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August 2011 Archive

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A lot of local diners were sad to see Chef Matt Murphy leave the Ritz-Carlton hotel several months ago, but he's back with Irish House by Matt Murphy, a new Garden District Irish pub. Murphy, who suffered a life-threatening illness a couple of years ago, was roundly supported by locals and fellow restaurateurs in his arduous climb back to good health. Now, he has undertaken a daily breakfast, lunch and dinner regimen at the new restaurant, with Irish offerings such as Irish stew, shepherd's pie and fish and chips, as well as far more complex entrees and ala carte offerings, including a stellar duck dish stuffed with figs and brie cheese. The breakfast menu is available all day and all evening. Murphy opened his new operation in an elegant building that used to house a Mexican restaurant called Taqueros y Coyoacán. The cavernous building has well-appointed private rooms upstairs for social functions and receptions. If bangers and mash don't suit you, try the "Murphinator" po-boy with roast beef, fries, onion rings, aïoli and gravy; or herb-crusted redfish with leek shallot cream. At the bar, patrons may choose from about six dozen beers, and a bar menu that includes such items as wings, breaded mushrooms and freshly shucked oysters on the half shell. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. Irish House, 1432 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70125, 504-595-6755.
Bar/Lounge area at Patrick Patrick Van Hoorebeek is a household name to many in New Orleans, particularly the oenophiles. Van Hoorebeek, considered to be one of the city's most trusted and knowledgeable authorities on all things wine-related, recently opened his own decidedly upscale wine bar, Patrick's Bar Vin. The new destination offers climate-controlled wine lockers for annual memberships and a well-constructed wine list featuring items not found in most New Orleans restaurants. There is also a selection of Belgian beers (Van Hoorebeek is a native) and signature cocktails, such as the "James Bond," the "Pillow Talk" and the "Is Paris Burning?" A selection of small-plate menu items was created by chef Agnes Bellet, who was chef at Louis XIV restaurant. As for the wines, more than half of those offered by the bottle are also offered by the glass, with bottles starting as low as $25. Van Hoorebeek, who was the maître d' at the Bistro at Maison de Ville for 18 years, is as gracious a host as one can find anywhere in the city. Dinner Tues.-Sat. Patrick's Bar Vin, 730 Bienville St., New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-581-7300.
When Mike Stoltzfus opened Coquette in the Garden District, many wondered how long it would last, since so many different dining establishments had tried to make it in the busy corner location. But Coquette's sustained success has spurred Stolzfus on to plan another restaurant, Sweet Olive, in The Saint Hotel, which is set for a year-end opening. The Saint, being built in the aged Audubon Building on Canal Street, promises to offer a space in the genre of the city's W Hotel and International Hotel, upscale, ultra-contemporary hotels with high-end amenities. Sweet Olive is reportedly going to focus on New Orleans-style cooking created with products indiginous to Louisiana. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served and the restaurant will also be the source for the hotel's room service operation. The hotel plans a cocktail lounge called the Burgundy Bar, for which Stoltzfus will provide a bar menu as well. Will the chef/owner offer his irresistible beignets of salted caramel and chocolate coffee pot de crème? One can only hope. Sweet Olive, 931 Canal St., New Orleans, LA 70112, no phone available.
Restaurateur Dickie Brennan (Bourbon House, Palace Cafe, Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse) scored a major victory when the membership of Le Petite Theatre du Vieux Carré approved his plan to buy 60 percent of the building for $3 million. The theater, battling financial pressures and threats of closure, had been considering Brennan's proposal for several months. Under the plan, Brennan will open a Creole restaurant in a section of the building that once housed the smaller of the theater's two stages, plus some upstairs dressing rooms and offices. Le Petite claims to be the longest continuously operating community theater in the U.S. Although Brennan met with some strong opposition to his plan, in the end it was deemed a viable alternative to the prosepct of New Orleans' losing the theater altogether. With about 100 seats anticipated, Brennan's new restaurant plans a 19th-century French-themed decor with pale green rooms furnished with black and gold chairs, curtains splashed with crimson and gold, and chandeliers. Located just across Jackson Square from Muriel's and Stanley restaurants, Brennan's new restaurant will be in a high foot-traffic area of the French Quarter. No details abou the menu have been released, and no target opening date has been published.  However, three names are under consideration for the new operation: Le Petit Bistro, Tableaux at Le Petit Theatre and Café de la Louisiane.

News Bytes

Chef Dominique Macquet has Plans for Expansion
About a year ago, when Chef Dominique Macquet opened his Dominique's on Magazine, many locals wondered if the space would be big enough. Macquet had made a name for himself at the former Dominique's in the Maison Dupuy hotel in the French Quarter. The compact new restaurant immediately drew crowds, and now Macquet has revealed his expansion plans. Early next year he will open a new restaurant very much like his current establishment, but in a larger space on Magazine Street. Unlike the current restaurant with only 62 seats, his new place will accommodate about twice as many diners. The current restaurant will continue to operate under a new name and new management. Macquet also plans to open Tamarind, a French/Vietnamese-inspired dining spot on the lobby level of what is now Hotel Le Cirque. The hotel is undergoing a massive renovation and will be reborn as The Hotel Modern. Dinner, Tues.-Sat. Dominique's on Magazine, 4729 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115, 504-894-8869.

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Take your taste buds on a walk down memory lane! Check out our exclusive closed restaurant database for New Orleans to virtually visit your favorite dining spots from the past. Dominique's, R.I.P.

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