News From the Kitchens
Three Muses Maple, On The Coast & Toups South
Three Muses MapleThree Muses started as a venue where music was as important as the food and drinks. That formula has made the original location on Frenchman Street a huge success, and it’s a formula that seems likely to succeed at Three Muses Maple, the new location at 7537 Maple St., too, though with a few tweaks here and there.
The original muses were chef Daniel Esses, singer Sophie Lee and bartender Kimberly Patton-Bragg; and they’re also behind the new venture, where chef Marcus Woodham (recently of Tujague’s) is the chef de cuisine. Esses told me that as of November, the music is less of a draw than at the Frenchmen location; that makes sense, given the different nature of the neighborhoods. Esses and his partners aren’t trying to force anything; he told me they’re going to let their customers drive the direction the restaurant takes, at least to some extent.
There is a lot more space at the Uptown outlet, and while there are a lot of the same items on the menu, Woodham has been given freedom to add his own touches, such as oxtail ya ka mein, which adds kimchi to the classic and uses fresh bucatini pasta. Like the original location, there are ample vegetarian options available.
Three Muses Maple is open Wednesdays-Saturdays, 5-10 p.m., and for brunch Saturdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Call 510-2749 to learn more.
On The CoastOn The Coast: Mississippi Tales and Recipes is a cookbook written by Troy Gilbert and Matthew Mayfield, with illustrations by Billy Solitario. The book features recipes from the authors, their family, friends and local chefs that all tie into life on the Gulf Coast.
For the most part, these are not “fancy” dishes; or at least not the sort of thing you’d find in many fine-dining restaurants. Rather, the recipes are, in many cases, documents of life on and near the water. Pickled shrimp, fried and grilled Gulf fish and oysters in multiple guises are all included in this decidedly seafood-heavy tome. It isn’t all fish and crustaceans; there are recipes for venison, beef, pork and poultry as well as drinks in the section titled “Hooch.”
Many of the recipes come with a brief story or description of the connection between the dish and the coast, and longer narrative sections on topics such as sailing, Gulf island restoration and the region’s indigenous ingredients are interspersed between sections.
The recipes are written clearly, and the prose sections, particularly the longer ones, are lyrical in places. Solitario’s illustrations are beautiful accompaniments. I doubt I’m the only one who will be checking out his gallery, Studio Solitario, on Magazine Street.
The book is published by Pelican, and it’s available in local outlets as well as from the major online retailers.
Toups SouthToups South recently took over the space in the Southern Food and Beverage Museum that was formerly occupied by Purloo. Chef Isaac Toups and his wife Amanda are two of my favorite humans, so when I head they would be taking over the space, I knew it would be in good hands.
Toups is from Rayne, Louisiana, and his cooking is grounded in the robust food of Acadiana. As viewers of Season 13 of “Top Chef” know, he’s also a skilled and imaginative chef. At Toups South, the chef branches out – though honestly it isn’t that much of a stretch from his work at Toups’ Meatery – to include dishes from all over the southern states. So far, it’s been a success.
You will still find boudin on the menu, as well as cracklins and Louisiana Gulf stew, but you’ll also see a barbecued beef deckle steak with baked beans, pickled mustard and red onion; beer-battered fried fish with cabbage slaw, fried and a malt vinegar aioli; and sourdough biscuits with crab fat butter.
The best seat in the house is still at the bar that wraps around the open kitchen, and overall the look of the place hasn’t changed all that much – chalkboard art featuring dishes and ingredients on offer are new, but the layout is essentially the same.
Toups South is open for brunch only on Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and every day but Tuesday for lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and dinner 5-10 p.m. (11 Fridays-Saturdays). The address is 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., and you can call 304-2147 to make a reservation.