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News for Restaurants in New Orleans
May 2009 Archive

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It took a long time, but Madrid Restaurant is back, almost four years after Hurricane Katrina forced it out of business in Kenner. The new incarnation is in Lakeview, and the culinary calling cards are the same as ever---perfectly seasoned paella and creative tapas. The liquor license is still in the works, but you can bring your own. One of the original co-owners, Juan Hernandez, is behind the new place, and judging by the crowds, he and his Spanish-inspired cuisine were sorely missed. A few other tapas restaurants have sprung up in the area, but Madrid was among the most sought-after Spanish establishments in town before the storm.  The menu is almost the same as it was at the former location. Lunch, Dinner Mon.-Sat. Madrid Restaurant, 300 Harrison Ave., New Orleans, LA 70124, 504-482-2757.
The dining options on Esplanade just got a little spicier with the debut of Nonna Mia Café & Pizzeria. Pizzas, pastas, paninis, salads and refreshing Angelo Brocato’s gelato (served in brioche, if you prefer) are the standard fare in this charming Italian bistro whose owners split their time between the U.S. and Sicily. The new café takes its place along an increasingly busy restaurant row just minutes from the French Quarter and steps away from City Park. This is the restaurant’s third geographic location---others are in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, and all three live up to their motto: “It’s all about love. Lunch & Dinner daily. Nonna Mia Cafe & Pizzeria, 3125 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119, 504-948-1717.

News Bytes

Café Giovanni Takes to the Airwaves
Chef Duke LoCicero, owner/chef of Café Giovanni in the French Quarter, and his brother Rocky have created a new TV show that airs Thursdays at 11 p.m. on Cox Channel 10. "Dig In with Chef Duke and Rock" is a high-energy, variety show that highlights the best of New Orleans. "The show is fun and upbeat and spotlights local musicians, products, ingredients, chefs and my style of cooking, which embraces my love for New Orleans," says chef Duke. The chef will introduce you to a variety of treasured recipes, fine wines, sophisticated cocktail secrets and an interesting assortment of entertainment. Guests range from well known to yet undiscovered chefs, food purveyors, spirit experts and mixologists, to popular and new entertainers from throughout the region. Café Giovanni, 117 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-529-2154.
Explore the World of Cheeses
What began as a one-time tasting event has now morphed into an every-Friday night gathering at St. James Cheese Company. Stop by between 6 p.m.-8 p.m. for a free cheese tasting featuring a selection of washed rind cheeses to taste and learn about from the store’s “cheesemongers.” Also offered are wine and beer specials every week. The owners invite you in to sample “delicious, creamy and sometimes stinky artisanal cheeses.” Come casual and hungry and prepare to meet some very interesting folks. St. James Cheese Company, 5004 Prytania St., New Orleans, LA 70118, 504-899-4737.
Dickie Breenan's Steakhouse $5 Specials
As if the clubby, leathery bar at Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse were not reason enough to stop by after work, the restaurant just announced its new "$5 After 5PM" promotion, featuring small plates and specialty cocktails for just five bucks until 7 p.m., Mon.-Fri. Try the “Spiked Arnold Palmer”---Firefly tea vodka with lemon sour and soda, garnished with fresh mint, and pair it with some prime rib chili, or andouille-stuffed fried olives. The other standout cocktail is a Sobieski dry martini with a hint of dry vermouth, which will go down easily with Louisiana crabmeat batons with pepper jelly glaze. It makes 5 p.m. seem so far away, doesn’t it? Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse, 716 Iberville St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-522-2467.
Palace Cafe Continues its "Temperature Lunch" Tradition
Palace Café is offering its annual “Temperature Lunch” for its 15th year. Available Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., a two course meal is priced at the previous day's high temperature (85° on Monday means an $8.50 lunch on Tuesday). Select from turtle soup, soup du jour or a Werlein salad (Romaine lettuce with garlic anchovy dressing, Pecorino Romano and homemade croutons) as a starter. The salad takes its name from Werlein's, a music store that stood where Palace Cafe now stands. Using local ingredients, Palace Cafe's culinary team creates entrees that change daily. Typical “Temperature Lunch” entrees include grilled redfish with polenta cake, nectarine coulis and tomato black bean salsa; seared tuna with Creole tomato and fennel ragoût, and coconut-crusted jumbo shrimp with corn and coconut popcorn rice. Palace Cafe, 605 Canal St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-523-1661.
Commander's Palace Claims Competition Title
It’s official!  The new Louisiana King of Seafood is Commander’s Palace chef Tory McPhail, who beat out eight other Louisiana chefs to earn the title at the recent Louisiana Seafood Cookoff. The annual competition sponsored by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board, was held during the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience at the Louisiana Superdome. McPhail trounced the competition with his black drum, wild Louisiana shrimp and blue crab with Creole tomatoes, sweet corn and basil. Right behind him in second place was Chef Nathan Gresham of Galatoire’s Bistro in Baton Rouge, who offered sautéed red snapper with charred corn, bacon spring onions and Louisiana crawfish with a Creole tomato and saffron butter sauce. In third place was chef Matthew Beaudin of Le Café at L’Auberge Du Lac for his pan seared amberjack and black rice in a saffron citrus sauce. Commander's Palace, 1403 Washington Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-899-8221.
Beat the Heat at Galaltoire's
Galatoire's "Beat the Heat" summer martini special offers half-priced premium martinis from June 1 through August 31. The promotion is offered at lunchtime between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Galatoire's, 209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-525-2021.

Chef Shuffle

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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.

The venerable Bluebird Cafe, favorite breakfast haunt of countless New Orleanians, has served its last stuffed omelet and final plate of pancakes. Owner Sally Roberts loved the place as much as her extremely loyal clientele, but she says she was “wearing down.” The squeaky clean eatery lasted for more than 20 years, and as neighborhood eateries go, it was certainly one of the most consistent and reliable places in town. Bluebird Cafe, 3625 Prytania St., New Orleans, LA 70115, no phone.

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