Restaurateur Constantine Georges is readying his third location of the ever-popular Dat Dog restaurant, to be located on busy Frenchmen Street in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. The new location will be on the busiest block of Frenchmen, within walking distance of the French Quarter. Business continues to thrive on Freret and Magazine streets, and the new location promises to do the same, especially with the non-stop heavy foot traffic in the area. Georges plans to keep this location open later than the others, since this is a late night section of New Orleans. That may also be the reasons why he plans two bars in the building, one upstairs with outdoor seating on a balcony. The menu will be the same as at the other locations, where it has become the go-to destination for hot dogs. Unlike the other locations, this one will have full table service on both levels. Lunch & Dinner daily. Dat Dog, 5030 Freret St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-899-6883.
In a town that boasts almost every ethnic food variety one can think of, the Phillipines have been noticeably absent from the city's menu. Milkfish looks to change that, opening its authentic Filipino eatery inside of La Boca Restaurant on Sundays only, when La Boca does not serve. Milkfish could be called a pop-up restaurant, except that current plans call for it to permanently inhabit La Boca's space on Sundays. On the menu are such locally unheard of items as kinilaw, a type of ceviche; and lumpia, made with ground pork, garlic and ginger. Also featured are oxtail stew, veggie fried rice and various preparations of --- what else --- milkfish! Lunch & Dinner Sun. only. Milkfish, 857 Fulton St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-327-0635.
Treo, located in an early 20th-century building in mid-city, is a cocktail bar, small plates restaurant and art exhibition space, all under one roof. The concept is still taking shape, but has opened so far primarily for cocktails. In the near future, the owners plan to offer a small plates menu under the direction of chef James Cullen, who came from Cafe Reconcile in Central City. The chef, whose family hails from Ireland and Sicily, plans to offer dishes that reflect both of those cultures, as well as tried-and-true Louisiana recipes. The first floor will be dedicated to the bar and restaurant, while upstairs will be a rotating art exhibition space featuring local artists. The chef plans to offer cooking classes as well. Dinner nightly. Treo, 3835 Tulane Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119, 504-304-4878.
The St. Claude Avenue corridor running from Faubourg Marigny to the Bywater neighborhood has not been known for an array of restaurants, but that is slowly changing. A new restaurant, Sneaky Pickle, caters largely, but not exclusively, to vegans. Judging by its slogan, Sneaky Pickle is likely to be a fun place to eat: "Play with your vegetables, eat with your hands, make a big ol' mess." Among its offerings will be smoked tempeh flatbreads, fried tofu with beet, chard and onion salad, and a host of other healthful items. But there will probably be a few meat items, as well. Lunch & Dinner, Thurs.- Sun. Sneaky Pickle, 4017 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans, LA 70117, 504-463-6911.
For years the open-air cocktail lounge at the top of the escalator at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans was a hubub of activity. That was before Hurricane Katrina, which virtually wiped out the entire property. Now, the elegantly renovated Hyatt has opened Vitascope Hall, a luxurious room dedicated to craft cocktails and upscale bar food. Vitascope Hall may be so named because of the late 19th-century movie theatre on nearby Canal Street, and because the room features 42 large flat-screen TVs ideally placed for watching televised professional sports games. The menu is extensive for a lounge, including such items as char-broiled oysters (a local favorite), po' boys, pizza, seafood platters and an array of desserts. There is also an extensive raw seafood bar. Happy hour happens weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with some menu items costing as little as one dollar. Open daily. Vitascope Hall, Hyatt Regency New Orleans, 601 Loyola Ave., New Orleans, LA 70113, 504-613-3740.
A couple of years ago when adventurous chef Philip Lopez opened his warehouse distrcit eatery, Root, the "New American" cuisine was untested, but attractive enough to draw a consistent fan base. Now Lopez is set to open Square Root, which is far more daring than his first effort. Square Root will offer only 10- to 15-course tasting menus that will reportedly take two to three hours to experience. The dining room will seat only 16 customers. Lopez is likely counting on some of his loyal customers from Root to fill those 16 seats, but just in case that hope goes unfulfilled on certain nights, there will be a bar upstairs that serves cocktails and lighter fare. The menu has not yet been revealed, but knowing Lopez's inclination to take real culinary risks, there will likely be some unique offerings. After all, this is the man who brought dishes such as chocolate espresso-cured lamb, and "lobster dogs" to the New Orleans table at his flagship restaurant. Square Root, 1800 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70130, no phone.
If there were a contest for the most unlikely restaurant name in New Orleans, Mopho would probably take first place. Mopho, located in a strip mall in mid city, is the brainchild of Michael Gulotta, previously chef de cuisine at the John Besh flagship, Restaurant August. Gulotta's casual dining spot mixes the traditional cuisines of Southeast Asia and Louisiana, offering dishes like a blue crab and fermented pork sausage po' boy, as well as pork belly with black-eyed pea custard and pickled mustard greens. Much of the menu is prepared in an outdoor oven, where whole hogs, goats and lambs are slow-cooked. Mopho, 514 City Park Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119, 504-482-6845.
Cochon Chef Donald Link Releases New Cookbook
Chef Donald Link, whose restaurant group has become known for authentic Cajun cooking, has just released his second cookbook. The new tome, "Down South: Bourbon, Pork Gulf Shrimp and Second Helpings of Everything,” co-written with Paula Disbrow, offers 110 recipes indigenous to various areas of the South. Included are recipes such as braised chicken with olives and salami, which may sound unusual, but Southern cooking is in a class all its own. The book showcases favorite recipes from Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas and Florida. Look for some great anecdotal stories about colorful Southern characters, of which there are many. Cochon, 930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-588-2123.
New Orleans Chefs Among James Beard Semi-finalists
The annual James Beard Award semifinalists have been announced nationwide, and New Orleans figures prominently in this year’s honors. Seven local chefs have been nominated in the “Best Chef: South” category. They are Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery, Michael Stolzfus of Coquette, Isaace Toups of Toups’ Meatery, Ryan Prewitt of Pêche Seafood Grill, Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s and Alon Shaya of Domenica. Donald Link, who helms the Link Restaurant Group, has been nominated in the “Outstanding Chef” category, which includes chefs from all over the nation. Pêche also was nominated in the “Best New Restaurant” category, while Brigtsen’s was nominated for “Outstanding Service.” JoAnn Clevenger of Upperline was nominated in the “Outstanding Restaurateur” category.” Ann Tunnerman, who conceived and runs the annual “Tales of the Cocktail” event, was nominated in the “Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional” category.
Emeril's Joins the Friday Lunch List
Emeril’s Delmonico, arguably the most fine dining experience in the Garden District, is now open for lunch on Fridays only. Delmonico’s lunch menu runs the gamut from a healthful Cobb salad to an indulgent fried oyster entrée over spaghetti. There is also a tempting starter menu featuring dishes such as barecued shrimp with grits cake and pumpkin gnocchi with duck confit. Patrons may jump on the streetcar from either end of town and exit right in front of the restaurant. Dinner nightly, Lunch Friday. Emeril's Delmonico, 1300 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-525-4937.
Brunch Now Served Five Days a Week at Atchafalaya
Atchafalaya's Sunday brunch is such a hit with locals that the owners have now extended their brunch five days a week. In the bar is a serve-yourself Bloody Mary bar during brunch hours. Although that has become the restaurant's calling card during brunch hours, the menu is definitely a winner. The house signature item, Eggs Atchafalays features fried green tomatoes, poached eggs, jumbo lump crabmeat and hollandaise sauce. Other standouts are the duck hash entrée, the Louisiana crabmeat omelet, bananas Foster French toast and a steak sandwich with boursin cheese. Live music happens every Saturday and Sunday during brunch service. Atchafalaya, 901 Louisiana Ave., New Orleans, LA 70115, 594-891-9626.
Food Trucks to Get a Permanent Home
For the first time in New Orleans, food trucks will have a permanent place in which to do business. A food truck lot is being prepared in Central City, in a space where many food trucks have frequently parked to do business. The lot will have room for the trucks around its perimeter, with booths set up in an inner circle. Food trucks have become increasingly patronized throughout the metro New Orleans area in the past year or two. The proposed site is not far from the Central Business District, and a plan is being made to provide delivery services from the food trucks to nearby office buildings and businesses. Service is planned for lunch and early dinner hours to be available by next fall.
Emeril's Delmonico Opens for Friday Lunch
The era of the three-martini business lunch may be long gone, but chef Emeril Lagasse sees an opening for a fine dining lunch alternative anyway. Lagasse now opens his upscale Emeril's Delmonico for lunch on Fridays. The Friday luxury lunch is not new to New Orleans, since Galatoire's is known far and wide for the concept. Still, there are few if any Garden District or Uptown restaurants that make the Friday lunch an event to look forward to. Delmonico now offers some tasty temptations for lunch, including a veal Parmesan po' boy, a smoked pompano salad, and fried oysters bordelaise over spaghetti. There is also a prix-fixe, three-course menu that features a New Orleans favorite entrée, beef brisket daube. Insider's tip: The warm chocolate chip cookies with cold vanilla milk dessert will make your whole day. Emeril's Delmonico, 1300 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-525-4937.
Booty's Is First to Accept Virtual Payments
Booty's Street Foods has begun to accept Bitcoin as payment for products and service. Bitcoin is a type of digital currency that has no central controlling agent, such as a bank or credit card company. Payments to businesses that accept Bitcoin can be made via a scan of the customer's smart phone. So far, Booty's is the only restaurant in New Orleans that has elected to accept Bitcoin. On the restaurant's website, the owners explain why they decided to make this move: "1) Credit card processing fees eat up a significant amount of our revenue each month and offering a lower-fee way to pay means that we can pass on our higher profitability to customers; 2) Alternatives to our current financial system are intriguing to explore, especially as we see ourselves as a community business serving our neighbors; and 3) We’re nerds and we’re proud of it." Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. Booty's Street Food, 800 Louisia St., New Orleans, LA 70117, 504-266-2887.
Brennan's Renovation Is On Track
The ongoing saga of the venerable Brennan's Restauarant continues in the French Quarter. A quick recap: After doing business for more than six decades, Brennan's closed last year amidst family squabbles over ownership and control. Ralph Brennan (from another side of the family) bought the restaurant with a business partner and set about to reopen it. While the legal wranglings continue between previous owners, brothers Ted and Pip Brennan, the latest news is that renovations are well underway and the restaurant may reopen as early as this Spring. No chef or staff has been hired yet, and the concept and menu plans have not been revealed. The restaurant will most likely not be named "Brennan's," since the name is owned by Ted and Pip Brennan. Also unknown: Whether the tradition of "Breakfast at Brennan's" will be resurrected. Brennan's Restaurant, 417 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-525-9711.
Eleven 79 Owner Hosts Summer Seafood Boils
The owner of the popular Creole Italian restaurant Eleven 79 has teamed up with a fellow restaurant owner to honor a long-held summer seafood tradition. Joe Segreto will work with Le Citron Bistro owner David Baird for a series of summer pop-up seafood boils at Le Citron, 1539 Religious St., New Orleans. The boils will happen every Sunday throughout the summer from 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Segretto says he wants to bring back the tradition begun at some of the New Orleans lakefront restaurants that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Lunch Thurs.-Fri., Dinner Mon.-Sat.. Eleven 79, 1179 Annunciation St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-299-1179.
When the bustling Fat Hen Grocery abruptly (and mysteriously) closed late last year, many Uptown residents were sorry to see it go. Chef/owner Shane Pritchett never revealed the reason for the closing, but now a new owner, C.J. Williams plans to reopen the popular eatery. Williams hired chef Gason Yen Nelson, whose name may sound familiar from his stint on the TV show, "Chopped." Lesser known is the fact that Nelson was once the personal chef to NFL player Reggie Bush. Williams and Nelson promise a menu of classic New Orleans favorites, but specifics about the menu have not been revealed. What is known is that the small grocery section maintained by the previous owner will be greatly expanded, and Nelson will offer pre-cooked meals to go. Fat Hen Grocery, 7457 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118, 504-266-2921.
The delightful uptown eatery, Gott Gourmet has morphed into GG’s Dino-rama. The same owner and same team are at the helm, but the interior space and menu offerings have been altered considerably. The open kitchen remains, but everything else is new. Owner David Gotter has taken some really creative steps with the menu, offering such dishes as shrimp-and-gouda grits and buffalo chicken sliders. Other standouts on the new menu include “Uncle Tay’s Ragin’ Meatloaf,” made with pork and beef, and a seven-cheese macaroni, also available with fried chicken, jalapeños and bacon. GG’s Dine-o-rama is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday, breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. About GG’s breakfast, try the ham- and-brie eggs Benedict. Trust us on this one. Gott Gourmet, 3100 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-373-6579.
One Restaurant & Lounge closed its doors permanently on December 31, 2013. Owners Lee McCullough and Scott Snodgrass left on a high note, deciding to close the bustling establishment while it was still at the top of its game. McCullough plans to be married in the near future, and Snodgrass is reportedly going to take some time off to relax. One gained a loyal citywide following over the decade it did business in the Carrollton neighborhood. One Restaurant & Lounge, 8132 Hampson St., New Orleans, LA 70118, no phone.
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