Food News – January 2024

Coffee first . . . The Algiers Point neighborhood has a emitted a resounding “hurrah” at the resurrection of their beloved coffee shop, Congregation. After over 8 years in business, the popular corner coffee stop closed its doors in May of 2023. Denizens of the Point despaired until late October when Patrick Brennan of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group purchased the shop (and its roastery on Tchoupitoulas Street) and reopened a brand new Congregation. Though the formerly “shabby chic” cafe now sports a shiny new paint job and delicious pastries from the Ralph Brennan Bakery, Congregation’s singular coffees are just as good as they’ve always been.
240 Pelican Ave.,

Ch-ch-changes . . . Uptown Mediterranean restaurant MISA is shaking things up a bit. Owner and chef Tal Sharon has tapped Chef Frank Azulay, a French-born chef who made his mark in Tel Aviv. Azulay has added some of his own dishes to MISA’s menu like avocado bruschetta with peppery arugula and chimichurri, baked potato tortilla with green onions and truffle aioli, creamy burrata with fresh basil and tomatoes, and a hot apple spring roll with vanilla ice cream and strawberry and raspberry coulis. MISA has also converted their outdoor dining area to an indoor dining area, as all New Orleanians know, temperature control is a good thing.
4734 Magazine St., (504) 510-2791,

A great place to park . . . The Audubon Clubhouse, a gorgeous, Acadian-style breakfast/lunch spot and event space in Audubon Park, was recently taken over by the Dickie Brennan Restaurant Group and has been made into a fully-fledged restaurant. Chef Copeland Crews (formerly of Saba) is heading the kitchen and putting out nostalgic dishes which include an “1898 Club Sandwich” and Cobb Salad. Is there anything better than enjoying lunch (and soon dinner!) on a deep, wrap-around porch surrounded by live oaks? Possibly, but we can’t think of anything at the moment.
6975 Magazine St., (504) 558-1200,

Craftin’ hops . . . The long-awaited Ecology Beer Creative & Taproom has opened. The brand new building is located on Baronne Street, just a few blocks from Central City BBQ. Taking the place of the poorly-timed All Relation brewery that opened in late 2019 and abruptly closed after the pandemic shutdowns. Ecology is co-owned by brewer Matt Horney is offering 12 brews on tap with plans in the works to run a canning line to further distribute his craft brews to the masses.
1401 Baronne St.,

R’enovating a R’evolution . . . Chef John Folse’s signature French Quarter, fine-dining destination has reopened after a multi-million dollar renovation. Originally a partnership between Folse and famed Chicago chef Rick Tramonto, the two have parted ways and Folse has taken this opportunity to make R’evolution his own, taking the focus of the restaurant back to what he’s known for, Louisiana cuisine. Dishes include Death by Gumbo with roasted quail and Gulf oysters, Crawfish Montegut with fried crawfish tails and smoked tomato remoulade, blue crab beignets, short rib boudin, rabbit rillettes, and BBQ Gulf shrimp and blue corn grits. Restaurant R’evolution is open for dinner everyday but Wednesday.
777 Bienville St., (504) 553-2277,

Laissez les bon sake? . . . Chefs Rodney Bonsack and Sean McGuire have joined forces to opens Bon Sake Sushi & Bar, a “modern sushi restaurant with a Southern influence” in Downtown Covington. Located on N. Columbia Street, just around the corner from Aki Japanese, this hot new sushi spot emphasizes soy-paper-wrapped rolls, cocktails, and a new spot to watch the game.
528 N. Columbia St., Covington,

Around the Bend . . . Chef Blake Cressey, born and raised in New Orleans, has recently launched her first brick and mortar eponymously named Blake’s Place. Cressey, who started selling hot plates from her home nearly a decade ago, has renovated and re-decorated the former home of Mexican restaurant La Mansion on Dublin Street, upping the atmosphere tenfold. Blake’s Place is serving mostly Creole Italian cuisine and comfort food, from BBQ Shrimp and smoked wings to Chicken Marsala and Linguine Alfredo. Blake’s Place is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
724 Dublin St., (504) 354-1352,

Bigger is better . . . The Mardi Gras School of Cooking, a premier culinary destination in the historic French Quarter, has expanded their premises to include a newly-develop cooking facility. Offering hands-on cooking classes, private events, and catering, the school is known for it authentic local cuisine and skilled instructors. “Our students learn about the history and culture of New Orleans cuisine, and they leave with a newfound appreciation for our city’s unique food culture. We believe The Mardi Gras School of Cooking is helping to make New Orleans an even more desirable destination for tourists all over the world,” said Teresa Vernon, owner of The Mardi Gras School of Cooking.
519 Wilkinson St., Ste. 101, (504)344-3977,

Geaux Team! . . . Native New Orleanians Chef Matthew Nguyen and former LSU football star Malachi Dupre have joined forces to present KENJI Omakase, a Japanese-inspired pop-up inside the International House Hotel. The omakase tasting courses focus mainly on fish sourced from Japan’s internationally recognized Toyosu Market, among the finer cuts – Madai, Shima Aji, Kanpachi, Kurodai., and Oysters from Kumamoto Bay. Coming early winter and spring, Nguyen will introduce dishes reflecting his heritage featuring local produce such as Lemongrass Miso Soup and Bo La Lot , beef wrapped in a betel leaf, grilled on a Japanese binchotan grill. KENJI also offers rare sakes and cocktails crafted to complement the food, curated by Abigail Gullo, the acclaimed mixologist, and Creative Director at loa.
221 Camp St., @kenjinola

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