May 26, 201610:22 AM
Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene
Dryades Public Market and Esses Pasta have a few must-have summer meals
I am fortunate to live in Broadmoor and work in the CBD, because my route into and back from the office passes by both the downtown Rouses and Dryades Public Market. Rouses has been a boon from day one (covered parking when it’s raining is the bee’s knees) and now that it is more or less fully up and running, Dryades is quickly becoming a twice-weekly stop as well.
I’ve written at some length about the market and what’s available – their local produce section, prepared foods, butcher, fishmonger, bakery and cheese selections are all up and running. There’s an oyster bar, a sandwich shop, and a bar. They haven’t yet obtained their retail liquor license, but they’ve already started stocking the shelves, and I expect to see wine on sale shortly.
What prompted me to write the above was that I ran into chef Bob Iacovone, who is now working with chef Dan Esses in his pasta operation, Esses Pasta. Bob told me that on the first Friday of June (June 3), they’ll be putting on a pasta dinner at the market, and offered to send me the menu.
My guess is that this menu is pretty close to finalized, but of course you shouldn’t be surprised if there are changes before the actual event:
The appetizer will be a Summer salad with blue crab ricotta tortellini and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette $15
Your choice of pastas, which will include an antipasto dish, bread and tiramisu for dessert are:
Chicken cacciatore with shells - $19
Sirmon farms (Daphne, Al) steak Pizzaiola with pici pasta - $21
Mussels and shrimp Thai coconut curry-basil gnocchetti - $23
Bucatini Primavera - $18
Looks pretty good to me, and Bob said they’ll look into doing it as a regular event if there’s enough interest. I’m delighted that Bob will be cooking, because he’s a fantastic chef. It’s been far too long since I’ve sat down for a meal he’s prepared. Of all the restaurants in New Orleans that I miss, Cuvée is pretty high on the list. That place was top notch from day one, when chef Richard Starr was in charge, and didn’t drop off when Bob took over.
I don’t know if I’ll see another restaurant like it any time soon, but if I can get some pork belly with sweet heat sauce over a cool vegetable slaw, I’ll eat it wherever Bob’s cooking it.
If you haven’t been to the Dryades Public Market, you should definitely check it out – stop in one day for lunch, or after work, when there’s usually a happy hour deal of some sort running at the oyster bar. If you do, let me know what you think.