Food News - January 31, 2012

00:00 January 31, 2012
By: Kim Ranjbar
[Where Y'At Staff/Provided Photo]
Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar - Kim Ranjbar

The holidays may be over in other parts of the world, but in New Orleans, the party has just barely begun. Starting on January 6, Twelfth Night officially marked the beginning of Mardi Gras and amidst all of the purple, gold and green revelry, we have a slew of restaurants openings, chef moves and pop-up reports. We may be enjoying long, alcohol-tinged luncheons and mid-day parades, but we haven't stopped working!

First, in late December, French chef Sebastien Baudin opened C'est la Vie at 4206 Magazine, just down from La Petite Grocery. Serving the usual French bistro "suspects" you'll find such familiar dishes like quiche, moules frites, filet mignon, fromages and French onion soup, but the prices are more reasonable and affordable than what you might find in your typical French restaurant. Escargots for only $6.85? Merde!

In other news, chef Chris Cody (formerly of Pellicano Ristorante in Kenner) has left his position as executive chef at Byblos to help open a new restaurant on Annunciation Street. Located in what was an old firehouse (not to mention a few other restaurants like Fire! A Restaurant), Dijon will feature American dishes with a local flair, a chef's table and weekly Sunday brunches. Chef Cody has even announced on Facebook and local forums some of the dishes that he has planned for the brunch menu like Crawfish Waffles with Crawfish Hollandaise, Shrimp Jambalaya Omelet and fresh cinnamon rolls. Dijon's target opening date will hopefully be in mid-February...we shall soon see.

Back in October 2011, the controversial closing of The Bistro at the Maison de Ville over an argument about air conditioning surprised many and faithful patrons wondered what would become of their beloved chef Greg Picolo. As it turns out, the chef has reappeared at Redemption: Orleans Revival Cuisine, the historic, Mid-City church that once housed Christian's Restaurant for over 30 years. Though the restaurant has received rather mixed reviews since it's opening a year ago, the arrival of Picolo as executive chef in November has folks anxious to try again.

Speaking of revival, we all have been burdened by the eyesore that once was Copeland's Steakhouse on the corner of Napoleon and St. Charles Avenue. Since the levees broke in 2005, we have been waiting anxiously for something to fill this prime spot on the parade route and it seems that time has finally come. Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar opened last month under the direction of executive chef Justin Ferguson, offering local seafood favorites with a French infusion. It opened just in time for Carnival season, and with a large balcony and huge outdoor patio, it will be hard to tell which Superior restaurant will win as "the place to be" when the parades roll by.

Also last month, there was another addition to the Besh Restaurant Group inside the Hyatt Hotel. Borgne Restaurant is a collaboration between chefs John Besh and Brian Landry, who formerly ran the kitchen at Galatoire's. The new seafood eatery is "a celebration of coastal Louisiana with a touch of Isleño influence." In case you were unaware, Isleños are the decendants of Canary Island residents that immigrated to Louisiana whose Spanish cuisine was a heavy influence on the food of Louisiana today. As opposed to a few of Besh's other restaurants, Borgne offers a casual, relaxed setting perfect for business lunches and family dinners.

Finally, the pop-up craze just won't stop and as we see with Dante's Kitchen, it just keeps getting bigger. A little while back, Neil McClure who was once the General Manager for Dante's, came back to serve BBQ a couple nights a week while Dante's was closed. Well, it seems to have taken wing because McClure's BBQ will now be popping up for lunch too, Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. The slow-smoked BBQ is all served family style with "some of the best side dishes a BBQ joint has ever served" like creamy mac & cheese, spicy sweet slaw and fresh cornbread. Plus, all of your favorite BBQ meats are present and accounted for; juicy pulled pork, brisket, smoked chicken, wings and ribs with a choice of sauces from Alabama-style to South Carolina. It was rumored that there also is a special on the ribs, all-you-can-eat for $12! Lunch anyone?

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