Artist Spotlight The Art of Food K-Paul's and Matt Rinard

July 27, 2018
Chef Paul Miller of K Paul’s restaurant has cheat sheets. Well, I better clear that up before I get nasty emails. What I meant to say was Chef Paul Miller of K Paul’s has cheat sheets that are a cross between colorful comedy and well thought-out design.

Rest yourself in the ambiance of K Paul’s on Chartres Street, and it might be easy to miss these well placed cheat sheets. The tantalizing smells, the unquestionable top notch service, and the mouthwatering cocktails all fight for the attention of diners in one of New Orleans most famed and celebrated dining spots. Tourist and locals alike mark their calendars for the next time that can dive into the Blackened Louisiana Drum, while they are staring at it in front of them. Chef Miller has been at the helm for 35 years and has made dining at K Paul’s a true art form.

But take a break from salivating for a moment, and look around the dining room; notice the elaborately colorful recipes adorning the walls,most recently added to and updated by artist Matt Rinard of Gallery Rinard on Royal Street. Rinard’s leadership in the Barkus Mardi Gras Krewe, the highly popularized dog parade, and most recently Dirty Linen Night, have made his name synonymous with the French Quarter. These creations have all of the fun and whimsical attention to details that we have come to see in his gallery work. Rinard channels his inner funny man when creating the Blackened Drum with as much star power as his celebrated beagles have become known for. The blue and purple Louisiana Drum fish is surrounded by a star struck cast of characters ranging from a stick of butter, green onions, and a bottle of Paul Proudhomme’s seasoning straight out of Saturday Night Fever. Another Rinard addition, his Fried Green Tomato, leaps from the vibrant background in high-top tennis shoes with a street dancing appeal that is rivaled only by the shrimp, complete in scuba gear, taking a dip in a remoulade sauce filled child’s blowup swimming pool.

His additions to artist Sally Links creations on the walls of K Paul’s come just in time for the fall season where balcony dining in The Big Easy is a go-to for supper.

Layers of vibrant color create texture and give a serious feel to a slapstick celebration of some of Paul Prudhomme’s and the restaurant’s admired and often times copied menu items. Check out the bread pudding recipe by Links that leaps from the walls and makes you think you have left enough room for dessert. While the Shrimp Remoulade has those fat pink delicacies swimming in remoulade sauce surrounded by fresh vegetables and tons of personality. The vegetables themselves are almost audible, reading off the items to create one of New Orleans’ most coveted dishes. K Paul’s celebrates food with color and creation, while making sure patrons understand that the very dishes they are enjoying are works of art themselves.

The recipe for Seafood Stuffed Merliton (mileeton, where I am from) depicts a very full merliton reclining with a devilish smile from green ear to green ear. Pay close attention to this one. You will be in a very similar state upon exiting the restaurant. It is color that is important in this one and that artistically created smile that leaves you wondering if this piece is just a happy warning from Links that K Paul’s plans to fatten you up and make you smile.

The artwork is almost as tantalizing as the menu and definitely more amusing to read. Restaurant founder Paul Prudhomme created an oasis of delight within the busy and sometimes daunting streets of the French Quarter. K Paul’s is as much a staple in this city as Crème Brulee and Mardi Gras. The art on its walls celebrates that aspect and all that K Paul’s means to locals, tourists, and memory makers, alike.