Spring is in full swing and we have a slight lull between festivals, but that doesn't mean anything to the restaurant industry in New Orleans, which never stops. First and foremost, Where Y'at would like to give a shout out to Commander's Palace Executive Chef Tory McPhail and television's favorite chef and entrepreneur Emeril Lagasse for their distinguished awards this year at the James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony in New York. McPhail was honored as the Foundation's "Best Chef of the South" and Lagasse won the "Humanitarian of the Year" award. On behalf of all of us at Where Y'at Magazine, we wish both chefs the heartiest and warmest congratulations!
Also in the forefront, L+M Development Partners and Broad Community Connections broke ground early last month on a 60,000 square-foot development on Broad Street called the ReFresh Project. Reusing the former Schwegmann Brothers grocery building, the new development will include a new Whole Foods Market, Liberty's Kitchen full-service cafe and commercial kitchens and the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University. The ReFresh Project also plans to include indoor and outdoor community space for programs promoting health, wellness and the vitality of the surrounding neighborhoods, like classes in gardening, fi tness and education.
In other news, Basin Street Seafood & Spirits recently opened on Magazine Street. The new restaurant by Chef Edgar Caro and Thomas Peters of Baru Bistro & Tapas is located in the building that once housed Rocky's Gourmet Pizza. Due to Peters' family fi shing charter, the restaurant has access to a lot of local seafood and features everything from crawfi sh to freshly shucked oysters. The new restaurant just opened last month during Jazz Fest with a limited menu, but all look forward to the tantalizing dishes to be expected from Chef Caro.
Speaking of seafood, the Link Restaurant Group recently threw open the doors of Peche Seafood Grill in the Warehouse District. Located on the corner of Julia and Magazine Street, Peche is a collaboration between distinguished chefs Donald Link, Stephen Stryjewski and Ryan Prewitt. The restaurant employs the tradition of "live-fi re" cooking techniques and is offering dishes like Grilled Tuna with Olive Salad, Stuffed Mussels, and Royal Red Shrimp with garlic butter.
Over in the French Quarter, the long awaited renovation of Le Petite Theatre has fi nally culminated in the opening of Dickie Brennan's newest eatery, Tableau. Chef Ben Thibodeaux is at the helm, offering French Creole dishes "with a unique twist," like Oysters Maison— masa-fried oysters served in a choron sauce— and Creole French Onion Soup with andouille sausage and a gruyère crouton. Although the theater on the corner of Jackson Square is still going through reorganization and renovation, Tableau is open seven days a week serving dishes suited for all meals—breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The anxiously awaited Ba Chi Canteen opened just recently on Maple Street in the Riverbend. Although Vietnamese cuisine could always be found in plenty on the West Bank, there now seems to be a recent explosion of these restaurants in the East. Ba Chi Canteen is run by the same folks who own the ever-popular Tan Dinh on Lafayette Street, but with a focus on different, interesting fare. Among the typical favorites like pho, banh mi and vermicelli bowls, you'll fi nd spicy kimchi French fries and a huge selection of "bacos," or their version of Vietnamese tacos. These munchable mouthfuls feature fl avors like honey ponzu shrimp, bulgogi beef with kimchi and creamy, spicy catfi sh.
Finally, among the recent fl urry of openings is the bar/restaurant concept for your "inner child": Barcadia Bar & Grill. Not only do they offer 44 craft beers on tap, there are games...LOTS of games. Barcadia features an entire wall supporting a slew of '80s video games at the '80s price of a quarter; a life-sized Jenga set sits outside on the patio; also included is a 5-foot-tall Connect Four game, skeeball machines, air hockey, and Pop-A-Shot. The food menu offers a lot of the usual bar food fare, but they also offer a few unique items, like Billy's Fried PB&J sandwich, Wisconsin Cheese Curds, double-dipped French fries, duck empanadas, and a "Flagboy" Burger with a fried white cheddar patty.
Ba Chi Canteen 7900 Maple St., 373-5628
Barcadia Bar and Grill 601 Tchoupitoulas St., 335-1740
Basin Street Seafood and Spirits 3222 Magazine St., 302-7391
Peche Seafood Grill 800 Magazine St., 522-1744
Tableau 616 St. Peters St., 934-3436