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News for Restaurants in New Orleans
October 2008 Archive

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A new restaurant called Rambla has opened in the lobby of the International House hotel, in the pre-Katrina location of Lemon Grass Cafe. Named for a central boulevard of pedestrian malls and busy urban blocks in Barcelona, the restaurant serves a mix of Spanish and French-inspired dishes in tapas-sized portions. A centerpiece of the restaurant is a series of large, communal tables at which guests dine on their small plates, such as steak tartare, dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped with bacon, fried frog legs with tarragon butter and andouille croquettes. The restaurant was created by Kenny LaCour and Kim Kringlie, who are co-owners of Cuvée in downtown New Orleans and the Dakota in Covington and by Cuvée chef Bob Iacovone. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Rambla, International House, 217 Camp St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-587-7720.
The Steak Knife Restaurant and Bar has reopened in its original location in the heart of Lakeview. The levee failures wiped out the restaurant, and forced the closure of its then-new second location downtown on Poydras Street. Three years after the storm, the restaurant is back serving much the same menu of steaks and Louisiana seafood as before. Owner Bobby Roth's late father first opened The Steak Knife in 1971 in a location across the street, and the family moved the restaurant to its current address in 1991. Dinner Mon.-Sat. The Steak Knife Restaurant and Bar, 888 Harrison Ave., New Orleans, LA 70124, 504-488-8981.
La Divina Gelateria When you're ready to try handmade gelato flavors like honey sesame goat's milk and Aztec chocolate or the Turbo Dog chocolate sorbetto, made with Abita Brewing Co.'s dark brown ale, head to the newly-opened second location for La Divina Gelateria. As at the original Uptown location, La Divina serves Italian-style ice cream, coffee, panini, salads and pastries. Gelato and sorbetto varieties change regularly, but can be relied upon for intense flavors crafted with an impressive array of local food products. La Divina's new French Quarter space had been a Haagen Daz ice cream shop for years prior to Katrina. La Divina Gelateria, 621 St. Peter St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-302-2692.
Glen Hogh, chef and owner of Vega Tapas Café in Metairie, reopened the historic Café Sbisa, which has been closed since Hurricane Katrina. Café Sbisa first opened in 1899 and for many years was part of the bustling French Market scene. It had several different incarnations over the generations that followed. In more recent history, the restaurant was known for its Sunday brunch and its elegant old world ambiance of murals, mirrors and dark wood paneling. Hogh's menu looks similar in some respects to the old Café Sbisa's French Creole fare, but it is more ambitious and contemporary. Some representative dishes include stuffed eggplant with confit of duck, foie bechamel, brie and basil pesto; sauteed veal sweetbreads; seared diver scallops with wild mushroom ragout; and smoked soft shell crab with green onion aioli. Dinner Wed.-Sun. CafĂ© Sbisa, 1011 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-522-5565.

News Bytes

Gospel Brunch is Back
The House of Blues chain has resumed its popular Gospel Brunch service on Sundays for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. Local and regional gospel choirs perform and food stations are spread across the room, offering all-you-can-eat traditional Southern brunch fare and New Orleans-style dishes like jambalaya and boiled seafood while wait staff pour unlimited mimosas. The single-seating brunch begins at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday. House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-310-4999.
Iris Moves to Roomier Location
After a two-month hiatus, Iris reopened in a new location the lobby of the Bienville House hotel, in the restaurant space that was previously home to Gamay. Chef Ian Schnoebelen and partner Laurie Casebonne first opened Iris just five months after Hurricane Katrina in a small Carrollton-area cottage. He's taking the same approach to his wide-ranging menu of Italian, French and Asian influenced dishes, but in its new French Quarter location Iris will also serve lunch and offer a bar menu of snacks like rabbit spring rolls and kafir lime guacamole. Lunch Thurs.-Sat., dinner Mon., Wed.-Sat. Iris, Bienville House, 321 N. Peters St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-299-3944.

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