, bitters and lemon. And what good Southerner wouldn't enjoy mint julep shaved ice? Kream joins a growing list of restaurants situated in a three-block radius. Kream, 8116 Oak St., New Orleans, LA 70116, no phone.
Just days before Brennan's Restaurant reopened, former owner Ted Brennan announced final plans for a new restaurant in the French Quarter. Ted Brennan's Decatur is tenatively slated to open in Spring 2015. With longtime Brennan's chef, Lazone Randolph, helming the kitchen, Ted Brennan's new operation will reportedly feature traditional French Cajun cuisine, much the same as was featured in the former incarnation of Brennan's on Royal Street. Ted Brennan's Decatur, 309 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70116, no phone.
After a long, contentious court battle for ownership, and an even longer, extensive renovation, the fabled Brennan's has reopened. New owners Ralph Brennan and Terry White debuted their fully refashioned building in November, along with chef Slade Rushing in the kitchen. As a testament to how iconic the restaurant is in New Orleans, attendees at the grand opening and ceremony included every major local media organization, many Louisiana politicians and a number of high-profile New Orleanians, some of whom had dined at Brennan's since its opening in 1956. Even the original chef, Paul Blange, and original manager, Ella Brennan (current owner of Commander's Palace) were in attendance. Thankfully, many of the tried and true Brennan's recipes remain on the menu, including the famed Bananas Foster, as well as Eggs Hussarde, the most popular breakfast item. Rushing's new menu includes a number of new and contemporary Creole preparations, too. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. Brennan's, 417 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-525-9711.
Extended Valentine's Day Menu at Arnaud's
Arnaud's is extending its Valentine's Day festivities by offering a special three-course menu for $55 (plus tax and gratuity) February 27–March 1, 2015, along with the a la carte menu. The menu starts off with choice of seared scallop wrapped with applewood smoked bacon, braised baby leaf of lettuce filled with angel hair pasta and crawfish tails, or asparagus and Brie soup. Continue with potato encrusted Gulf fish, pan-seared duck, or grilled pork chop, and end with an angel food cupcake stuffed with hazelnut ganache or a chocolate tart served with housemade peanut butter ice cream. Moët & Chandon Champagne will be served with dessert. Arnaud's, 813 Bienville St., New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-523-5433.
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.
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.
Just months after a grand re-opening, Broussard's in the French Quarter has a new chef. Replacing opening chef Guy Reinboldt, Broussard's hired local chef Neal Swidler. Swidler, who helmed the kitchen at the short-lived Lucky Rooster (now Juan's Flying Burrito), also used to be chef de cuisine at Emeril's Delmonico. The most surprising aspect of the announcement that Swidler was hired is that he plans to add Caribbean dishes to Broussard's very traditional Creole menu. While it is not known yet how that will play out, Swidler has already revealed he will bring lighter sauces to existing Creole recipes. Reinboldt had added several tableside preparations, which reportedly will remain. Broussard's, 819 Conti St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-581-3866.
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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