Budsi's Authentic Thai [Robert Witkowski]

Food News: March 2021

15:00 March 17, 2021
By: Kim Ranjbar

Even with the economic trials associated with the pandemic, it still seems like "business as usual" in the restaurant industry, where eateries have adapted to the new normal with ramped-up takeout and delivery options, along with plenty of outdoor seating. Though somewhat surprising, it's still heartening to see New Orleans folks forging ahead and making their delicious dreams a reality.

No longer at steak … The future of Charlie's Steakhouse, an 89-year-old restaurant on Dryades Street, was uncertain after owner Matt Dwyer passed away. But to the joy of longtime patrons and no-fuss steak fans both near and far, Matt's brother Ryan has picked up the gauntlet, teaming up with famed local chef and restaurateur Aaron Burgau and his partners to reopen. In late December, Charlie's Steakhouse once again flung open its doors, serving steak and sides with chef and smoked-meat master Neil McClure heading the kitchen. Their goal? To keep Charlie's the way it's always been with the menu (or lack thereof), service, and casual appeal exactly the same. 4510 Dryades St., charliessteakhousenola.com

Between the river and the levee … For the first time in 50 years, a new hotel has opened in the historic French Quarter. Renovated from a 19th-century sugar warehouse, the One11 Hotel is a luxe boutique hotel with exposed brick walls, original beams, stunning views, and (of course) its own restaurant and bar. Appropriately dubbed Batture Bistro & Bar, this gorgeous new space offers cocktails and bites from the "Satsuma Squirt" with Bayou Silver rum and lemon simple syrup to boudin egg rolls and crab gratin. 111 Iberville St., one11hotel.com/batture

Makin' gourmet groceries … In mid-December, chefs Alison Vega-Knoll and Chris Wilson, the brains behind Station 6 in Bucktown, opened Larder, a gourmet market and eatery in Metairie. In addition to a full kitchen offering meals-to-go and dine-in breakfast and lunch, there's a high-end market with a nice selection of cheeses and charcuterie, Cajun caviar, chef-sourced oils and vinegars, mustard, spices, dressings, nuts and popcorn, candies and crackers, and pastas and rice. Larder also offers gelato from Piccola Gelateria, a large selection of coffees and teas from French Market Coffee, plus a nice collection of wines and beer. "Sourcing the products for sale and those we use in our dishes has been a labor of love," Wilson said. "Alison and I use these items in our own kitchens, so we know they offer the best quality and flavors available." 3005 Veterans Memorial Blvd., lardergourmetmarket.com

Bring on the brew … Brewmaster Sonny Day from Urban South Brewery and Chef Anh Luu joined forces to open Bywater Brew Pub this winter on the corner of Royal and Montegut. Featuring "a Viet-Cajun menu, five brewing tanks, and a full bar," the new pub is slinging fried fontina egg rolls, Yaka Mein, fried chicken, and "Phorittos"—basically, pho ingredients in a tortilla—along with plenty of local brews on tap from Urban South, Parleux Beer Labs, Second Line Brewing, and more. They just recently started rolling out their own frothy formulations in February with more coming your way this month. 3000 Royal St., bywaterbrewpub.com

Tacos a-go-go … Because our love of tacos should be shared on both sides of the Mighty Mississippi, Barracuda is opening a second location in Algiers Point. Brett Jones, founder of the popular Tchoupitoulas Street taco stand, is excited to serve the same great Mexican-inspired fare to folks on the Westbank from chicharrones and queso to tacos, bowls, and quesadillas filled with red chili pork or chicken seasoned with achiote and turmeric adobo. "When we saw that the old Gulf building was available, it gave our team a lot of the same feelings as our original location on Tchoupitoulas," Jones said. "The space had everything we wanted in a location: accessibility for our neighbors and friends taking the Algiers Ferry, rich history, and a vibe we couldn't create just through design." 446 Pelican Ave., eatbarracuda.com

All Thai'd up … Yet another Thai spot opened recently, this time just inside the Marigny on N. Rampart Street inside the building that used to house the New Orleans Triumph Baptist Church. A longtime pop-up at Pal's Lounge, Budsi Authentic Thai at long last has its own digs, serving dishes such as pork dumplings topped with fried garlic, fried fish cakes, mushroom larb, pad see ew shrimp with wide noodles and Thai kale, and Budsi's own "Royal Pad Thai." 1760 N. Rampart St., budsisthai.com

New to the market … Marigny food hall St. Roch Market just got a new meat-wielding vendor, dubbed Poindexter's Delicatessen. Louisiana native Kellen Poindexter, a graduate of the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin, launched the deli concept in mid-December "as an ecologically responsible eatery that seeks to impact the local dining sphere with its focus on sustainably sourced ingredients." Diners can expect to enjoy dishes such as Poindexter's already-famous prime rib French dip dressed with white truffle horseradish cream, grilled cheese sandwiches with heirloom tomatoes, and the "Waldork Salad" with roasted pumpkin seeds, red grapes, and feta cheese. 2381 St. Claude Ave., strochmarket.com/poindexters

At the table … Not slowing down for a minute, Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts launched modern Italian restaurant A Tavola early this year at Lakeside Shopping Center, a family-friendly eatery serving wood-fired pizzas, paninis, sandwiches, and more Italian favorites from their open kitchen. "A Tavola is a place where families and friends can gather to enjoy each other's company while enjoying a great meal," Marv Ammari, Creole Cuisine CEO, said. Sit down at their table and expect plates of eggplant caponata, caesar salad, grilled yellowfin tuna panini, muffuletta pizza, and lobster ravioli with sherry butter sauce. A Tavola's extensive bar program features specialty cocktails, including their own house-made limoncello, and several wines on tap for those looking to try something new without the commitment of an entire bottle. For dessert, Freret Street's own Piccola Gelateria is featured once again, supplying the new Italian eatery with their exquisitely made gelato and sorbetto. 3413 Veterans Blvd., atavo.la

Because, tacos … The Bywater neighborhood's backyard taco stand Rosalita's Tacos has moved up, grabbing its very own digs on St. Claude Avenue. Created by local dynamic restaurant duo Laurie Casebonne and Chef Ian Schnoebelen, the new joint opened up on New Year's Eve in the space that formerly housed Shake Sugary bakery. Taco-lovers can enjoy everything from al pastor and carne asada to lengua (beef tongue) and pork belly tacos; enchiladas, tamales, and chile relleno; and homemade juices, dulce de leche ice cream, and fruit empanadas. 3304 St. Claude Ave., facebook.com/Rosalitas-Backyard-Tacos

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