News for Restaurants in New Orleans
November 2010 Archive
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The Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel unveiled its new Bar UnCommon, a swank cocktail lounge with a cushy red and black motif. The interior is a walk-in piece of contemporary art. Bar UnCommon (cleverly named because it is situated on the corner of Baronne and Common streets) calls its interior "undeniably mod" and its bartender, Chris McMillan, a "chief mixologist." McMillan has created a distinctive cocktail menu featuring drinks with names like Wink, Moscow Mule, Clover Club and Kiss of Pearsuasion. The bar menu features "Shares," including coconut shrimp with pepper jelly, and "Mains," including a havarti cheeseburger on Texas Toast, and "Temptations" --- try the dark chocolate bread pudding. Bar UnCommon attracts an unlikely mix of young hipsters and hotel guests, keeping things pretty interesting in the evening. Dinner nightly. Bar UnCommon, Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel, 817 Common St., New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-525-1111.
Chef John Harris, the local culinary hero who brought his own little corner of Magazine alive with Lilette, has opened a second concept right next door, called Bouligny Tavern. Housed in a charming old New Orleans house, Bouligny Tavern boasts an interior that feels like a set on "Mad Men," in what Harris calls “mid-century modern.” The front space is reminiscent of a chic 1960s living room, and the bar is strictly elegant. Bouligny Tavern is a wine bar and small plates restaurant, featuring some full-flavored items such as fried misto-shrimp, calamari, octopus, anchovies and oysters, and gouda beignets. There are several sliced meats available, as well as light bar snacks. Although only open a few weeks, Bouligny Tavern has already become a see-and-be-seen spot between the Garden District and Uptown. This may have much to do with the smart selection of wines, including 15 by the glass, and some highly imaginative cocktails. The one that is generating the most word of mouth is the Dragon Milk Punch, made with Indonesian rum, coconut milk, Thai herbs and lime juice. Bouligny Tavern, 3641 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-891-1810.
The current "gastro-pub" wave has hit New Orleans in high style. Manhattan transplant Sean McCusker debuted his new Sylvain Bistro in the French Quarter space that once housed the legendary La Marquise Bakery. Sylvain is something new for the Quarter, offering items not usually found in local eateries. For starters, you can order Champagne and fries. If that's a bit too much for you, the shaved brussel sprouts salad with apples and hazelnuts is light and delicious. Entrées run the gamut from what McCusker considers a "po-boy," with porchetta and broccoli rabe on cibatta, to a crispy duck confit stewed with white beans. One thing Sylvain definitely has going for it: the bartender mixes the perfect Sidecar. The restaurant also features a charming courtyard that complements the truly detailed restoration that went into the building. This may be the only place in the Quarter where the bartender makes his own cola. Don't miss the Abita root beer float for dessert. Lunch Fri. & Sat., Dinner nightly. Sylvain Bistro, 625 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-265-8123.
Ralph Brennan Will Expand his Restaurant Group
New Orleans' own Ralph Brennan has announced plans to open a neighborhood restaurant in Old Metairie. Brennan, who owns Bacco, Ralph's on the Park and Redfish Grill, is known for his lavish interiors and outstanding selection of chefs. But this time he will debut on a smaller scale, featuring local seafood and salads. In New Orleans, everything Brennan touches turns to culinary gold, so expectations are running high for the new enterprise. Lunch & Dinner daily.
Three of New Orleans’ favorite chefs have re-emerged. Guy Sockrider, who really lifted the bar on the cuisine at Muriel’s Jackson Square, is now helming the kitchen at the new Roux Restaurant in the Bourbon Orleans Hotel. Sockrider, who holds a Certified Executive chef (CEC) certification, has created a menu that offers regional favorites such as southern fried catfish with grits, and double-cut pork chops with a Louisiana apple and sugarcane glaze. Meanwhile, across town, Pete Vazquez has joined the kitchen of Mimi’s Restaurant of River Ridge. Vazquez formerly owned Marisol in the space now occupied by Tomatilla’s. Marisol was a casualty of Hurricane Katrina, but Vazquez remained in the city. Vazquez is known for his international cuisine, so expect some global entrées to show up on the menu at Mimi’s. Here is a sneak peak: House-made gnocchi sautéed with escargot, prosciutto, and parmigiano-reggiano. Not to be outdone, chef Ray Gruezke, the former sous chef at Le Foret, debuted his own new restaurant, Rue 127, in a narrow space in mid-city. Rue 127 features some well-thought out menu items, such as a gumbo made of duck, turkey and andouille sausage, and a seared yellowfin tuna with herbed gnocchi.
Bacco is moving out of its French Quarter location in January 2011. Brennan has not announced a new location, but plans to reopen soon with a similar concept, but an updated menu. So far, the cavernous space that Bacco currently occupies adjacent to the W New Orleans French Quarter hotel has not been claimed by new owners or tenants. Bacco, W French Quarter, 310 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-522-2426.
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