Compère Lapin's Meyer's Cobbler
A high-end osteria? to Filipino food … After a year and a half of construction, the Ace Hotel and its restaurant Josephine Estelle finally opened on Carondolet Street last month. Memphis chefs Micheal Hudman and Andy Ticer are offering their own unique fusion of Italian and Southern American cuisine with local chef Phillip Mariano as chef de cuisine and Breanne Kostyk (from Oxlot 9) as their pasty chef. The menu features dishes like asparagus with pimento cheese and trout roe, mafalde (ribbon-shaped pasta) smothered in “maw-maw's” gravy and gnocchi with chantrelles and chicken gizzards. Though the restaurant is touted as an osteria, dinner entrees range between $24 and $30. Thank goodness it's not a “ristorante!”
600 Carondolet St., (504) 930-3070, josephineestelle.com
Gigantic java … Did you think New Orleans couldn't contain another coffee shop? Well, think again! Mammoth Espresso opened just recently in the Warehouse District offering espressos, americanos and cappuccinos galore using Madcap Coffee, a roaster in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Owner and “veteran barista” Jonathan Riethmaier claims that Mammoth's focus is “creating the best espresso, coffee and tea that we can, in an approachable way and without a trace of pretension.” Let's put them to the test, shall we?
821 Baronne St., (504) 475-4344, mammothespresso.com
Sooie! … Enormously popular Cochon Restaurant on the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Andrew Higgins recently debuted a new dining room offering 60 more seats to help sate the demand for Chef Stephen Stryjewski's spectacular Cajun fare. The new “mezzanine” seating made it possible for the restaurant to accommodate larger groups that they were preciously forced to turn away. The dining room faces S Diamond Street and also sports a shiny second bar.
930 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 588-2123, cochonrestaurant.com
A bit less BBQ … Scaling back seems to be just the thing for Neil McClure, owner and chef of McClure's Barbecue. After almost three years of business on Magazine Street and the opening of a second location inside NOLA Brewing, McClure is shutting down McClure's original location. Perhaps now he'll have a moment to sleep. McClure's Barbecue-lovers need not fret though, because they'll still be smokin' strong over at the Tap Room.
4800 Magazine St., (504) 301-2367, www.mccluresbarbecue.com
More market fluctuations … Things always seem to be hoppin' at the St. Roch Market with changes happening on what seems like a monthly basis. The latest change of guard is the departure of Koreole and PDR, both headed towards their own horizons. Kayti Chung-Williams, chef and owner of Koreole, is set to open her own digs sometime this summer only a few blocks away from the market on St. Claude. PDR, owned by Rita Bernhardt and William Barial, will continue popping up at different spots around town with an eye out for their own future brick and mortar. In the meantime, we'll be keeping an eye out for the new vendors who will replace Koreole and PDR's spots at St. Roch.
2381 St. Claude Ave., (504) 609-3813, www.strochmarket.com
Open, open, open … You can literally hear the chants and fingers tapping every time a New Orleanian gets even a whisper of the return of Pho Tau Bay, the beloved Vietnamese restaurant that was forced to close its West Bank location over a year ago. Just recently, the restaurant caused all kinds of hype when they posted pictures of their new, Downtown location on Tulane Avenue to their Facebook page saying “Y'all ready for this???” Yet when pressed, offered no date of opening. We're ready Pho Tau Bay! We are SO ready.
1565 Tulane Ave., photaubayrestaurant.com
Arabi edibles … The Kitchen Table Cafe threw open its doors last month in Arabi. EaterNOLA reports that the new “neighborhood gem” is run by Donna Cavato and Kevin Hackett who source their produce locally, even from their own garden in Holy Cross. Kitchen Table Cafe is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offers affordable eats like pimento cheese spread, fried oyster salad, pulled pork sandwiches and banana bread pudding.
7005 St. Claude Ave. Arabi, (504) 301-2285, kitchentablearabi.com
Raising the bar … Quite simply put, it is no surprise that the incredibly talented Abigail Gullo has been promoted to head the bar program at Chef Nina Compton's Downtown restaurant Compère Lapin. “Her tenacity, talent and incredible disposition are amazing and the collaboration between her and Nina creates such a harmony between cuisine and cocktails,” co-owner Larry Miller said. Like always, Gullo uses nothing but the best, freshest ingredients to create her signature cocktails like the Fontanarosa (named after Gullo’s grandmother) featuring kaffir lime vodka, fennel, and beets or the Andromeda concocted with pisco, green chile vodka, lime, grapefruit, and a splash of rosè cordial.
535 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 599-2119, comperelapin.com