New and Renewed Restaurants

December 07, 2021
In a city notorious for its food scene, the New Orleans culinary landscape continues to evolve. New restaurants continue to pop up—including several ethnic eateries—while other favorites have undergone a sort of renewal. Despite all of the openings, closings and reinventing that the restaurant industry has recently experienced, one thing holds true: you do not have to look very hard or far to find a delectable dining experience in the Crescent City. Bon Appétit!

Barrilleaux’s Restaurant & Wine Bar
2000 Burgundy St;
Barrilleaux, which translates to “whom family is the most important,” is truly a family affair. The Marigny triangle restaurant, wine bar and event space, which threw open its doors last October, is owned and operated by sisters Blakley Kymen and Michele Caswell-Adams and Michele’s daughter, Brittani Adams-Perret. Family is even evident in the two rooms that make up the space, which are named for family members Mike (the main dining room) and Blake (the bar). The dynamic female trio brings a combined 40-plus years of dining, hospitality and event experience to the neighborhood eatery. Consulting Chef Blakley has spent over 13 years honing her culinary skills in local kitchens, most notably at Marcello’s. Mother-daughter team Michele and Brittani own and run Unique Weddings & Events, an event planning and design firm. Naturally, in addition to offering dinner Thursday through Saturday, as well as Sunday brunch, Barrilleaux’s is available for private events. The space is the perfect melding of timeless New Orleans’ exposed brick and elegant chandeliers with an alluring, modern feel created by stained concrete floors, a sleek black bar and contemporary furnishings. The restaurant aims to honor the family’s Sicilian roots while adding French and Cajun flair with signature dishes like polpetta (mini pork and beef meatballs in spicy bourbon demi-glace topped with feta and almonds), crabmeat maison (lump crab, fried eggplant medallions and tomatoes served Napoleon style with caper aioli) and pork cheeks braised in red wine demi-glace with root veggies and polenta. Brunch selections include chicken and waffles with Tabasco cane syrup and cinnamon French toast with praline sauce, whipped cream and powdered sugar. The unique wine program, where diners can shop the cooler and wine rack for the perfect bottle, offers a fine collection slightly above retail pricing. Craft cocktails, like the spicy antipasto Bloody Mary garnished with antipasto skewer and bacon and the espresso martini with chocolate liquor, are quickly becoming local favorites. That’s what we call amore!

Emeril’s New Orleans
800 Tchoupitoulas St;
Shuttered for more than a year due to the pandemic and later Hurricane Ida, which ravaged much of Louisiana, Chef Emeril Lagasse’s famed flagship restaurant reopened this past September to much excitement. The award-winning chef and national television personality opened the first of his five New Orleans restaurants 30 years ago and has continued to wow food enthusiasts with his exceptional contemporary New Orleans cuisine. Chef/Owner Emeril “inspires to push culinary boundaries and deliver bold and diverse flavors for a one-of-a-kind dining experience with unparalleled service and a festive, unpretentious setting.” Located in the Warehouse District, the chic, modern restaurant specializes in a chef’s tasting menu experience (there’s a vegetarian option, as well) that promises to be a culinary journey building upon flavors and complexities of his refined New Orleans fare. Sophisticated snacks include caviar, rabbit rillettes with pickled vegetables, truffle burrata with truffle vinaigrette and smoked blue cheese with endive. Tempting à la carte starters include gulf crudo with holy trinity, seafood boil gelée and Creole rice crisps, baked diver scallops with brown butter leeks and lemon herb butter, lobster cannelloni with celeriac, chestnut mushrooms, truffle and creamy bisque mornay and the ever-popular Emeril’s BBQ shrimp with rosemary biscuit. Mouthwatering mains run the gamut, from andouille-crusted salmon to prime filet with bone marrow and black garlic bordelaise. Other favorites include butter poached halibut with ginger miso bok choy, braised shiitake and shiitake dashi, roasted pork loin with sweet potato, tamarind glaze and green chili mole and grilled whole fish with crab hushpuppies, bitter greens, warm remoulade and smoked trout roe. Be sure to save room for the heavenly chocolate soufflé with orange semifreddo and Grand Marnier Suzette, or Caribbean sweet potato tart with ginger ice cream and pineapple gastrique. Emeril’s boasts one of the finest wine programs in town, as well as an extensive craft cocktail selection. Choose from classics, soft cocktails, after-dinner and original signature options like the Moon Rabbit (a blend of gin, yuzu, ginger shiso and sparkling sake), or the Second Glance (Pisco, sherry, bergamot, lychee and bitter almond). While there is no shortage of exceptional fine dining in the Big Easy, Emeril’s continues to be the crème de la crème!

Fritai Haitian Street Food
1535 Basin St;
After spending six years as one of the most popular food vendors at the St. Roch Market, Chef/Owner Charly Pierre took the leap of faith and opened his first brick-and-mortar restaurant located on Basin Street in the Tremé area, just up the street from Mahalia Jackson Theater. The unassuming, casual eatery is filled with colorful artwork and amazing aromas of Haitian spices from star anise and nutmeg to spicy peppers. Naturally plantains take center stage in several dishes, most notably in their uniquely delicious Fritai sandwich, wherein crispy pork, avocado, mango sauce and pikliz (a traditional Haitian pickled vegetable relish) are layered between two fried plantains. Tasty starters include grilled shrimp pikliz, tossed with citrus and avocado and served with fried green plantains; or the mirliton salad, a flavorful blend of fresh greens, shaved mirliton, red onions, grilled carrots, candied plantains and herb vinaigrette. Don’t miss the finger-licking good, perfectly crisped fried chicken wings marinated in epis (a flavor base commonly used in Haitian dishes made of onions, fresh herbs, peppers, garlic, lime juice, oil and vinegar). Choose from several tasty wing options, such as spicy mango with avocado dip and Creole buffalo with ranch. House specials include shrimp kreyol (local shrimp braised in Creole sauce served with rice, green plantains and pikliz), Catch of the Day (whole fish marinated in epis, dusted in flour and roasted, served with rice and beans, green plantains and sauce Creole), Griyo (extra crispy double-cooked pork with rice and beans, fried plantains, pikliz and Creole sauce) and SOS PWA (a classic black bean plate with rice, black bean sauce with coconut, green plantains and choice of Creole chicken or braised oxtail). Super casual with friendly service, be sure to check out one of the creative cocktails like the Fri-Tai made with dark and light rums, orange curacao, lime and orgeat syrup or the Rasin Kawot (tequila, lime, carrot juice and ginger syrup). And if space permits, the kremas bread pudding with mango-passion fruit sauce will not disappoint.

Palm & Pine
308 N. Rampart St;
Since opening its doors in 2019, this Rampart Street restaurant has faced challenges that would have had many tossing in the towel. But Co-Chefs/Owners Amarys and Jordan Herndon feel incredibly fortunate. They believe that the restaurant has matured into what they intended it to be and they are more than eager to look ahead! The couple’s affinity for Rampart Street began years ago when they were hosting pop-ups in the area. They were drawn to the sense of community on the French Quarter bordering block and, along with business partner Andy Principe; they spent years scouring the street for the ideal location. Luckily, they found it and created their dream restaurant in their dream location. The duo hail from Texas and made their way to New Orleans 14 years ago to attend culinary school. They worked around the city as sous chefs and hosted pop-ups, which eventually lead to the opening of Palm & Pine. The boldly flavored, seasonal menu changes often, but remains focused on Creole-, Caribbean- and Mexican-inspired dishes. Mainstay favorites include the beautifully crafted Corner Store Crudo: yellowfin tuna, pineapple Big Shot nuoc, daikon, fresh herbs and shrimp chips; butter beans: lima bean cavatelli, speckled butter beans and dried tomatoes that has been described as a “warm hug”; and Oaxacan Mole: a divine dish of braised duck tamal, cocoa- and chili-crusted breast with plantains and chimichurri. The two-day processed, dark roux gumbo is made from turkey neck stock studded with Jacob’s andouille sausage and served with potato salad is offered during winter months and is must! The inviting space is lively and colorful with tropical-themed artwork, vibrant hues and a dining bar with an open kitchen to watch the masters at work. Night owls will love the Late Nights Friday and Saturday from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. with light bites, craft cocktails and biweekly burlesque shows with the fabulous Bella Blue. The chefs have created their own holiday-centric traditions. The P&P Holiday Lunch Extravaganza is held the Friday before Christmas (this year on December 17) with guests indulging in special cocktails and dishes that pay homage to classic French Quarter restaurants. The week leading up to Christmas is Tamale Fest, in which staff members create their own tamale based on personal traditions and cultural influences, which are then sold by the box. On Lundi Gras (the day prior to Mardi Gras) a pop culture-themed brunch is hosted with costumed guests and food to match the theme.

Saint John
1117 Decatur St;
Chef/Owner Eric Cook “draws inspiration from simple family dishes meant to feed the masses and presents those flavors in an elevated, yet approachable way.” Since opening his first restaurant Gris Gris in 2018, Cook has quickly become one NOLA’s stars on the culinary scene, having received a multitude of accolades including Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year by local publications. His approach to food focuses on home-style, seasonal dishes amped up by a touch of sophistication. Signature dishes at Saint John include Hoppin’ John oyster salad (crispy gulf oysters nestled atop bibb lettuce with black-eyed peas, bacon, French dressing and green remoulade), smothered turkey necks in brown gravy with caramelized onions and homemade potato salad, seared gulf fish court-bouillon with shrimp and jumbo lump crab in seafood tomato sauce with popcorn rice and charred lemon and Creole beef daube (short ribs braised in red wine, trinity and garlic with whipped potatoes). Don’t miss the rustic, yet simply sublime, mac and cheese with red gravy! Tasty brunch options include Creole eggs in purgatory (eggs baked in spicy Creole sauce, with grilled andouille sausage and toasted French bread); lost bread with brandy milk punch custard, sugarcane syrup, blueberry compote and powdered sugar, and pork belly cassoulet with white beans, salted pork, braised pork belly and hog cracklin’ gremolata. Much like Cook’s cuisine, the restaurant’s décor is refined, yet uncomplicated, elegant, yet inviting. Book a seat at the chef’s dining bar to watch the magic happen up close and in person, or dine al fresco on the balcony overlooking bustling Decatur Street. The aptly named Cook appears to have another winner on his masterful culinary hands!

Zhang Bistro
1141 Decatur St;
Blending the bold flavors of traditional Thai and Chinese cuisines, the stylish Decatur Street restaurants is one of the most recent additions to the French Quarter’s expanding ethnic dining scene. Zhang Bistro, which opened in June of 2021, is a friends and family passion project. Co-owners Peter Zhang and fiancée Ashley Li, along with long-time family friend Lily Rueangnuy—“We consider her to be family,” says Ashley—decided to blend the best of Chinese and Thai cuisines at their new French Quarter eatery. Peter and Ashley were both born in China and Lily spent several years living in Thailand. Ashley’s father, Wei Li, who was a trained chef in China, brings decades of experience to the kitchen as the main chef of the Chinese side of the menu, while Lily handles the Thai side. Together they have created the perfect fusion of flavors. Whether you’re craving a Chinese classic like General Tso’s chicken, sweet and sour or lo mein, or traditional Thai including green curry, Pad Thai and drunken noodles, you’re sure to find something to excite your palate. Tempting starters include a spicy cucumber salad with crunchy garlic chili sauce, chicken coconut soup infused with lemongrass, galangal root and fresh cilantro, and steamed dumplings stuffed with pork, ginger, garlic, green onion, egg and cabbage in rice paper. Don’t miss the chicken wings fried super crispy with salt and pepper nestled atop a spicy mélange of sautéed basil, onion, red chili and jalapeño. The signature whole-roasted Peking duck with sweet bean sauce is a true labor of love! Chef Wei marinates the duck for 24 hours, allows it to air dry, then slow roasts it for three hours, resulting in delightfully crispy skin and tender, succulent meat. Other tasty main dishes, like the Thai style BBQ shrimp (with bok choy and carrot atop curry sauce), the fiery dry red chili chicken (with garlic and green onion) and spicy hot wok (choice of chicken, beef, shrimp or combo served at your table in a hot wok with onion, green pepper, cauliflower, jalapeño and garlic tossed in spicy brown sauce) are sure to please. Veggie fans will adore the eggplant in garlic sauce with hot peppers and green onions, and the stir-fried string beans and garlic in black bean sauce. Another thing that sets the restaurant apart is its cocktail program, which Ashley oversees. The Zhang Old Fashioned is a crowd pleaser, while the Cucumber Basil Smash—a refreshing blend of cucumber vodka, St. Germain, muddled cucumber and fresh basil—perfectly harmonizes with the flavorsome, spicy cuisine. Look for seasonal cocktails during the holidays and Mardi Gras and check out the Asian Lunch Box for only $12, weekdays from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., with choice of entrée, veggie egg roll and Jasmine or egg fried rice.