This week Haute Plates Lead Paint Industries and Small Vehicle Manufacturing Co., Ltd. serves up a selection of items for your enjoyment. If you enjoy reading about New Orleans restaurants and food culture, that is. And if you don’t, what the hell are you doing here? Perhaps you’ve stumbled onto this blog by some bizarre web-search for esoteric pornography? Well, sir or madam, I fear you will be sorely disappointed in what follows. Or will you? … (Yes, you will.)

When chef Chris Lynch left Mesón 923 in October of last year, there was cause for concern. Lynch is a talented chef, but then sous-chef and current executive chef Baruch Rabasa was responsible for a good bit of the menu, and the turnover was largely painless. I had a chance to sit down for lunch at the invitation of the restaurant with some other food writers recently, and I can say that based on the meal I ate, things are going swimmingly. Things started with yellowfin tuna crudo, in which the raw fish was mixed with Asian pear and a kimchee vinaigrette, topped with a quail egg yolk. It was excellent; the pungency of the kimchee came through in the vinaigrette, and the crisp semi-sweetness of the Asian pear worked well with the tender fish. Grilled quail were served over a Jamaican papaya chow chow and again, the plate was well-balanced. It’s easy to overcook quail, but Rabasa was up to the task, and the sweet, tart and slightly spicy chow chow played well with the quail. Pan-roasted snapper was served over lentils with fried oysters and fennel cream. The oysters lost some crispiness from the sauce layered over them, but the end result was nice. The slight anisette flavor of the fennel and the richness of the cream gave the oysters an interesting dimension. A final dish of braised veal cheeks over herbed pappardelle pasta with wild mushrooms and haricots verts was rich, unctuous and delicious. Mesón 923 is open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Call 523-9200 to make a reservation or for more information.

On Sunday, February 20, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum will present the first viewing of a documentary by Kevin McCaffrey, No One Ever Went Hungry: Cajun Food Traditions Then and Now. From the SoFab’s website:

Kevin McCaffrey, a James Beard Award finalist, will host the premiere of his latest documentary at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. This film, No One Ever Went Hungry, is a study of the Cajun food traditions and how they have helped the Cajun community survive and grow together throughout the years. This is a culture that has traditionally fed itself off the land, using whatever ingredients are available and sharing with one another, and free time is devoted to celebrating food and life. A reception will follow the film, featuring samples from participants in the documentary and beer from Bayou Teche Brewery.
The event is free and open to the public. Call 569-0405 for more information.

Ste. Marie has opened in the first floor of the 930 Poydras Street building. The restaurant is a venture by Leon and Pierre Touzet of Patois and Robert Leblanc of LRG. It’s an interesting space, with high ceilings and a modern feel. The menu is French, for the most part, with starters including escargot with bone marrow and parsley salad over ciabatta; mussels steamed in white wine with chorizo and garlic; and sweetbreads over faro with kale and a tarragon reduction. Entrées include a roasted chicken with a parsnip and apple mash; mustard-braised rabbit with spaetzle and pickled fennel; tuna steak over fregola pasta with capers, olives and roasted tomatoes; and a 10-ounce hanger steak served with hand-cut fries and a choice of maître d’ butter, au poivre or bordelaise sauces. Ste. Marie is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and 5 to 11 p.m. on Sunday. You can contact the restaurant at 304-6988.

We at Haute Plates Small Industrial Fabricators and Exotic Lingerie hope you have enjoyed this update, and request your comments in the space provided below.