News From the Kitchens
Freret Beer Room, Frey Smoked Meat Co. & Café Anglais
SARA ESSEX BRADLEY PHOTOGRAPHS
Freret Beer Room
Freret Beer Room adds to a growing list of new ventures on Freret Street. Owner Eli Gay’s concept is simple: craft beers paired with food. This doesn’t mean cheese fries or sliders; chef Charles Vincent’s menu is more what you’d expect from a modern bistro, for example: poached shrimp with field peas, radish and a horseradish vinaigrette; grilled collar of grouper with celery, mizuna and hot sauce butter; grilled pork chop with lentils, roasted turnips and kale. Sandwiches include pan-fried chicken with slaw and comeback sauce, and roast beef with onions, pickled cabbage and gruyere; cheese plates and cured meat boards are also available.
As befits a place that focuses on beer, there’s a constantly changing selection of brews on tap, designed to show the range of different beer styles. The majority of these selections are from local or Gulf Coast breweries, with a smaller selection from the rest of the country and abroad.
There are about 50 seats in the main room, not counting the 10 or so at the bar, and by the time you read this there will also be tables available in a patio alongside the restaurant.
Freret Beer Room is located at 5018 Freret St., and is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays until midnight. Call 298-7468 for more information.
The Windsor Court has opened Café Anglais, a casual, coffee-centric pastry shop on its first floor. The opening follows the renovation of the Polo Club Lounge, which features a revamped menu from chef Gabriel Charpentier, and marks something of a renaissance for a property that for many years offered some of the best dining in the city. At Café Anglais, the coffee is provided by French Truck, and the pastries and ice creams are made in-house under the direction of pastry chef Shun Li. For breakfast there are croissants, Danish pastries and muffins, and if you’ve got dessert in mind, chocolate pot de crème, vanilla panna cotta, macaroons, cookies, tarts and house-made ice creams (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and, as I write, peppermint) are on offer. As is the case with operations of any sophistication, things will change seasonally.
In addition to baked goods and desserts, the shop offers prepared salads and sandwiches, half-bottles of wine, teas and soft drinks and a small selection of local beers.
This isn’t a dine-in operation; it’s more a kiosk, but as it’s located in the lobby of the Windsor Court, there’s ample room to sit and savor. Café Anglais opens at 6 a.m. daily. It closes at 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The Windsor Court is located at 300 Gravier St., and you can call 523-6000 to find out what’s available.
Frey Smoked Meat Co.
Frey Smoked Meat Co. is the second restaurant opened by chef Ray Gruezke of Rue 127 fame. It started as a team competing at Hogs for the Cause, the annual charity competition benefitting pediatric cancer patients and their families. Gruezke’s team had a fair amount of success, and sampling the menu at the new Mid-City restaurant makes clear that was no fluke.
Gruezke is related to the family that owned the company that I, at least, remember for selling hot dogs at Schwegmann’s back in the day, and the restaurant is named for that branch of his family. The menu has the standards you’d expect from any place specializing in smoked meats: pulled pork, brisket, smoked chicken and beef and pork ribs, but you can also get fried chicken, barbecued pork belly, sausage and two different styles of burger – fatties and flatties. The former starts with a grilled, half-pound patty, and the latter features two quarter pound patties cooked on a griddle. You can go standard, with a dressed burger, or mix it up with one of their specialty variations, which includes a breakfast burger garnished with bacon and egg, and the Mac-N-Burger, which is topped with jalapeño mac and cheese.
Frey Smoked Meat Co. is located at 4141 Bienville St., and is open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Call 488-7427 to see what’s available.