On the always-bustling Decatur Street, Hostel has recently burst onto the scene as a hot spot for locals. Owned by Remi De Matteo and Michael Kenny, it originally opened as a lounge, then re-vamped itself by adding a restaurant. “We are now focusing more on the restaurant and private event aspects of the venue,” says Kristen Metzger, director of marketing and sales. With executive chef Richard Richardson at the helm, Hostel mainly serves a fusion of European and Louisiana cuisine, and Metzger says it’s an ideal spot for dates, business dinners and other social events. “We are available for private events and we have an extensive catering menu. We also have a brilliant wine list,” she says.
The atmosphere at Hostel is unique, with brick walls, an “old beautiful bar, white linen tables and a gorgeous courtyard.”
On the menu delicacies such as Drunken Pig and Crabmeat Ravioli appear. “Chef Richardson creates his own menu and has innovative ideas about food that I haven’t seen anywhere else,” says Metzger.
Information, 329 Decatur St., 458-7414, www.hostelnola.com.
Creative cuisine at La Cote Brasserie
La Cote Brasserie is located in the heart of the Arts District inside the Renaissance Arts Hotel. Erica Normand, who works in public relations for the restaurant, describes La Cote as a stylish modern brasserie. “It’s New Orleans cuisine with a global influence,” she says. The food is prepared by Chuck Subra, chef proprietor; Normand says his passion for the design of creative Cajun cuisine makes his restaurant a unique New Orleans dining experience.
“Innovation is a common theme among Chef Chuck’s preparations. His rich appreciation of the abundant seafood available in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico is coupled with local as well as international flavors,” says Normand.
Featuring a stainless steel exposed kitchen, patrons can see “behind-the-scenes.” A 50-foot serpentine counter also offers a unique appeal. In total, the restaurant can seat up to 118 people; a private dining room can also seat up to 10. Normand says the restaurant is a popular spot for lunches and dinners, and she recommends that diners check out the Glazed Salmon, Chargrilled Lobster on the Half Shell, Chicken and Dumplings, Bouillabaisse, Mussels with Frites and the Oyster Bar selection.
Information, 613-2350, 700 Tchoupitoulas St.
Willie Mae’s soul food
With a mellow atmosphere and a jazz-themed front dining room, Willie Mae’s Scotch House is a family-owned establishment that dates back to 1957, when it began as a bar.
Kerry Blackmon, Willie Mae’s great-granddaughter, says she cooks all the food. “It’s a family environment,” she explains. “My grandfather is here with me everyday – he helps me keep the ball bouncing.” Blackmon also serves as the business manager of the restaurant.
“We serve New Orleans traditional meals and soul food, and fried chicken,” says Blackmon. Signature dishes also include red beans and rice, along with smothered veal, chicken-fried pork chops and cornbread.
Willie Mae’s Scotch House has gained international and national appeal. “We’ve been honored by the James Beard Foundation as the American Iconic Restaurant in the Southern region,” says Blackmon. It has also been featured in Bon Appetit magazine, winning acclaim for serving “America’s Best Fried Chicken.” The fried chicken has also been recognized by the Travel Channel and the Food Network.
“We are very grateful and take great pride in what we do,” says Blackmon.
Information, 2401 St. Ann St., 822-9503.