Ho­tels and restau­rants open in piv­otal year

Hos­pi­tal­ity play­ers mark New Or­leans’ tricentennial

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - ZEST - By Greg Mor­ago STAFF WRITER greg.mor­[email protected] twit­ter.com/greg­mor­ago

The last Pimm’s Cups are be­ing clinked as 2018 — New Or­leans’ tricentennial year — winds down, and with it the great fan­fare cel­e­brat­ing the birth of one of the world’s unique cities.

But just be­cause all 300 can­dles on the birth­day cake are blown out is no rea­son to think New Or­leans has stopped par­ty­ing. No, the year that gave tourists so much to take in is al­ready segue­ing into a year full of good mu­sic (the 50th an­niver­sary of the Jazz & Her­itage Fes­ti­val in 2019) and good food (plenty of open­ings in­clud­ing Jus­tine from La Petite Gro­cery own­ers; Jewel of the South bar from bar­tenders Nick Det­rich and Chris Han­nah; Gianna from Don­ald Link’s restau­rant group; and Bonci, serv­ing Ro­man pizza al taglio).

In the epic year that is nearly at an end, these ho­tels and restau­rants made their mark.

HO­TELS

Chic bou­tique: The for­mer Saints Peter and Paul Catholic church and school — de­signed in part by famed New Or­leans ar­chi­tect Henry Howard — has been con­verted into a charm­ing, 71room bou­tique ho­tel in the city’s lively Marigny neigh­bor­hood, ad­ja­cent to the French Quar­ter.

Opened in Oc­to­ber, the project (a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween ASH NYC devel­op­ment and de­sign firm and New Or­lea­nian Nathalie Jordi) is now a draw to the Faubourg Marigny known for its cafes, jazz clubs and Cre­ole and Clas­sic Re­vival cot­tages. The rooms, set within four build­ings — church, rec­tory, school­house and con­vent — fea­ture a muted pal­ette of ging­ham fab­rics, chan­de­liers, cus­tom rugs, hand-painted cre­den­zas, vin­tage fur­ni­ture and an­tiques. The Elysian Bar, set in the for­mer rec­tory, is op­er­ated by the New Or­leans-based Bac­cha­nal Group and of­fers cock­tails, wine and small bites in a se­ries of par­lors and a court­yard.

And Jordi is mar­ried to Brett An­der­son, din­ing writer for The Times-Picayune, so there is ev­ery rea­son to be­lieve the ho­tel staff knows where to point guests to the best din­ing in the city.

Ho­tel Peter & Paul, 2317 Bur­gundy St., 504-356-5200; hotelpeterand­paul.com. Rooms from $99

Grand dame re­vival: When the Jung Ho­tel opened in De­cem­ber 1907, fe­male guests were given small purses made of gold cloth and boxes of candy. That level of out­size hos­pi­tal­ity marked the Jung for decades as one of the city’s most pres­ti­gious ad­dresses. By the 1950s and ’60s, the ho­tel had grown into a 1,200room con­ven­tion ho­tel more con­cerned with high oc­cu­pancy than guest niceties. From 1971 to 2012, the Jung changed hands four times and was closed twice.

To­day, the Jung has re­cap­tured its for­mer glam­our and then some with a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar, head-to-toe ren­o­va­tion that has trans­formed it into the Jung Ho­tel & Res­i­dences, a mem­ber of the lo­cally owned New Or­leans Ho­tel Col­lec­tion (which owns and op­er­ates ho­tels such as the Mazarin, Le Marais, the Whit­ney, Bour­bon Or­leans and Dauphine Or­leans).

The 207-room Jung, com­pleted ear­lier this year, is a dis­tinctly lux­u­ri­ous prop­erty fea­tur­ing pub­lic spa­ces clad in acres of white Car­rara mar­ble and Ital­ian tile floor­ing. The spa­cious guest rooms (in­clud­ing 31 ex­ec­u­tive king rooms with kitchen and laun­dry) of­fer a de­sign of hushed el­e­gance and mod­ern tech­nol­ogy. A full-ser­vice restau­rant, lobby bar, cof­fee­house and rooftop bar make this prop­erty, only blocks out­side the French Quar­ter (in what is called the Biomed­i­cal In­no­va­tion District), an el­e­gant al­ter­na­tive to the fa­mil­iar tourist ho­tels. The Jung Ho­tel & Res­i­dences, 1500 Canal St., 504-522-5864; jungho­tel.com. Rooms from $129

Canal Street makeover: The JW Mar­riott New Or­leans has long been a de­pend­able, com­fort­able, un­fussy choice for visi­tors tak­ing in a week­end romp or one of the city’s many food and mu­sic fes­ti­vals. Priced be­tween tourist and lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tions, it was al­ways a good choice for con­ven­tion­eers and leisure trav­el­ers. And now even more so af­ter a just com­pleted ren­o­va­tion of all 494 guest rooms and pub­lic spa­ces. The rooms, in a sooth­ing color scheme of soft white and warm gray, fea­ture white mar­ble tiles and an­tique mir­rors, sleek mar­ble bath­rooms, er­gonomic work sta­tions and plush white-on-white bed­ding. Right on Canal, the ho­tel is per­fectly si­t­u­ated for walk­ing the French Quar­ter or dis­cov­er­ing the many bars and restau­rants in the Cen­tral Busi­ness District and Ware­house District.

JW Mar­riott New Or­leans, 614 Canal St., 504-525-6500; mar­riott.com. Rooms from $129

Court and spark: The Wind­sor Court Ho­tel has long been one of the city’s dis­tin­guished inns where grown-up refinements abound. Now even more so thanks to a $15 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion of all 316 guest rooms and suites, com­pleted in Oc­to­ber. The project also in­cluded a facelift of hall­ways, pub­lic spa­ces, the ho­tel’s club level and the La Chi­nois­erie ball­room on the top floor. Wind­sor Court’s rooms fea­ture new fur­ni­ture, leather head­boards with read­ing lights, new beds, bed­side ta­bles with charg­ing sta­tions, up­graded bath­tubs, glass-door shower en­clo­sures and bath­room ac­ces­sories.

An­other ma­jor ad­di­tion: The Water­man Pool­side Bar, a place for drinks and snacks over­look­ing the ho­tel’s 65-foot saltwater pool.

Wind­sor Court Ho­tel, 300 Gravier St., 800-262-2662; wind­sor­courtho­tel.com. Rooms from $300

Hol­i­day lagniappe: The RitzCarl­ton, New Or­leans is known for its elab­o­rate hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions, but this year it wanted to put on an even bet­ter show for the tricentennial. Through Jan. 3, the ho­tel’s third-floor lobby will fea­ture a to-scale replica of the St. Charles Av­enue street­car clad end to end with gin­ger­bread, frost­ing and candy. It took 444 pounds of flour and an equal mea­sure of ic­ing sugar, 400 eggs, 124 pounds of corn syrup, 98 pounds of brown sugar, 80 pounds of but­ter and 58 pounds of mo­lasses to cre­ate the gin­ger­bread. The street­car’s win­dows are dec­o­rated with the faces of some of the city’s most leg­endary cit­i­zens, in­clud­ing au­thors Ten­nessee Wil­liams and Anne Rice, quar­ter­back Drew Brees, jazz artist Louis Arm­strong, gospel le­gend Ma­halia Jack­son, Cre­ole chef Leah Chase and mu­si­cian Harry Con­nick Jr.

Through­out the hol­i­days, the ho­tel will of­fer Reveil­lon din­ners and spe­cial events such as Break­fast with Papa Noel on Dec. 21; Papa Noel Tea Dec. 8, 9, 15-24; Christ­mas Eve din­ner and Christ­mas Day Ju­bilee. For event reser­va­tions, call 504-262-5048.

Ritz-Carl­ton, New Or­leans, 921 Canal, 504-524-1331; ritzcarl­ton.com/newor­leans

RESTAU­RANTS

Chartres charmer: This is chef Nina Comp­ton’s big year in the Big Easy. She won a James Beard Award as Best Chef: South­west for her work at Com­pere Lapin, and she opened a new restau­rant, By­wa­ter Amer­i­can Bistro. Housed in the Rice Mill Lofts on Chartres Street in the By­wa­ter neigh­bor­hood, the restau­rant teams Comp­ton with chef/part­ner Levi Raines for a col­lab­o­ra­tive menu that touches on many cul­tures that make up the re­gion’s cui­sine. On the menu: pick­led shrimp with but­ter­milk dress­ing and trout roe; blue crab dip with sour­dough crack­ers; hog’s head boudin served on a frisee salad; smoked ri­cotta ag­nolotti with spring vegeta­bles; jerk chicken rice with but­ter beans; duck with braised red cab­bage; rab­bit curry with jas­mine rice; and steamed red snap­per with broc­coli rabe and Crys­tal hot sauce. Brunch of­fer­ings are just as en­tic­ing: rice por­ridge with hog’s head broth, chicken liver par­fait with rye gra­nola, and break­fast corn dogs with cane syrup.

By­wa­ter Amer­i­can Bistro, 2900 Chartres St., 504-605-3827; by­wa­t­er­amer­i­can­bistro.com

Wine time: A build­ing that housed one of New Or­leans’ old­est restau­rants is now home to the city’s new­est wine bars. Cop­per Vine, a restau­rant fea­tur­ing 30 wines on tap and an ad­di­tional 20 wines by the glass, took up home in Septem­ber in the for­mer Maylie’s space at 1001 Poy­dras St. in the Cen­tral Busi­ness District. Chef Mike Brewer, who has Bren­nan’s and Com­man­der’s Palace on his ré­sumé, has cre­ated a menu meant to pair well with a va­ri­ety of wines. That means flat­breads (es­car­got, mush­room and house ba­con; duck con­fit with goat cheese and ba­con jam; fig goat cheese and arugula), beef/lamb/pork burger with caramelized onions and Gruyère; gnoc­chi with cit­rus cream and lump Louisiana crab; carpac­cio with Tabasco-pick­led straw­ber­ries; and chicken fric­as­see with craw­fish boil peanuts and boudin rice.

The 175-seat restau­rant fea­tures an invit­ing court­yard whose de­sign is in­spired by the wis­te­ria vines that grew through­out Maylie’s.

Cop­per Vine, 1001 Poy­dras St., 504-208-9535; cop­per­vinewine.com

The three ami­gos: When three of the city’s most suc­cess­ful restau­ra­teurs de­cided to open a restau­rant to­gether, they agreed on many things, in­clud­ing the fact they all love pic­nics. United by their nos­tal­gic me­mories of fam­ily pic­nics, the three friends have opened Pic­nic Pro­vi­sions & Whiskey. But it’s not just any ca­sual restau­rant (es­pe­cially since it serves one of the city’s most talked-about dishes, craw­fish boil hot fried chicken) be­cause these aren’t just any own­ers. Pic­nic’s part­ners are James Beard Award-win­ning chef at Com­man­der’s Palace Tory McPhail, Com­man­der’s Palace co-owner Ti Martin and Dar­ryl Reginelli, owner and co-founder of Reginelli’s Pizza.

To­gether they have given New Or­leans a restau­rant where ev­ery day’s a pic­nic with a menu that in­cludes skil­let-melted pi­mento cheese; co­chon de lait-piled bis­cuit with coun­try gravy and poached farm egg; whiskey smoked chicken salad with dill and whiskey-pick­led grapes; bar­be­cue shrimp roll and craw­fish boiled pota­toes fried in hot crack­lin’ fat. No, for real.

Pic­nic Pro­vi­sions & Whiskey, 741 State St., 504-266-2810; no­lapic­nic.com

Hall of Won­ders: The city’s Cen­tral Busi­ness District has a new food hall, Pythian Mar­ket, that opened in May as part of a mixed-use devel­op­ment fea­tur­ing 14 in­de­pen­dent ven­dors. Set on the ground floor of the Pythian Tem­ple build­ing that played an im­por­tant role in the civil rights move­ment as a place where the African-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity con­gre­gated, the mar­ket now houses con­cepts such as 14 Parishes Ja­maican Restau­rant; Cru, fea­tur­ing raw and cooked seafood dishes; Fete au Fete with South­ern-meets-Louisiana com­fort food; Poulet ro­tis­serie chicken; and Bar 1908 with a menu of fast craft cock­tails, lo­cal beers and sea­sonal frozen drinks.

Pythian Mar­ket, 234 Loy­ola Ave., 504-481-9599; pythi­an­mar­ket.com

Jung Ho­tel

The Jung Ho­tel & Res­i­dences of­fers 207 rooms in an iconic 1908 build­ing.

Ritz-Carl­ton, New Or­leans

The Ritz-Carl­ton, New Or­leans has a replica of the St. Charles Av­enue street­car cov­ered in gin­ger­bread.

Randy P. Sch­midt

Pythian Mar­ket ven­dor Cru of­fers tem­pura-fried oys­ters.

Max Cusi­mano / No­laVid

Pic­nic Pro­vi­sions & Whiskey comes via three restau­rant wiz­zes.

Ho­tel Peter & Paul

Ho­tel Peter & Paul in the Marigny neigh­bor­hood is new.

Wind­sor Court Ho­tel

The Wind­sor Court Ho­tel is newly ren­o­vated.

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