You can tell we're in the thick of summer because oddly enough, when the temperatures rise, so do the number of restaurant openings. This month, however, eyes and ears turn to the latest cluster of eruptions happening all over the Carrollton/Riverbend neighborhood.
Bywater breakfast and lunch sensation Satsuma Café will expand into it's second location sometime this month in a building that once housed a coffee shop (as well as a gym and a laundry mat) on the corner of Maple and Fern streets. The new kitchen will be headed by Chef Michael Costantini. He'll be fine-tuning the menus for both locations, over time. Here's hoping that the Green Eggs & Ham with pesto, Swiss and red onion piled onto a buttery croissant is on the Uptown menu.
Just a few doors down on Maple Street, Doors Pizza & Pub shuttered all of its many doors, giving way to yet another Japanese restaurant competitor in what has become quite a concentrated market. Kakkoii Japanese Bistreaux is set to be the latest addition to a sushi-laden neighborhood, joining Hana, Ninja, Little Tokyo and recently opened Chiba. Kakkoii means "cool," and as the name suggests, their plan is to offer "...a change from the traditional Japanese restaurant experience…" with "… designer rolls as well as fresh sushi and sashimi dishes, all with a contemporary spin." Without big differences, it will be difficult to pry away business from the faithfuls.
The Milk Bar on Delachaise is opening a second location at the end of this month in the space left by the recently closed Saltwater Grill on Carrollton Avenue. Squished into a strip mall between a Super Cuts and Baskin Robbins, the Milk Bar will be offering all those delicious lunchtime items that have already made them so popular, particularly their "Wolf Me Down" roasted lamb sandwich with tomato, red onion, sauteed spinach, hummus and mozzarella.
If you thought five sushi restaurants in a one-mile radius is ambitious, how about a burger joint opening next to another burger joint? The New York Deli that was on the corner of Carrollton and Oak (neither a deli, New York-style or otherwise) has given way to a burger shop called Juicy D's. Being smackdab next to Truburger did not deter Juicy D's proprietors from cooking up burgers that they claim are a "healthier" option: - guaranteed 100% organic beef, bison, turkey and tuna, steamed Connecticut style which they further claim "locks in the flavor but cooks out the fat."
To round up the Riverbend, everyone is ecstatic about the recent opening of Breads On Oak. This new bakery has been turning out crusty baguettes, earthy multi-grain loaves, brioche, muffins, cookies, brownies and more. Pastry chef Sean O'Mahony, studied baking arts under masters in France, and researched bread-making history in New Orleans. He turned his passion into reality with his brick-bound, blue-shuttered bakery on the corner of Monroe and Oak streets. Welcome to the 'hood!
In other news (and other parts of town), Chef Michael Stoltzfus at Coquette is cooking it up for yamamma'n'dem. The restaurant now offers a "Sunday Supper" served family-style. Stoltzfus hopes to change up the menu monthly. For starters, this month features fried or whole roasted chicken and sides ranging from watermelon to braised greens. Visit www.coquette-nola. com for more information.
The New Orleans Conventions & Visitors Bureau, sponsors and participating restaurants are once again offering a month-long COOLinary Celebration this August. Restaurants like Antoine's, Apolline, Brigtsen's, Huey's, Mike's on the Avenue, Palace Cafe, Miyako Hibachi & Sushi Bar, One Restaurant & Lounge, Muriel's Jackson Square and more (more than 50!) are offering prix fixe lunches for $20 and dinners for $35, some even cost less! What a way to stay cool.
Across town in Bywater, the tiny yellow hut that formerly housed The Joint BBQ, has been filled by Jughead's Patio Bar & Grill and painted bright blue! Open from "noon till midnight, seven days a week," Jughead's specialty is cheese-steak made with thinlysliced rib eye, grilled onions, peppers and melted provolone on Dong Phuong French Bread. Most of the tables are located out on the awning-covered patio where there is also a wide-screen TV.
Finally, on a tubular note, a new po-boy spot is popping up inside the Erin Rose Bar and it's totally killer dude. Killer Po-Boys is the creation of Cam Boudreaux and April Bellow, experienced sous chefs who have taken the po-boy and kicked it up a notch. Evidence: Rosemary & Fennel Pork Belly Po Boy on a Vietnamese French roll with tomato & sweet pepper compote, chard & black eyed pea salad, and garlic mayonnaise. Maybe it's time for new terminology - anyone for a Rich-Boy?