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 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 has been refashioned with leather banquettes, hardwood floors and lighter colors. Angeline, 1032 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-308-3106.
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 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.
Ralph Brennan Is the New Owner of Napoleon House
Restaurateur Ralph Brennan has purchased the venerable Napoleon House. Brennan, under whose direction Brennan's has been reborn, will reportedly assume ownership from the Impastato family on April 30, 2015. The Impastatos have owned Napoleon House since 1920. Brennan has no plans for renovation, and hopes to keep the same staff. No word yet on any possible bar or menu changes. Napoleon House, 500 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-524-9752.
James Beard Award Finalists Announced
Upperline Restaurant proprietor Joanne Clevenger is among several New Orleans finalists for the 2015 James Beard Awards. Clevenger is a finalist for Best Restaurateur. Other New Orleans finalists include La Petite Grocery owner Justin Devillier, Domenica chef/owner Alon Shaya and Brennan's chef Slade Rushing, all nominated in the Best Chef: South category. Donald Link, owner of Herbsaint, is a finalist in the Outstanding Chef category, the most presigious of the Beard awards. A ceremony to announce the winners will take place in Chicago on May 4. Upperline, 1413 Upperline St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-891-9822.
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.
The two top chefs at Le Foret, an elegant downtown fine dining establishment, abruptly resigned. Executive chef Brandon Felder and chef de cuisine Adam Gianelloni surprised the local restaurant community when they left their posts rather suddenly. Le Foret has a history of internal struggles among management and culinary personnel, so while surprising, the resignations were somewhat predictable. The chef who opened the restaurant in 2011, Jimmy Corwell, left under questionable circumstances amid conflicts with upper management. The restaurant has not yet named replacements for Felder and Gianelloni. Le Foret, 129 Camp St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-553-6738.
Owners of the increasingly popular Kingfish in the French Quarter announced chef Greg Sonnier is no longer part of the culinary team. No reason was given by the owners, who also own Broussard's. Chef Nathan Richard, a veteran of Restaurant R'evolution, Cochon (in Lafayette, LA) and Commander's Palace, has been named as Sonnier's replacement. No plans have yet been announced as to changes in the menu or concept of the restaurant, and so far, no word on Sonnier's future plans. Kingfish, 337 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-598-5005.
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.
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