Winning! … All of us here at Where Y'at Magazine would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to this year's winners of the James Beard Awards! New Orleans scored big this year with Best New Restaurant going to Shaya, the Israeli cuisine powerhouse created by the talented Alon Shaya (2015's winner for Best Chef: South) and the famous John Besh. Chef/owner Justin Devillier of the long-adored La Petite Grocery and Warehouse District newcomer Balise scored this year's Best Chef: South. And last, but certainly not least, all compliments to Leah Chase of the legendary Dooky Chase Restaurant who won 2016's Lifetime Achievement Award. Does the Crescent City kick culinary butt or what?
With open arms … We've all been waiting for what seems like so very long, but our wait has officially ended! Longtime Vietnamese favorite Pho Tau Bay has finally opened the doors to their old/new location on Tulane Avenue. Open in Gretna since 1982, we all were sad to see them close last year, but now we all can get happy with their incredible pho, banh mi, spring rolls and (my personal favorite) their signature won ton soup. Pho Tau Bay is currently open to dine in from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but they plan to extend those times after things become more settled.
1565 Tulane Ave., (504) 368-9846, http://www.photaubayrestaurant.com/
Totally “shacktastic!” … Touting “refined comfort food in a funky, family-friendly atmosphere,” The Shack recently opened up on the Northshore in Covington. A collaboration between Dean Thomas, Adam Foster and Thomas “Lolo” LoPresti, The Shack offers a simple, yet delightful-sounding menu with dishes like a Smoked Duck Quesadilla with cojita cheese, Shrimp Fritters with citrus aioli, Chargrilled Pork Burrito with black beans and pineapple habanero salsa, and more. They also offer daily “Blue Plate” specials like lasagna and fresh fish courtbouillon. The restaurant plans to feature a “Shackyard” with a backyard bar, patio dining and games for kids. For now, The Shack is open Tuesday through Saturday with plans for Saturday and Sunday brunch in the works.
1204 W. 21st Ave., Covington, (985) 888-6288, http://theshackcovington.com/
Celery, onion and bell pepper … The long-awaited Trinity Restaurant opened last month to much ado. Located in the building that once housed Maximo's Italian Grill, Trinity has undergone an enormous, million-dollar renovation handled by local real estate developer Hugh Uhalt and now features dining space for over 100 guests, an open-air kitchen, private upstairs dining rooms, and balcony seats overlooking Decatur Street. “The Maximo’s space is legendary and the food scene in New Orleans is as exciting as I’ve ever seen it. I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” Uhalt says.
Chef Michael Isolani, formerly of Bouligny Tavern, is heading up the kitchen at Trinity. Isolani has created a menu that “pays tribute to the amalgamation of ethnicities that make up the very unique and easily recognizable flavor of New Orleans food culture.” The menu features items like raw and broiled Gulf oysters, Beef Tartare, Crawfish & Fontina Beignets, Blackened Lamb Chops, Seared Snapper and more. Trinity is currently open for dinner daily.
1117 Decatur St., (504) 325-5789, http://www.trinityrestaurantneworleans.com/
Mid-City barbecue … Blue Oak BBQ, known for popping up inside of the Canal Street music venue Chickie Wah Wah, has scored its own digs in Mid-City. Now open in the building that once housed Fellini's, this smokin' eatery, run by business partners Ronnie Evans and Philip Moseley, is killing it with an almost continuously packed house on N. Carrollton Avenue. Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner, Blue Oak BBQ offers all of the usual suspects in platter and sandwich form, from pulled pork and beef brisket to chicken, ribs and house-smoked sausage. Their featured sides include Brussels sprouts, ginger-sesame slaw and roasted garlic mac 'n' cheese. Blue Oak also features smoked wings, specialty sandwiches and creative appetizers like BBQ Nachos with Pulled Pork and Queso, Egg Rolls, Chipotle Deviled Eggs and Gulf Shrimp Tacos.
900 N. Carrollton Ave., (504) 822-2583, http://www.blueoakbbq.com/
Honoring a legend … On Friday, June 3, WYES will be honoring beloved, famed chef Paul Prudhomme at Purloo with a tribute dinner presented by First NBC Bank. Chef Ryan Hughes will be offering his twist on Chef Prudhomme-inspired dishes complete with edible centerpieces. The menu will offer a Soup Trio of Classic Turtle, Guinea Hen and Andouille Gumbo, Shrimp and Okra Bisque; Local Peach Salad; choice of Shrimp or Duck Étouffée with Dirty Rice and finishes with Sweet Rice Calas with Chicory Café au Lait Pot de Crème.
Guests will watch a video paean from Chef Prudhomme’s close friends, family and colleagues, among them Chef Paul Miller and Marty Cosgrove with K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen; Ella Brennan and Ti Martin of Commander’s Palace; Chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s Restaurant, a protégé of Chef Paul; Beth Utterback, executive producer of Chef Prudhomme’s five national cooking series; Liz Williams, president of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum and the National Food and Beverage Foundation; and Chef Ryan Hughes of Purloo. Restaurateur Ralph Brennan and others will speak in person about their legendary friend. For tickets and more information, please visit http://www.wyes.org/.