RESTAURANT INSIDER

Dick & Jenny’s (4501 Tchoupitoulas St.) is now open on Monday for dinner; since many restaurants are closed on Monday, having another place open is outstanding. You can call them at 894-9880 for information or to make reservations for parties of five or more.

By the time you read this, Susan Spicer, right, may very well have opened Mondo in the space formerly occupied by Lago (900 Harrison Ave.). Mondo will be a more casual restaurant than Bayona, her flagship restaurant on Dauphine Street, but Spicer’s international approach to food will remain a hallmark.

The restaurant is close to Spicer’s Lakeview home, and she intends it to be a neighborhood-style restaurant. She told me that her plans for the menu include serving family-style meals, where diners pick, for example, a roast chicken, then customize the meal by choosing sauces and side-dishes that can be as down-home or exotic as they like. With the chicken, for example, you might go with a Thai green curry sauce, or perhaps an aioli. Other choices will include pork and lamb.

The chef is also aware of how the loss of restaurants such as Bruning’s has affected Lakeview and the city as a whole. The menu at Mondo will also include New Orleans classics such as crawfish étouffée and bisque. A wood-burning oven will produce roasted oysters and pizzas, though Spicer said the oven’s small size will limit what the kitchen can produce in that arena. Mondo will open for dinner initially, but Spicer plans to serve lunch as soon as is feasible. 

Bouche has opened (840 Tchoupitoulas St.); it’s a lounge, cigar bar and restaurant, with an open kitchen serving Chef Gary Barnette’s mostly Southern food in portions Bouche calls “Partailles,” which the restaurant contends means something larger than an appetizer but smaller than an entrée.

Bouche is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight, and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The Web site is www.bouchenola.com, and you can call them at 267-7458.

Barcelona Tapas opened in February at the former site of Café Volage (720 Dublin St.), in the Riverbend area of New Orleans. Chef-owner Xavier Laurentino had operated his namesake restaurant at 4400 Transcontinental Drive in Metairie for seven years before closing at the end of 2009, but fans of his traditional Spanish cuisine will find the new location even more welcoming.

Laurentino spent almost two years renovating the space, and he’s justifiably proud of the result. It is a beautiful restaurant, with stained wood recycled from the original structure and handset tile throughout. Laurentino opened the formerly low ceilings to create a greater sense of space, but while the space is completely new, the menu will be familiar to his former patrons and to anyone who loves tapas. Spanish cheeses and cured meats are served in multiple ways, and classics such as garlic shrimp, paella and the potato omelet known as “tortilla” are all available. Canoes are small bites of meat, cheese and/or vegetables served on oblong pieces of toasted bread, and bombas are orange-sized potato croquettes stuffed with spicy meat filling.

The restaurant is currently open for dinner, but Laurentino has plans to open for lunch at some point.

Call the restaurant at 861-9898 to find out more information.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? E-mail Peyton:   rdpeyton@gmail.com.

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