Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Besh Set to Compete for "Next Iron Chef"

IN THE NEWS: Food Network's new show "The Next Iron Chef" kicks off at 9 pm EST/PDT Sunday, Oct. 7 as eight chefs compete from across the country compete to join the ranks of legendary Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, and Mario Batali. The eight competitors: Aaron Sanchez, chef-owner, Paladar and Centrico, New York; Mourou Outtara, chef/owner, FarrahOlivia by Morou, Alexandria, Va.; John Besh, chef/owner Restaurant August, Luke, The Besh Steakhouse at Harrahs, New Orleans; and La Provence, Lacombe, La.), Traci Des Jardins, chef and co-owner Jardiniere; chef/owner, Mijita; managing chef, ACME Chophouse, San Francisco); Chris Cosentino, chef, Incanto and co-owner, Bocccalone Artisanal Meats, San Francisco); Jill Davie, chef de cuisine, Josie Restaurant, Los Angeles; Michael Symon, chef-owner, Lola and Lolita, Cleveland; and Gavin Kaysen, chef de cuisine, El Bizcocho, San Diego. foodnetwork.com ...

Tom Fitzmorris' The New Orleans Menu Daily reviews Japanese spot Sushi Brothers (Lee Circle Area: 1612 St. Charles Ave., 581-4449, www.sushibrothers.net) and reports the revival of Sunday jazz brunch at Mr. B’s Bistro (201 Royal. 523-2078) and the long-awaited reopening of soul food icon Dooky Chase (2301 Orleans Ave. 821-0600). Fitzmorris poignently writes, "And that brings to a close the reopening process for the New Orleans restaurant community. What restaurants that remain closed since the storm probably will not be back, unless they're bought and rebuilt by new owners. Any reopenings from here on can be considered pleasant surprises. For all practical purposes, Dooky Chase completes the picture." nomenu.com ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Bistro at Maison de Ville (727 Toulouse St., 528-9206; www.maisondeville.com). gambitweekly.com ... New York-based blogger Off the Broiler visits Cochon (930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, 504-588-2123, www.cochonrestaurant.com) and Drago’s at Hilton New Orleans Riverside (2 Poydras Street). offthebroiler.wordpress.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Celebrated Chef Duo Set to Open Mila

IN THE NEWS: The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson reports on the impending return of chefs Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing, who aim to open the restaurant Mila by mid-October in the former Rene Bistrot space in the Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel. Allison and Slade arrived in New Orleans in the summer of 2005. They had garnered considerable attention -- and a James Beard Foundation Rising Star Award for Allison -- with Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar, a diminutive restaurant in New York's East Village. Their decision to leave Manhattan to open a restaurant called Longbranch in rural Louisiana garnered a story in The New York Times. Longbranch closed three months ago. ... Anderson looks at Brazilian steakhouses Brazil Latino Restaurant (500 Lafayette St., Gretna, 504-362-5353), Carnaval Grill & Bar (2501 Canal St., 504-822-4639), and Fire of Brazil (1725 Iberville St., 504-552-4446). nola.com ... New Orleans City Business Jaime Guillet reports on the plusses and minusses experienced by several of New Orleans' historic restaurants post-Hurricane Katrina. Arnaud’s has had to eliminate lunch to make up for staffing shortages and a smaller customer base, while Galatoire's reports spending has only been down 1 percent this year compared to pre-hurricane levels. neworleanscitybusiness.com ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Korea House (3547 18th St., 888-0654), notes the recent closing of upscale contemporary Creole restaurant Table One Brasserie (2800 Magazine St.) just a few weeks shy of its second anniversary. ... McNulty also reports that Jackie Chan, the owner of Gert Town's Mikimoto Japanese Restaurant (3301 S. Carrollton Ave., 488-1881; www.mikimotosushi.com) is planning to open a new Korean restaurant by the end of September in Metairie. He's converting the former India Palace restaurant space into a new venture called Gimchi (3322 N. Turnbull Drive). bestofneworleans.com ... The New Orleans Menu Daily's Tom Fitzmorris notes the closing of Tervalon's in Algiers, offers a new four-star review of Mr. B's Bistro (201 Royal, 523-2078, www.mrbsbistro.com) and reports on chef Rene Bajeux (Windsor Court Hotel's Grill Room, Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, his now-defunct Rene Bistrot), as the new chef at John Besh's La Provence (25020 US 190. 985-626-7662). nomenu.com ... Off the Broiler visits Grand Isle (575 Convention Center Blvd, New Orleans, 504-520-8530, www.grandislerestaurant.com). offthebroiler.wordpress.com ...

Zagat Buzz reports that to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the James Beard Foundation is hosting a series of food festivals and special dinners in 20 cities nationwide. The events kick off on September 18th in New York with a lavish menu inspired by Beard at Four Seasons. The celebrations continue the next week with elaborate dinners cooked by first-rate toques in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Short Hills, NJ and Washington, DC. All of the events are unique, with different chef lineups and dining formats ranging from gala dinners to walk-around tastings, so check the individual city pages for details. Though prices for the dinners vary, all of them will be followed up on September 29th with special events at local Williams-Sonoma stores where chefs will be offering cooking demos, book signings, specialty food tastings and kids' educational activities free of charge. For more information about the event, logon to www.jbftasteamerica.com. zagat.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, September 10, 2007

Longtime Pascal's Manale Maitre D' Dies

IN THE NEWS: Tom Fitzmorris' The New Orleans Menu Daily notes the Aug. 30 death of Bob Artigues, long-time maitre d' at Pascal's Manale. nomenu.com ... The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson reports and writes a five-part series detailing the return of Mandina's (3800 Canal St, 504-482-9179) and notes the closings of Table 1 and Taqueros Coyoacan (1432 St. Charles Ave.) and also rounds up the best of the area's burgers, including Bozo's (3117 21st St., Metairie, 504-831-8666). nola.com ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Café Madea's (731 Common St., 558-3998) and notes the openings of Brazilian grill Carnaval Restaurant (2501 Canal St., 822-4636) and casual breakfast and lunch spot Store (814 Gravier St., 322-2446; www.thestoreneworleans.com). bestofneworleans.com ... Yat Cuisine reviews Bayou Coffee House (326 N. Jeff Davis Pkwy in Mid-City). food.yatpundit.com ... Blogger Off the Broiler stops by The Upperline Restaurant, Liuzza’s By the Track (1518 N Lopez St, 504-218-7888, www.nola.com/sites/liuzzas), Snowizard Snoball Stand (4001 Magazine St, 504-899-8758), Parasol’s (2533 Constance St, 504-897 -5413, www.parasols.com), Deanie’s Seafood (1713 Lake Avenue, Metairie, LA, 504-831-4141, www.deanies.com), and Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse (769 W 5th St # A, La Place, LA 985-652-9990). offthebroiler.wordpress.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

'Gambit' Readers Vote Galatoire's No. 1

IN THE NEWS: Gambit Weekly's Best of New Orleans 2007 readers poll winners include Galatoire's (209 Bourbon St., 525-2021, galatoires.com) as Best New Orleans Restaurant, and Luke (333 St. Charles Ave., 378-2840) as Best New Restaurant. ... Critic Ian McNulty reviews 13 (517 Frenchmen St., 942-1345; www.13monaghan.com) and reports on the opening of Daisy Bistro (5381 Magazine St., 899-6987). bestofneworleans.com ... Tom Fitzmorris' The New Orleans Menu Daily previews the new Korean restaurant Gimchi (3322 N. Turnbull Drive, Metarie. 454-6426) set to open mid-September. nomenu.com ... USA Today looks at the recovery of New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina two years ago, and gets some of musician Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews' local picks, including late-night pizzeria Rotolo's (201 Decatur St.), sidewalk soul food concession Uptown's Finest (parked next to Harry's Ace Hardware, 3535 Magazine St.), and deli/grocery Verti Marte (1201 Royal St.), which he says has "the best po-boy in town." usatoday.com ... The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson considers Bistro Daisy (5831 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504-899-6987) and La Provence (25020 U.S. 190, Lacombe, 985-626-7662). nola.com ... New Orleans magazine's September 2007 issue looks at po-boys, including the barbeque shrimp po-boy at Pascal’s Manale. neworleansmagazine.com ... Kim Severson in The New York Times' Diners Journal blogs about the unofficial "soft" reopening of soul food icon Dooky Chase and President Bush's visit with the restaurant's matriarch Leah Chase. She hopes to reopen the restaurant for good in a couple of weeks.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, August 27, 2007

Willie Mae's Wins Best Fried Chicken

New Orleans' Willie Mae's Scotch House and Brooklyn's Peter Luger Steak House were among the winners in Bon Appetit magazine's recent Food Network special. Winning restaurants were selected from each of three semifinalists for the best versions of six quintessential American classics: pizza, steak, tacos, hamburgers, fried chicken, and ribs. The winners were announced on the Good Eats with Alton Brown show on the Food Network.

Here are the winners and runners-up:
PIZZA: Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix (WINNER); DiFara Pizza, Brooklyn, NY; Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
STEAK: Peter Luger Steak House, Brooklyn (WINNER); Cut, Los Angeles; Doe's Eat Place, Greenville, Miss.
TACOS: Taco Taco Cafe, San Antonio (WINNER); Taqueria del Sol, Atlanta; South Beach Bar & Grill, Ocean Beach, Calif.
Hamburgers: Bobcate Bite, Santa Fe, NM (WINNER); Taylor's Automatic Refresher, St. Helena, Calif; The Meers Store and Restaurant, Lawton, Okla.
FRIED CHICKEN: Willie Mae's Scotch House, New Orleans (WINNER); Price's Chicken Coop, Charlotte, NC; Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.
RIBS: 17th Street Bar & Grill, Murphysboro, Ill (WINNER); Charles Vergos Rendezvous, Memphis; Jaspers, Plano, Texas.

IN THE NEWS: Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews the wine dinners at Galatoire's (209 Bourbon St., 535-2021; www.galatoires.com). ... McNulty reports the scheduled Sept. 1 closing of Guillermo Peters' Taqueros y Coyoacan (1432 St. Charles Ave., 526-9996). ... McNulty also reports: "The New York-based James Beard Foundation will celebrate its 20th anniversary with restaurant dinners in 20 cities. New Orleans will host three of these dinners on Sept. 28 and each will feature a meal prepared by a pair of chefs working in the same kitchen. The New Orleans dinners will be held at Restaurant August (301 Tchoupitoulas St., 299-9777; www.restaurantaugust.com), with chef John Besh and guest chef Donald Link of Herbsaint and Cochon; at Galatoire's Restaurant, with chef Brian Landry and guest chef John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, Miss.; and at the New Orleans Grill (300 Gravier St., 522-1994; www.windsorcourthotel.coms), with chef Greg Sonnier and guest chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen's Restaurant. The chefs or, in the case of Galatoire's, the restaurant itself were selected because they have been nominated for or have won a James Beard Award in the past. The dinners cost $150 and a portion of the proceeds will go to the James Beard Foundation and the local chapter of Meals on Wheels. For menus and additional information, see www.jbftasteamerica.com." ... bestofneworleans.com ... Tom Fitzmorris' The New Orleans Menu daily notes the Aug. 22 death of Harry Tervalon, "the apotheosis of all waiters at the Camellia Grill for over four decades". nomenu.com ... The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson features the revival of Rocky & Carlo's (613 W. St. Bernard Highway, Chalmette, 504-279-8323) and updates the staff developments at Savvy Gourmet (4519 Magazine St., 504-895-2665). nola.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Former La Petite Chef Opens Bistro Daisy

IN THE NEWS: Tom Fitzmorris' The New Orleans Menu reports Chef Anton Schulte, who with his wife Diane managed La Petite Grocery from its opening in 2004 until a few months ago, has opened Bistro Daisy in the renovated 5831 Magazine Street cottage that formerly housed Ristorante Civello. The Schultes left La Petite Grocery some months ago after a difference of style arose between them and Chef Joel Dondis, the majority owner of the place, Fitzmorris reports. ... Bistro Daisy brings to 850 the number of restaurants currently open in the New Orleans area, he writes. ... Fitzmorris also spotlights Shishkabob House (3804 Williams Blvd) and Vera's (2020 Gause Blvd W. in Slidell). nomenu.com ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Blue Plate Cafe (1330 Prytania St.). bestofneworleans.com ... The Times Picayune's Brett Anderson looks at ice cream parlors, beginning with the circa-1905 Angelo Brocato's (214 N. Carrollton Ave). nola.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Willie Mae's Scotch House Makes Finals

Bon Appetit magazine's September 2007 Restaurant issue features three finalists in a list of quintessential versions of six American classics: pizza, steak, tacos, hamburgers, fried chicken, and ribs. Winner will be announced on the Food Network on Aug. 18 (Good Eats with Alton Brown, 6 and 10 pm CDT). The finalists:

PIZZA: Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix; DiFara Pizza, Brooklyn, NY; Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
STEAK: Peter Luger Steak House, Brooklyn; Cut, Los Angeles; Doe's Eat Place, Greenville, Miss.
TACOS: Taco Taco Cafe, San Antonio; Taqueria del Sol, Atlanta; South Beach Bar & Grill, Ocean Beach, Calif.
HAMBURGERS: Bobcat Bite, Santa Fe, NM; Taylor's Automatic Refresher, St. Helena, Calif; The Meers Store and Restaurant, Lawton, Okla.
FRIED CHICKEN: Willie Mae's Scotch House, New Orleans; Price's Chicken Coop, Charlotte, NC; Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.
RIBS: Charles Vergos Rendezvous, Memphis; 17th Street Bar & Grill, Murphysboro, Ill; Jaspers, Plano, Texas.

The magazine also features favorite restaurant recipes, including: Lucia's in Minneapolis-St. Paul; Eve in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Dali Restaurant & Tapas Bar in Somerville, Mass.; Binkley's Restaurant in Cave Creek, Ariz.; Kelly Liken Restaurant in Vail, Colo; Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles; and Park Kitchen in Portland, Ore. ... And the mag also features 12 small restaurants and their recipes, including: The Little Owl, New York City; The Good Fork, Brooklyn; La Laiterie at Farmstead, Providence, RI; Cremant, Seattle; Bonne Soiree, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Hatfield's, Los Angeles; Canteen, San Francisco; Revolver, Findlay, Ohio; Le Pigeon, Portland, Ore; and Komi, Washington, DC. epicurious.com/bonappetit

IN THE NEWS: Tom Fitzmorris' The New Orleans Menu spotlights Vietnamese eatery Saigon Grill (Mandeville: 2890 E Causeway Blvd.) as well as his Top 10 Steak Houses, topped by Emeril's Delmonico (1300 St. Charles Ave.), which he calls the best Emeril's restaurant in the area. nomenu.com ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Chef Eddie Ray King's Orleans Grapevine Wine Bar & Bistro (720 Orleans Ave., www.orleansgrapevine.com). bestofneworleans.com ... The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson examines how restaurants are handling the hot summer months. ... Anderson also reports, "By this time next year, the bread pudding soufflé at Commander's Palace will be available with a harbor view. The famous Garden District restaurant plans to have a new location in Destin, Fla., in time for the vacationing crowds. Commander's will be a part of HarborWalk Village, a resort development rising along the beach town's waterfront." nola.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Copeland's Reopens in Elmwood, Kenner

IN THE NEWS: NewOrleansCityBusiness.com reports on newly reopened Copeland’s restaurant on Clearview Parkway in Elmwood. The 8,000-square-foot location opened July 20 for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. A 6,000-square-foot Copeland’s opened on West Esplanade Avenue in Kenner in March. "The two locations stand in contrast to shuttered restaurants on St. Charles Avenue, which critics call an unnecessary reminder of New Orleans’ piecemeal recovery. But the father-son team that owns the restaurant chain said they will reopen the Uptown sites. CEO Al Copeland Jr. said the delay in reopening the Copeland’s at St. Charles and Napoleon avenues and the Cheesecake Bistro at 2001 St. Charles Ave. has nothing to do with his faith in the city’s recovery. “We’ve strategically opened our businesses where it made sense,” Copeland said. He said renovations to Cheesecake Bistro are set to begin today with the restaurant scheduled to open in November. A timeline for the Copeland’s at Napoleon has not yet been set, he said.)" ... The New Orleans Menu Daily's Tom Fitzmorris says Bayona (French Quarter: 430 Dauphine, bayona.com) may be better than it has been in at least five years. nomenu.com ... The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson looks at dining in the Arts District, including Emeril's (800 Tchoupitoulas St.). nola.com ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Taqueria Guerrero Mexico (208 N. Carrollton Ave.) and notes the recent reopening of Lakeview's expanded Reginellis Pizzeria (874 Harrison Ave., www.reginellis.com). The Reginellis chain was formed in New Orleans in 1996 and now has five local shops, plus a Baton Rouge store coming later this summer. bestofneworleans.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Taqueros & Coyoacan Shutters Doors

IN THE NEWS: The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson looks at the influx of cochon de lait (roasted pork) dishes at area restaurants, including Cafe Adelaide (300 Poydras St.), and reports on the Sept. 1 closing of chef Guillermo Peters' Taqueros & Coyoacan on St. Charles Avenue. The chef said he is looking for opportunities outside New Orleans. ... Keith Marszalek reports that Rotolo's Pizzeria at 201 Decatur Street has opened a SnoBall stand out of its side entrance on Decatur. nola.com ...Tom Fitzmorris' New Orleans Menu nomenu.com reviews Calas Bistro (Kenner: 910 West Esplanade Avenue, www.calasbistro.com) and Landry’s Seafood House (West End: 8000 Lakeshore Dr, www.landrysseafoodhouse.com). nomenu.com ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Taj Mahal (923 Metairie Road) and reports, "The former location of Santa Fe restaurant is now home to La Vita Del Forno (801 Frenchmen St.), a casual restaurant serving pizza, pasta and Italian-style sandwiches. Del Forno is essentially an expansion of La Vita (3201Esplanade Ave., www.lavitapizza.com), which opened earlier this year in the former Gabrielle restaurant space in Mid-City, and it has much the same menu. bestofneworleans.com ... NewOrleans.metblogs.com notes the opening of Shaggy's Seafood & Sandwich Shop (at 4413 Banks St.), next to Banks St. Bar & Grill.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Besh Among Finalists for 'Next Iron Chef'

The Food Network has announced its eight finalists to compete in The Next Iron Chef, which premieres Oct. 7 (7 pm CT). The eight: John Besh (New Orleans), executive chef, Restaurant August, Besh Steak, Lüke, La Provence; Chris Cosentino (San Francisco), executive chef, Incanto; Jill Davie (Santa Monica, Calif.), executive chef, Josie; Traci Des Jardins (San Francisco), executive chef and co-owner, Jardinière, Mijita, Acme Chophouse; Gavin Kaysen (San Diego), chef de cuisine, El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn; Morou Ouattara (Washington, D.C.), executive chef and owner, Farrah Olivia; Aarón Sánchez (New York City), executive chef and owner, Centrico, Paladar; Michael Symon (Cleveland), executive chef and owner, Lola, Lolita.

IN THE NEWS: The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson notes that the Louisiana Restaurant Association recently presented Dalton Milton with its Restaurant Legends Award. Milton, the legendary maitre d' of the Rib Room, recently retired after a 46-year career at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel. ... The paper also previews The New Orleans Arts District Association's annual Whitney White Linen Night, Saturday, August 4, 6-9 pm. Sponsored by Whitney National Bank and produced by the Contemporary Arts Center, the annual summer art-walk in New Orleans includes open art galleries, exciting live music on the street, fine cuisine, and refreshing specialty drinks. Admission is free to the outdoor event, with cash bars and food available for purchase. nola.com ... Neworleanscitybusiness.com reports on how area restaurants cope with the slow months of July and August. During Fourth of July, Drago’s second-generation owner Tommy Cvitanovich said he took his family on vacation to the Biloxi, Miss., resort for the week along with about 70 New Orleans restaurateurs and family members from Galatoire’s, Mr. B’s Bistro, Zea’s, Hilton, Café Giovanni and Conco Foods. It’s a tradition for the restaurateurs to vacation together each summer. ... The paper also reports that locally based Raising Cane’s is one of the top 400 U.S.-based chain restaurants, according to Restaurants & Institutions magazine. The magazine ranks chains by sales. Raising Cane’s, which had $84 million in 2006 sales, moved up 68 spots to No. 267. Last year, the company was No. 335. ... Tom Fitzmorris' The New Orleans Menu Daily nomenu.com gives three stars in his review of Calas Bistro (Kenner: 910 West Esplanade Avenue, www.calasbistro.com). ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Lüke (333 St. Charles Ave., www.lukeneworleans.com) and notes the cocktails at Iris (8115 Jeannette St., www.irisneworleans.com). bestofneworleans.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, July 16, 2007

Tales of the Cocktail Festival Bellies Up

IN THE NEWS: The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson weighs in on the city's crackdown on taco trucks and previews the fifth annual Tales of the Cocktail, July 18-22, based at the Hotel Monteleone but held at various French Quarter locations and at restaurants throughout the city. (www.talesofthecocktail.com) nola.com ... Critic Tom Fitzmorris reviews Acropolis Cuisine (Metairie: 3841 Veterans Blvd) and fondly recalls Josie Riccobono, founder of the Peppermill Restaurant in Metairie, who passed away recently. www.nomenu.com ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Fire of Brazil (725 Iberville St., www.fireofbrazil.com), and notes: "If you've been keeping track of the growing number of ice cream parlors and gelato shops opening up around the city, be sure to add this one to your sweet list: the Crescent City Farmers Market (www.crescentcityfamersmarket.org). The newest vendor at the Tuesday edition of the market is La Divina Gelateria (3005 Magazine St., www.ladivinagelateria.com), the Uptown gelato parlor that opened earlier this year." bestofneworleans.com ... Business First of Louisville reports, "The name might no longer be "Gumbo A Go-Go," but the rechristened restaurant company is ready to go-go across the nation with what a new group of franchising executives believe will be the next hot Louisville-based franchise concept. The owners of the J. Gumbo's Down-Home Cajun Cookin' chain plan to add stores during the next few months in such markets as Chicago, Las Vegas, Nashville and New Orleans, said Don Larose, president of the parent company, Gumbo Development LLC."

By Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Brigtsen's Still Wows Critic Fitzmorris

IN THE NEWS: Tom Fitzmorris' nomenu.com gives four stars to Brigtsen’s (723 Dante), three stars to Little Tokyo (Metairie: 1521 N. Causeway Blvd.) and reports the opening of Covington's 21 W (100 Tyler Square). ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Rivershack Tavern (3449 River Road, Jefferson, www.therivershacktavern.com). bestofneworleans.com ... The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson rounds up area tapas joints and also reports the closing of Indonique Tea & Chai Cafe on Magazine. nola.com ... NolaCuisine.com visits Napoleon House (500 Chartres Street).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Gabrielle Chef Surfaces at New Orleans Grill

IN THE NEWS: The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson reviews The Crab Trap (Peavine Road near the Peavine Boat Launch, Frenier) and reports, "While the controversy surrounding the proposed opening of Gabrielle restaurant Uptown may not be dead, the volume was certainly lowered earlier this week when the Windsor Court Hotel announced that it has hired Greg Sonnier, Gabrielle's owner, to be the chef of its storied restaurant, the New Orleans Grill. Ashish Verma, general manager of the Windsor Court, said of Sonnier's hiring, "We're in the business of giving people what they desire, and the desire has been to have a local chef" preside over the kitchen of the hotel's traditionally Euro-centric restaurant. He called Sonnier "a stalwart of Louisiana cuisine" that will bring a strong local voice to a place that, in its heyday, was a trendsetting local restaurant. The hotel's restaurant has been without a permanent executive chef since January, when Michael Collins, a post-storm hire, was dismissed from the job." nola.com ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Little Tokyo (310 N. Carrollton Ave) and reports: Grand Isle (575 Convention Center Blvd.) opened early in June as the latest addition to the Fulton Street Mall, the street being redeveloped by Harrah's Casino as an entertainment corridor. bestofneworleans.com ... Where Y'At magazine's July 2007 issue offers its summer restaurant guide. whereyat.net ... NolaCuisine.com stops by The Camellia Grill (626 S Carrollton Ave). ... food.yatpundit.com visits Liuzza's on Bienville.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Abita Springs' Praised Longbranch Closes

IN THE NEWS: The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson reviews Central American eatery Pupuseria Divino Corazon (2300 Belle Chasse Highway, Gretna) and reports on the June 13 closing of acclaimed modern-French restaurant Longbranch in Abita Springs. Longbranch, which opened weeks after Hurricane Katrina, was owned and operated by the award-winning husband and wife team of chefs Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing. Vines-Rushing was named rising star chef of the year in 2004 by the James Beard Foundation for her work Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar in Manhattan. The married couple, who are still in their early 30s, were drawn back to their native Louisiana by the lure of Southern cuisine and the historic grounds of the former Longbranch Hotel Annex. The property dates to the 19th century and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's also the former home of Artesia, the restaurant where Restaurant August's John Besh made his name. The couple plans to remain in the area, open Longbranch as a party facility, and perhaps open another restaurant on the south shore. ... Anderson also reports that Grand Isle recently opened near Harrah's New Orleans Casino. The seafood-focused restaurant is the brainchild of Joel Dondis, the local caterer and co-owner of La Petite Grocery. Grand Isle is at 575 Convention Center Blvd. ... Gambit's Ian McNulty bestofneworleans.com reviews the rustic Italian eatery Ristorante da Piero (401 Williams Blvd., Kenner) and notes, "The new owners of the Camellia Grill (626 S. Carrollton Ave.) did their best to keep the landmark diner just as its many fans remembered it before a 20-month Katrina-imposed hiatus, but one thing most people noticed right away was the early closing time imposed by limited staffing. After all, late-night indulgences of chili omelets, cheese fries and chocolate freezes were part of the Camellia Grill's appeal. Camellia's hours are pushing back a little later. The diner now stays open until 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and until midnight Friday-Sunday."

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Willie Mae's Scotch House Reopens

IN THE NEWS: Iconic soul food joint Willie Mae's Scotch House (2401 St Anne St, Mid-City), which reopened briefly this spring after undergoing months of post-Katrina renovations, is now open 11 am-4 pm Mon-Fri. ... Lil' Dizzy's has opened in the Whitney Wyndham Hotel, Tom Fitzmorris' nomenu.com reports: "It's the second location of Li'l Dizzy's, the modest breakfast-and-lunch cafe that Wayne Baquet opened on Esplanade Avenue after he closed Zachary's Uptown. Baquet is the son of Eddie Baquet, who for decades ran Eddie's, one of America's most famous soul food restaurants, on Law Street in Gentilly," writes Fitzmorris. "What will make this place happen, however, is Bacquet's partner in this new restaurant. Kevin Belton has been for many years the star teacher at the New Orleans School of Cooking, with a jazzy style that keeps everybody smiling." ... In its July 2007 issue, Food & Wine magazine foodandwine.com features its prestigious Best New Chefs of 2007 list, including: Ian Schnoebelen of Iris in New Orleans, Sean O' Brien of Myth in San Francisco, Paul Virant of Vie in Western Springs (Ill.), Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in Portland (Ore.), Gabriel Bremer of Salts in Cambridge (Mass.), Gavin Kaysen of El Bizcocho in San Diego, April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig in New York City, Johnny Morris of Komi in Washington, D.C, Steve Corry of Five Fifty-Five in Portland (Maine) and Matthew Dillon of Sitka & Spruce in Seattle. ... Gambit weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Jung's Golden Dragon (4417 Veterans Memorial Blvd.) and reports the reopening of Fair Grinds Coffeehouse (3133 Ponce de Leon St., www.fairgrinds.com). He also notes the recent closings of: Fire!, built in an historic former firehouse in the Lower Garden District and among the first crop of restaurants to reopen after Hurricane Katrina; the Italian restaurants Nardo's Trattoria and Ristorante Civello in Uptown; and La Spiga, the bakery and sandwich shop in Faubourg Marigny that was a long-time farmers market vendor. ... Also, be sure to check out Gambit's informative Summer Restaurant Guide, available online. bestofneworleans.com ... The Times-Picayune's Robyn Loda reviews Semolina's Bistro Italia (3226 Magazine St., New Orleans; 70380 Louisiana 21, Creekstone Village, Covington). nola.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, June 11, 2007

Palace Cafe Chef Wins Best of Show

IN THE NEWS: Gambit's Ian McNulty reviews Café Amelie (912 Royal St) and reports, "More than 75 local restaurants took part in the grand tasting events at the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (www.nowfe.com) over Memorial Day weekend and a few took home awards for the creations they served to guests. Palace Cafe's (605 Canal St.) Darin Nesbit won best of show at the May 25 tasting for citrus-marinated tuna with wasabi tobiko, and Glen Hogh of Vega Tapas Cafe (2051 Metairie Rd.) won top honors at the May 26 tasting for his Creole tomato gazpacho with crabmeat and cucumber sorbet. Best of show dessert awards went to Tenney Flynn of GW Fins (808 Bienville St.) for mini apple pies with caramel and bleu cheese and Lazone Randolph of Brennan's Restaurant (417 Royal St.) for his rendition of the classic bananas Foster. Other awards went to Roberto Bustillo of Zoe Restaurant at the W Hotel, Nick Gile of the Bombay Club, Scott Boswell of Stella!, Greg Reggio of Zea Rotisserie and Grill, David Brockstruck of Martin Wine Celler and Guy Sockrider of Muriel's Jackson Square. NOWFE uses proceeds from its annual festival to support local culinary education programs." bestofneworleans.com ... Tom Fitzmorris' www.nomenu.com reviews Peristyle, and the Filipino brunch at Streetcar Bistro (201 Baronne).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Gabrielle's Woes; Nardo's, Fire Close

IN THE NEWS: The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson reports on the travails of Gabrielle: "Greg and Mary Sonnier were restaurateurs for 13 years before Gabrielle, their acclaimed Mid-City restaurant, was inundated with floodwater from the levee breaches. While the Sonniers have repeatedly vowed to remain in New Orleans, their future has been on hold for nearly two years as they've struggled to restart their business. Today, the only aspect of their career that seems certain is that they will not open a restaurant at 438 Henry Clay Ave., the property they purchased in March of 2006 for $700,000 with the hope of establishing it as the new home of Gabrielle. Greg Sonnier has posted "For Sale" and "For Lease" signs outside the building at that address. After a year of conflict with neighbors and City Hall surrounding his plans for Gabrielle, the chef concluded that he can't move forward with plans to open a restaurant on the Uptown property, which is just a short walk from his family's home.". nola.com ... Tom Fitzmorris' www.nomenu.com reports on the recent closings of Nardo's and Fire, as well as refuting rumors that Gabrielle would take over the Nardo's space. Writes Fitzmorris of the Lower Garden District's Fire, "The restaurant was a pioneer in its neighborhood, as well as after the storm. They were open in October 2005--among the first ten percent to do so (post-Hurricane Katrina). They toughed it longer than most would. I hope it can somehow revive in some form, somewhere." ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Orleans Seafood (3301 S. Claiborne Ave.), housed in a former Taco Bell that never reopened after Hurricane Katrina. He also notes similarly sounding but unrelated Latin BYOB'ers Baru Bistro & Tapas (3700 Magazine St.) and Baru Café (3235 Williams Blvd. in Kenner) as well as the new Cuban coffee shop Café Cubano (424 S. Broad St.). bestofneworleans.com ... New Orleans magazine neworleansmagazine.com looks at cheap eats at Lola’s (3312 Esplanade Ave.), La Vita (3201 Esplanade Ave.), Jamila’s Café (7808 Maple St.) and The Delachaise (3442 St. Charles Ave.).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Where Y'At's Best of the Big Easy Winners

Where Y'At magazine whereyat.net announces its Best of the Big Easy awards in its June 2007 issue. The winners:

CRITICS

Best Italian Dining Comeback: Venezia's and Brocato's
Best Place to Dine with a Longshoreman, a Movie Star, a Co-ed, a Tourist, and a Y'at: Franky & Johnny's
Best Bar: Parasol's, 2533 Constance St.
Best Coffee Shop: Café Luna, 802 Nashville Ave.
Best New Restaurant: Sapor, 535 Tchoupitoulas St., 599-2111
Best Place to End Your Night on Lower Decatur: Mojo Lounge, 1140 Decatur St.
Best Place to Drink & Not be Bothered by Loud-Mouth Ass-Wipes: The Crown & Anchor English Pub, 200 Pelican Ave.
Best Damn Barbecue: The Joint, 801 Poland Ave.
Best Place To Hang Out: Hookah Café, 500 Frenchmen St.
Best Place for a Margarita: Serrano's
Best Eating In St. Bernard Parish: Rocky & Carol's Restaurant & Bar, 613 St.Bernard Hwy.
Best Mediteranean Tobacco Bar and Grill: Attiki Bar & Grill, 230 Decatur St.
Best Breasts in the Quarter: Dixie Roadhouse, 808 Iberville St.
Coldest Beer in Town: Bud Rip's, 900 Piety St.
Best Place in the Quarter to Listen to Heavy Metal and Eat Burgers: Yo Mama's, 727 St. Peter
Best Mojito: Bridge Lounge, 1200 Magazine St.

READERS

Best Chef
1. Emeril
2. John Besh
3. Jim Link

Best New Restaurant
1. Ignatius
2. Anatole’s
3. Iris

Best Neighborhood Restaurant (Bywater/Marigny)
1. Feelings
2. Mimi’s in the Marigny
3. Marigny Brasserie

Best Neighborhood Restaurant (Uptown)
1. Café Atchafalaya
2. Franky & Johnnie’s
3. Felix’s

Best Neighborhood Restaurant (French Quarter)
1. Port of Call
2. Fiorella’s
3. EAT

Best Neighborhood Restaurant (CBD/Warehouse)
1. Mother’s
2. Bon Ton Café
3. Ernst Café

Best Neighborhood Restaurant (Mid-City)
1. Liuzza’s
2. Mandina’s
3. Café Degas

Best Neighborhood Restaurant (Metairie)
1. Chad’s
2. Zeke’s
3. Fury’s

Best Neighborhood Restaurant (Westbank)
1. Red Maple
2. Gattuso’s
3. Perino’s

Best Neighborhood Restaurant (Northshore)
1. Times Bar & Grill
2. Broken Egg Cafe
3. Abita Brew Pub

Best Upscale Restaurant
1. Commander’s Palace
2. Galatoire’s
3. Restaurant August

Best Casual Restaurant
1. Zea
2. Red Fish Grill
3. Acme Oyster House

Best Deli
1. Stein’s Market & Deli
2. Martin’s Wine Cellar
3. Whole Foods

Best Place to Get a Salad
1. Café Latte II
2. Café Rani
3. Whole Foods

Best Restaurant for Desserts
1. Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro (FYI: This Isn't even open In New Orleans)
2. Sucre
3. Palace Cafe

Best Service
1. Commander’s Palace
2. Emeril’s Delmonico
3. Restaurant August

Best Outdoor Eating
1. Café Rani
2. Fresco
3. Café Freret

Best Lunch Spot
1. Parkway Bakery
2. Crabby Jack’s
3. Semolina’s

Best Breakfast Spot
1. Bluebird
2. Riccobono’s Panola St. Cafe
3. Slim Goodies

Best Brunch Spot
1. Café Amelie
2. Surrey’s
3. Elizabeth’s

Best Romantic Date Spot
1. One Restaurant & Lounge
2. La Crepe Nanou
3. Table One

Best Late Night Spot
1. Mimi’s in the Marigny
2. Angeli
3. St. Charles Tavern

Best Diner
1. Slim Goodies
2. Rosie's
3. Dot’s Diner

Best Café
1. Café Degas
2. Café Rani
3. Café Atchafalaya

Best Coffee Shop
1. Rue de la Course
2. Zotz
3. Bayou Coffee house

Best Chinese Restaurant
1. Five Happiness
2. August Moon
3. Trey Yuen

Best Japanese Restaurant
1. Sake Cafe
2. Shogun
3. Ninja

Best Thai Restaurant
1. Suko Thai
2. Basil Leaf
3. La Thai Cuisine

Best Vietnamese Restaurant
1. DoSon's Noodle House
2. Jazmine Café
3. Pho Tau Bay

Best BBQ Restaurant
1. Voodoo BBQ
2. Corky’s
3. Zydeque

Best Italian Restaurant
1. Café Giovanni
2. Vincent’s
3. Venezia

Best Creole Restaurant
1. Jacque-Imo’s
2. Clancy’s Courtyard
3. Gumbo Shop

Best Cajun Restaurant
1. K-Paul’s
2. Mulate’s
3. Uptown Cajun

Best American Restaurant
1. Cannon’s
2. N.O. Hamburger & Seafood
3. Houston’s

Best Indian Restaurant
1. Nirvana
2. Taj Mahal
3. Sara’s

Best Mediterranean Restaurant
1. Byblos
2. Fellini’s Cafe
3. Mediterranean Cafe

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant
1. Mona’s Cafe
2. Lebanon Cafe
3. Cafe Pyramid

Best Mexican Restaurant
1. Caretta’s Grill
2. Taqueros Coyoacan
3. Taqueria Corona

Best Latin Restaurant
1. Serrano’s Salsa Co.
2. Liborio’s
3. Fiesta Bistro

Best Seafood Restaurant
1. Rio Mar
2. Gulfstream
3. La Cote Brasserie

Best Steakhouse
1. Crazy Johnnie’s Cafe & Bar
2. Crescent City Steaks
3. Shula’s Steakhouse

Best Bar That Serves Food
1. Le Bon Temps
2. River Shack Tavern
3. Bruno’s

Best Fried Chicken
1. Fiorella’s
2. Jaques-Imo’s Cafe
3. Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits

Best Pizza by the Slice
1. Slice
2. Dough Bowl
3. Tower of Pizza

Best Pasta
1. Semolina’s
2. Vincent’s
3. Café Giovanni

Best Oyster Bar
1. Acme Oyster House
2. Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar
3. Pascal's Manale

Best Shrimp Po-Boy
1. Short Stop
2. Crabby Jack’s
3. Domilise’s Po-Boys

Best Roast Beef Po-Boy
1. Parasol’s
2. Parkway Bakery & Tavern
3. Magazine St. Po-Boy shop

Best Oyster Po-Boy
1. Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar
2. Acme Oyster House
3. Casamento’s

Best Sushi
1. Mikimoto
2. Rock-n-Sake
3. Wasabi

Best Gumbo
1. Gumbo Shop
2. Mandina’s
3. Mr. B’s

Best Burrito
1. Juan’s Flying Burrito
2. Nacho Mama’s
3. Felipe’s

Best Pizza
1. Reginelli’s
2. Theo’s
3. Fresco

Best Place to Get Take Out
1. Spudly’s
2. Five Happiness
3. Reginelli’s

Best Place to Order Delivery
1. Reginelli’s
2. Five Happiness
3. Roman’s Pizza

Best Ice Cream
1. Coldstone
2. Creole Creamery
3. Ben & Jerry’s

Best Gelato
1. Brocato’s
2. Sophie’s
3. La Divina

Best Happy Hour
1. The Columns Hotel
2. The Boot
3. The Bulldog

Best Dive Bar
1. Ms. Mae’s
2. Snake and Jake's
3. The Saint Bar & Lounge

Best Late Night Bar
1. Ye Olde Original Dungeon
2. Ampersand
3. F&M’s Patio Bar

Best Place to See and Be Seen
1. Republic New Orleans
2. The Columns Hotel
3. Whiskey Blue

Best Sports Bar
1. Bruno’s
2. Cooter Brown’s
3. Fox and Hound Pub & Grill

Best Upscale Bar
1. Monkey Hill Bar
2. Republic New Orleans
3. The Delachaise

Best Hotel Bar
1. Whiskey Blue
2. The Columns Hotel
3. Carousel Bar @ The Monteleone

Best New Bar/Club
1. Club 300
2. 45 Tchoup
3. 528 Jazz Club

Best Gay Bar
1. Bourbon Pub and Parade
2. Oz
3. Starlight

Best College Bar
1. The Boot
2. Bruno’s
3. Ms. Mae’s

Best Irish Pub
1. The Kerry Irish Pub
2. Finn McCool’s
3. Bud Rips

Best Place to Get a Bloody Mary
1. Pat O’Brien's
2. Igor’s
3. The Superdome Bar

Best Place to Get a Margarita
1. Nacho Mama’s
2. Superior Grill
3. Caretta’s Grill

Best Place to Get a Martini
1. Sweet Fire & Ice
2. Monkey Hill
3. Whiskey Blue

Best Place to Drink Wine
1. The Delachaise
2. Tommy’s Wine Bar
3. Sip

Best Place to Drink Beer
1. The Bulldog
2. Cooter Brown’s
3. Rivershack Tavern

Best Place to Get a Mojito
1. St. Joe’s
2. Pat O’s
3. Bridge Lounge

Best Neighborhood Hangout (Bywater/Marigny)
1. Mimi’s in the Marigny
2. Vaughn’s
3. St. Roch Tavern

Best Neighborhood Hangout (Uptown)
1. St. Joe’s Bar
2. Ms. Mae’s
3. Monkey Hill

Best Neighborhood Hangout (French Quarter)
1. Monaghan's Erin Rose
2. Molly’s at the Market
3. Pat O’s

Best Neighborhood Hangout (CBD/Warehouse)
1. Lucy’s Retired Surfer's Bar & Restaurant
2. Ernst Café
3. Red Eye Grill

Best Neighborhood Hangout (Mid-City)
1. Pal’s
2. Finn McCool’s
3. Banks St. Bar and Grill

Best Neighborhood Hangout (Metairie)
1. New Orleans Original Daiquiris
2. Jiggers
3. Shooter's

Best Neighborhood Hangout (Westbank)
1. Crown & Anchor
2. Honey’s
3. Old Point

Best Neighborhood Hangout (Northshore)
1. Ruby’s Roadhouse
2. Tap Room
3. The Green Room


IN THE NEWS: Tom Fitzmorris of the New Orleans Menu Daily www.nomenu.com reports: "After two nights of packed houses for charities, followed by a Saturday evening when it was open without letting anyone know about it, the Drago's big new restaurant on the riverfront (2 Poydras) is now fully open. ... Ye Olde College Inn's familiar premises on South Carrollton Avenue near Earhart Boulevard was torn down May 20. This came as a surprise to almost everyone, including us. When the long-running (since 1933) restaurant reopened in February 2006, it did so in an adjacent building owned by John Blanchard. Before the storm, he'd planned to use that facility for a Thai restaurant, and it was nearly ready to go after a renovation. We heard that the plan was to keep the College Inn there while the old building, which stood in deep flood water, was repaired. However, the old place must have been in as bad a condition as it looked. ... Patrick Van Hoorebeek has been running the dining room at Peristyle for the past few months--a perfect fit for both him and the restaurant. Now, with the retirement of long-time Rib Room maitre d' Dalton Milton, Patrick has been hired as assistant maitre d'. ... Fitzmorris also reports that chef Greg Picolo is back in the kitchen at Bistro at Maison de Ville, due to reopen on May 29 ... Fitzmorris' Top 60 ethnic restaurants countdown considers No. 42, the Mexican eatery Casa Garcia in Metarie and Mandeville ... The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson's search for the elusive Reuben sandwich takes him to Stein's Market and Deli in the Lower Garden District, while colleague Keith I. Marszalek blogs, "The legendary Camellia Grill will extend the abbreviated hours of operation to be one step closer to again welcoming late night diners. The new hours will go into effect beginning May 21. The new extended hours of operation will be Monday-Thursday 8 am-10 pm, Friday-Sunday 8 a.m.- midnight. Although the grill will not yet return to the original pre-Hurricane Katrina hours of operation, the newly extended hours are due to adding additional staff and the demand that has been present since the April 21st re-grand opening." nola.com ... Gambit Weekly's Ian McNulty reviews Middendorf's Restaurant (Hwy. 51 at Pass Manchac) and also reports the reopening of Tony Angello's Restaurant (6262 Fleur de Lis Drive). bestofneworleans.com ... BloggingNewOrleans.com visits Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant (701 St. Charles Ave.)

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, May 21, 2007

Several Locals on Esquire's Best Bars List

Esquire magazine's second annual Best Bars of America list is out in the June 2007 issue. They include:

Lou's Pub & Package, Birmingham, Ala.; J Lounge, Golden Gopher, The Edison, The Broadway Bar, La Cita, Bordello, Redwood, and Bar 107, Los Angeles; Musso & Frank Grill, Hollywood, Calif.; The Polo Lounge, Beverly Hills; Beach Ball, Newport Beach, Calif.; Brennan's Pub, Marina Del Ray, Calif.; Bourbon & Branch, The Owl Tree, Vesuvio, and Zeitgeist, San Francisco; The Sportsman, Sonora, Calif.; Cruise Room, and El Chapultepec, Denver; Jimbo's, and Churchill's Pub, Miami; The Clermont Lounge, Atlanta; Lewers Lounge at the Halekulani Hotel, and La Mariana Sailing Club, Honolulu; The California Clipper, The Red Lion Pub, Bungalow, The Matchbox, Hideout, and Chipp Inn, Chicago; The Red Key, and Nicky Blaine's, Indianapolis; The Old Seelbach Bar, Louisville; The Chart Room, The Bar at Tujague's, Fritzel's European Jazz Pub, and Napoleon House, New Orleans; The Brewer's Art, and Shamrock Inn, Baltimore; B-Side Lounge, Cambridge, Mass.; No. 9 Park, Boston; Doyle's Cafe, Jamaica Plain, Mass.; The Bar at Seldom Blues, Detroit; Miller's Bar, Dearborn, Mich.; Bulldog NE, and Nye's Polonaise Room, Minneapolis; Half Time Rec, St. Paul; John D. McGurk's, St. Louis; Any bar on the Strip, Double Down Saloon, and Petrossian Bar, Las Vegas; Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, Little Branch, The Bar at Keens Steakhouse, Minetta Tavern, Jimmy's Corner, The Angel's Share, The Brooklyn Inn, The Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel, Flatiron Lounge, The Saloon, San Domenico Restaurant, Spuyten Duyvil, 21 Club, Grassroots Tavern, Bill's Gay 90s, Julius', and Pegu Club, New York City; Freddy's Bar & Backroom, Brooklyn; Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Queens; Thomas Street Tavern, Charlotte, NC; Andyman's Treehouse, Columbus, Ohio; The Library Bar & Grill, Norman, Okla.; Friendly Lounge, The Grey Lodge, and Southwark, Philadelphia; Dee's Cafe, Pittsburgh; Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, and Robert's Western World, Nashville; La Tuna, San Antonio; Donn's Depot, Austin; The Inwood Lounge, Dallas; Shooting Star Saloon, Huntsville, Utah; Sambar, Zig Zag Cafe, and Fu Kun Wu, Seattle; Hawk 'n' Dove, and The Tune Inn, Washington, DC; Holler House, Milwaukee.

IN THE NEWS: USA Today's usatoday.com Jerry Shriver details the travails of New Orleans' Hurricane Katrina-ravaged soul food icons Dooky Chase's and Willie Mae's Scotch House. Dooky Chase's is now set to reopen sometime in June after a $500,000 renovation, with a similar timetable for Willie Mae's Scotch House, which reopened briefly and then closed in April. ... Best wishes to Tom Fitzmorris of The New Orleans Menu Daily www.nomenu.com, who's recovering from recent eye surgery although remains steadfastly at work to report the May 18 reopening of Gretna's Pupuseria Divino Corazon, from the Salmeron family, natives of El Salvador. ... Featuring over 15,000 glasses of wine being poured from 1000 different wines from over 200 winemakers, the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience is set to roll Wednesday, May 23-Sunday, May 27 throughout the city. Over 600 fine wines from around the world and 100 New Orleans restaurants will be on display, the Times-Picayne nola.com reports. ... Gambit's Ian McNulty reviews La Boca (857 Fulton St.) and notes, "The intimate bistro Café Volage (720 Dublin St. ) has begun a transition into a traditional Spanish tapas restaurant under new ownership. In April, Spanish-born chef Xavier Laurentino bought the 15-year-old Riverbend restaurant from founder Felix Gallerani, but the switch is nothing if not gradual." bestofneworleans.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, May 14, 2007

New Orleans No. 5 on Best Restaurant Cities

"Today ... most major cities in the U.S. have the kind of gastronomic diversity and regionality that is rich in every department, and even if you’ve visited recently, you can be sure that next time you go, there’ll be more new and enticing restaurants than you could possibly visit," writes Donald Burnam in a recent ForbesTraveler.com piece, "America's Best Restaurant Cities." "It’s getting hard not to have a great meal anywhere in the U.S.." Burnam continues.

Forbes' Top 10 Restaurant Cities:
1. New York City
2. Chicago
3. San Francisco
4. Los Angeles
5. New Orleans
6. Houston
7. Washington, D.C.
8. Atlanta
9. Boston
10. Las Vegas

Rankings were based on: Overall number of restaurants above the fast food level; Number of fine dining restaurants with national and international standing; Solid representation of regional American food; A wide segment of second-tier restaurants that would include seafood, steakhouses, and independently chef-owned restaurants; Breadth and depth of ethnic restaurants, especially if the city has neighborhood such as a Chinatown; A significant number of neigborhood restaurants where the locals tend to eat out regularly; A well-traveled clientele that regards eating out in that city one of the real pleasures of going there.

Angelo Brocato's on Top Ice Cream List
Just in time for summer, Mark DeCarlo, host of Travel Channel's Taste of America, lists his favorite 10 ice cream and frozen confections joints in USA Today usatoday.com: Pinkberry, Los Angeles pinkberry.com; Angelo Brocato's, New Orleans, angelobrocatoicecream.com; Graeter's, Cincinnati (with other locations in Dayton, Columbus, Louisville and Lexington, Ky.), graeters.com; Leon's Frozen Custard, Milwaukee, foodspot.com/leons; Ghirardelli, San Francisco (for the hot fudge sundaes), ghirardelli.com; Otto, New York ottopizzeria.com/menu_gelato.html; Ted Drewes, St. Louis, teddrewes.com; Bobtail Ice Cream Co., Chicago, bobtailicecream.com; Valentino's, Las Vegas, venetian.com; Waiola Shave Ice, Honolulu.

IN THE NEWS: Tom Fitzmorris' essential nomenu.com reports, "Thursday night, May 10, Tony Angello's Restaurant reopened quietly, but fully. The long-running Italian favorite, which boasts one of the strongest of regular clienteles, is back in the building that took such deep flood water after the hurricane that rescue workers had to make their orange X-mark on the roof instead of on a wall. The restaurant's location on the corner of Fleur de Lis and West Harrison Avenue was only a few blocks away from one of the worst levee breaches, which sent eight-foot-deep water flowing through the place for days. At first, the 78-year-old Tony Angello said that he couldn't see how he could reopen, so devastated was the neighborhood. But he quickly changed his mind. ..." The Times-Picayune's Brett Anderson delivers a fine story on modern culinary classics from New Orleans, including barbecue shrimp from Pascale's Manale in 1954 and fried oysters with melted Brie from Clancy's chef Steve Manning more than 20 years ago. nola.com ... Gambit critic Ian McNulty reviews Café Minh, 4139 Canal St. He also notes, "As those who regard dessert as the most important meal of the day must already know, Sucré (3025 Magazine St., www.shopsucre.com) opened its doors Uptown late in April ... New coffee shop Cafe Bayard is open late on Magazine Street and another, Urban Cup Cafe, has relocated just a few blocks down the street and stretched its hours to 24/7. bestofneworleans.com
Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Herbsaint Chef Nabs James Beard Award

Chicago's Frontera Grill won Outstanding Restaurant of the Year and Michel Richard of Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington, D.C. was named Outstanding Chef at the 2007 James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony. Hosted by CBS Early Show anchor Hannah Storm, the Beard Awards were held May 7 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York's Lincoln Center. More than 60 awards were presented by the country's pre-eminent nonprofit culinary organization, in its 20th anniversary celebration, and more than 1,600 industry leaders attended the ceremony. Other top awards went to: New York's L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, named Best New Restaurant; Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca.) received the award for Outstanding Restaurateur; and David Chang (Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York) received the Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Celebrity and culinary superstar attendees included Stephanie March, Ted Allen, Katie Lee Joel, Martha Stewart, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Thomas Keller, Jose Andres, Tom Colicchio, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Padma Lakshmi, and Marcus Samuelsson. The Foundation's Media Awards took place at a separate event at the Hudson Theatre at Millennium Broadway Hotel on May 6. All Award winners received a bronze medallion etched with the image of the late James Beard, the esteemed chef, cookbook author, and food journalist. There are no cash awards. Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognizes outstanding achievement within the fine food and beverage industry in North America. For full awards results, please visit http://www.jamesbeard.org.

Beard Award highlights are:

AMERICA'S CLASSICS: Primanti Brothers, Demetrios Patrinos, Pittsburgh, Pa.; The Pickwick, Christopher Wisocki, Duluth, Minn.; Doe's Eat Place, The Signa Family, Greenville, Miss.; Aunt Carrie's, Elsie Foy, Narragansett, R.I.; I

Brookville Hotel, Mark and Connie Martin, Abilene, Kan.; Weaver D's, Dexter Weaver, Athens, Ga.

BEST CHEF, GREAT LAKES: Grant Achatz, Alinea, Chicago

BEST CHEF, MID-ATLANTIC: R.J. Cooper, III, Vidalia, Washington, DC

BEST CHEF, MIDWEST: Celina Tio, The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.

BEST CHEF, NEW YORK CITY: David Waltuck, Chanterelle, New York, NY

BEST CHEF, NORTHEAST: Frank McClelland, L'Espalier, Boston

BEST CHEF, NORTHWEST: John Sundstrom, Lark, Seattle

BEST CHEF, PACIFIC: Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière, San Francisco

BEST CHEF, SOUTH: Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

BEST CHEF, SOUTHEAST: Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur, Ga.

BEST CHEF, SOUTHWEST: Nobuo Fukuda, Sea Saw, Scottsdale, Ariz.

BEST NEW RESTAURANT: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Chef-Owner: Joël Robuchon, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING CHEF: Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF: Michael Laskonis, Le Bernardin, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT: Frontera Grill, chef-owner: Rick and Deann Bayless, Chicago

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.

OUTSTANDING SERVICE: Rick Tramonto, Gale Gand, and Richard Melman, Tru, Chicago

OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL: Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards, Cupertino, Calif.

OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE: Mark Slater, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR: David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York, NY



IN THE NEWS: Tom Fitzmorris, with no rest for the weary after two weekends of Jazz Fest, continues spotlighting the Sixty Best Ethnic Restaurants in New Orleans in his comprehensive newsletter and website nomenu.com and reports that the Big Easy restaurant count is 812, three more than pre-Katrina hurricane levels. Fitzmorris also looks at new restaurants Ardoise (4300 Veterans Blvd.) and chef John Besh's Luke, 333 St. Charles Ave. ... Gambit looks at Que Crawl, the catering truck that serves as a mobile showcase for the barbecue and inventive Southern cooking of Nathanial Zimet. The truck is painted K&B purple and can be found right outside the doors of Tipitina's late at night Thursdays through Saturdays and on Sunday afternoons. ... Gambit also reports on the April opening of the Uptown Vietnamese cafe LA Café Deli (1200 S. Carrollton Ave.).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Surpassing Pre-Katrina Numbers

The esteemed restaurant critic and chronicler Tom Fitzmorris currently lists 810 restaurants that have reopened in New Orleans, one more than the pre-Katrina level. One of the latest has been Deanie's Seafood, 841 Iberville, which Fitzmorris regards as having the best boiled seafood in the French Quarter. Other recent high-profile reopenings: Camellia Grill and Mr. B's Bistro. Fitzmorris' definitive New Orleans dining website, www.nomenu.com, also includes a list food purveyors and recommendations dishes for visitors to the second weekend of the long-running New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this weekend, May 4-6. ... Fitzmorris also reports that Dalton Milton, who started working at the Royal Orleans Hotel when it first opened in 1960, has retired from his post as maitre d'hotel at the Rib Room. ... And, of course, The Times-Picayune's essential www.nola.com site and Gambit weekly's rich www.bestofneworleans.com site also include a complete rundown of festival food choices. ... Besides intensive from-site coverage of Jazz Fest, www.bloggingneworleans.com has news of Pravda, a new Russian-themed cafe-bar at 1113 Decatur St. .. The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times offers a travel piece on New Orleans in its April 29 issue. www.sptimes.com ... Antoine's, Arnaud's, Galatoire's, Brennan's and Commander's Palace were featured in the April issue of Southern Living magazine. www.southernliving.com

Roughly the dining out equivalent of The Academy Awards, The James Beard Foundation annual awards ceremony takes place Monday, May 7, at the Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. The talented Donald Link of New Orleans' Herbsaint is among the five nominees for Best Chef: South. Go to www.jamesbeard.org for the complete list, but here's a partial list of national nominees:

-- Outstanding Restaurant: Boulevard, San Francisco; Frontera Grill, Chicago; Magnolia Grill, Durham, N.C., Picholine, New York; Spiaggia, Chicago.
-- Best New Restaurant: A Voce, New York City; Chochon, New Orleans; Cut, Beverly Hill, Calif; L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, New York City; Momofuku Ssam Bar, New York City; Restaurant Guy Savoy, Las Vegas.
-- Outstanding Restaurateur: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif; Keith McNally, Balthazar, New York City; Richard Melman, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (R.J. Grunts, Wildfire, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!), Chicago; Drew Nieporent, Myriad Restaurant Group (Tribeca Grill, Nobu, Rubicon), New York City; Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jean Georges restaurant, New York City.
-- Outstanding Chef: Tom Colicchio, Craft, New York City; Lee Hefter, Spago, Beverly Hills, Calif.; Jean Joho, Everest, Chicago; Paul Kahan, Blackbird, Chicago; Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, D.C.
-- Rising Star Chef: Nate Appleman, A16, San Francisco; Graham Elliot Bowles, Avenues at The Peninsula Hotel, Philadelphia; David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York; Patrick Connelly, Radius, Boston; Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park, New York City.

Restaurant magazine just released its list of the world's top 100 restaurants. (http://www.theworlds50best.com/2007_list.html) Here are the U.S. entries:

The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca. (No. 4)
Per Se, New York City (No. 9)
Jean Georges, New York City (No. 18)
Le Bernardin, New York City (No. 26)
Charlie Trotter's, Chicago (No. 30)
Daniel, New York City (No. 32)
Alinea, Chicago (No. 36)
Chez Panisse, Berkeley, Ca. (No. 40)
Masa, New York City (No. 56)
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the Four Seasons, New York City (No. 64)
Peter Lugar, Brooklyn, NY (No. 69)
Nobu New York, New York City (No. 89)
Gramercy Tavern, New York City (No. 90)
WD-50, New York City (No. 91)
Zuni Café, San Francisco (No. 98)
Alex at Wynn, Las Vegas (No. 100)

Playboy magazine's May issue includes its list of America's 10 Best Steakhouses. (Hey, now you can say you really DO read the articles!) Those deemed bunny worthy include:

Bone's in Atlanta.
Keefer's in Chicago
Cresecent City Steaks in New Orleans
Cut in Los Angeles
Bern's in Tampa
Craftsteak in Las Vegas
Grill 23 & Bar in Boston
El Raigon in San Francisco
Red in Cleveland
Sparks in New York City

Read more at www.playboy.com/style/a-list/steakhouses