Three New Eateries To Try in New Orleans
Thrive Foods got off to an inauspicious start earlier this year. The business, a partnership between chef Rob Faust and Peter Menge, right, provides prepared food for pick-up at the Laurel Street Bakery, with other locations to be announced. Thrive’s first day would have been April 8, but just after cooking the food for customers to pick up, Faust went into sudden cardiac arrest. Faust survived, and he’s fine now, but he spent some time in the hospital and Thrive was on hold for about a month. They got a second chance for a first day on May 13, and they’ve been going strong ever since.
Customers can visit Thrive’s website, ThriveFoodsNola.com, to view a frequently changing weekly menu that typically offers a choice from three entrées, a salad, a wrap and a snack. You can place an order online, call or text 345-9328 or email firstname.lastname@example.org then pick up between Monday and Thursday between 3 and 7 p.m. The entreés and salads come in 5- and 8-ounce portions, and you can generally add chicken, shrimp or salmon to the salad. At least one entrée is available in a vegetarian version, at a reduced price. Recent entrées have included grilled chicken breast with a local apricot glaze and corn and edamame succotash, ginger and orange marinated pork tenderloin with bok choy and buckwheat noodle stir-fry and sautéed crawfish and shrimp with stewed tomatoes and local okra over scallion brown rice.
I am not a fan of brown rice, but having tasted the crawfish and shrimp, I may have to change my opinion. Thrive focuses on using local products, and Faust certainly takes nutrition into account when coming up with the recipes, but there’s absolutely no sense of sacrifice associated with this food. The best way to guarantee you’ll get what you want is to order 24 hours in advance, but they make extra of everything, so if you’re interested, give them a call, text or email, even if you haven’t had time to place an order.
Lucky Rooster has just opened (515 Baronne St.), and is owned by the same folks behind Slice and Juan’s Flying Burrito. Joe Briand, formerly of Herbsaint and the local wine store Hopper’s Carte des Vines, is the general manager and responsible for the wine. Neal Swidler, formerly of Emeril’s Delmonico, is the chef, and his menu is a broad tour of Asian street food. At Lucky Rooster you can order dumplings stuffed with pork or shrimp, steamed buns called bao filled with beef short ribs or eggplant and black beans; banh mi sandwiches; Korean-style fried chicken; ramen noodle soups; and a hell of a lot more. The restaurant has a full bar, and Christine Jeanine Nielsen is in charge of the cocktail program, which includes the option of spiking house-made sodas. Lucky Rooster is open for dinner as I write, but within days will also be serving lunch; both are Tuesdays through Saturdays. Call 529-5825 to find out more.
Chefs Chris and Lisa Barbato, below right, have opened a bakery and restaurant called Rivista (4226 Magazine St.). The name translates, roughly, as “Magazine” in Italian, and while it has been pointed out to me that the street’s name is derived from the French word for warehouse (magazin), it’s still pretty clever if you ask me. Both husband and wife have lots of experience in New Orleans restaurant kitchens; Chris was most recently the executive chef at Café Adelaide, and Lisa was the pastry chef at Peristyle before starting a venture selling pastries at the Crescent City Farmer’s Market.
The couple has taken over a narrow storefront in a block of Magazine Street that rivals sections of Freret Street for the sheer number of restaurants in such close proximity. There isn’t a lot of room to sit and eat at Rivista – there are probably seats for 20, with another dozen stools along a raised shelf to your left as you enter – but the seats they do have are comfortable enough.
The baked goods are among the best you’ll find in New Orleans. The crust on the turnovers is pretty much the ideal for puff pastry; it manages to be both crisp and chewy, and the fillings are similarly delicious. There is a changing list of sweet and savory baked goods, including muffins, scones, tarts, cookies and excellent madeleines.
There is also a lunch menu with a soup, salad, antipasti, quiche, one or two piandini (flatbread sandwiches) and entrée that changes weekly. The menu is mostly Italian, and as I write the soup is roasted bell pepper and tomato gazpacho; grilled chicken over greens with shaved radishes, red onion, tomato, house-made croutons and lemon vinaigrette is the salad; the antipasti is grilled polenta cake with caponata; the quiche features blue crab and asparagus with an arugula salad; the piandini are grilled eggplant, mozzarella and roasted bell pepper or salami, ham, provolone and tapenade; and the entrée is stracci pasta with beef ragu.
Rivista hasn’t been around too long, but it’s already one of my favorite bakeries in town, and the Barbatos clearly have both a passion and talent for both sweet and savory dishes. You can call Rivista at 371-5558. It is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.