Food + Drink

Where New Orleans - - CONTENTS -

Restau­rants get in the spir­its, hot din­ing dish and beefed-up s'mores.

There is noth­ing new about restau­rants with big bar/cock­tail/beer pro­grams or bars with se­ri­ous food. But New Or­leans’ new­est restau­rant it­er­a­tion is found tucked into dis­til­leries and brew­eries, places where booze is the front man—some­times the raison d’être—though the food is no slacker. Sound in­trigu­ing? It is.

The new Lula Restau­rant Dis­tillery ( 1532 St. Charles Ave., 504.267.7624) pro­duces vodka, rum and gin made from 100% Louisiana sug­ar­cane prod­ucts, and of­fers re­tail bot­tles for pur­chase on site. To dine, Lula co-owner and chef Jess Bour­geois cre­ated a menu that could eas­ily be dubbed “Con­tem­po­rary Louisiana.” Kick off with saltysweet boudin eggrolls and a sticky fig-mo­lasses dip­ping sauce, then try the ten­der braised rab­bit with pick­led pork-flecked white beans or Gulf shrimp lac­quered and spiked with Lula Rum.

Re­cently opened Ef­fer­ves­cence Bub­bles & Bites (1036 N. Ram­part St., 504.509.7644) fea­tures Cham­pagnes and sparkling wines (by the bot­tle, glass and on tap) from France, Italy and Spain. The menu of small plates in­cludes fried chicken, grilled oc­to­pus and caviar with crème fraîche and fresh-fried potato chips. Dessert is a hol­lowed-out grape­fruit half filled with frozen grape­fruit spheres, a drape of Cham­pagne sabayon and a wisp of ed­i­ble gold leaf.

The re­cent swell in lo­cal brew­eries is just short of shock­ing (cur­rently hov­er­ing at around 17), with a num­ber now adding ded­i­cated restau­rant spa­ces. The tap room at NOLA Brew­ing (p. 54) fea­tures pit man Neil McClure’s big bar­be­cue menu and a few sur­prises (pho, pou­tine and tacos made with smoked meats) that are a great match for the house-made beers. Join­ing the grow­ing trend, soon-to-open Port Or­leans Brew­ing Com­pany will house Stoke­hold, chefs Jeremy Wol­g­amott, Phillip Mar­i­ano and Tim Bordes’ new ven­ture serv­ing dishes with a mod­ern Amer­i­can, South­ern and Italian vibe, built around the beer brewed on site. —Lorin Gaudin


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