Dining Features

Satisfying hunger at House of Blues
While House of Blues is certainly known more for the variety of concerts that take place therein, music-lovers can also now indulge in fine cuisine. Mark Roberts, who’s a marketer for the Decatur Street location, says that the food is “Southern-inspired cuisine” by executive chef Irving Karas. This encompasses a variety of salads, appetizers, soups, entrées, sides and desserts. The restaurant also offers weekly specials appealing to a range of clientele, says Roberts. Accommodations are available for private and corporate events, meetings, lunches, dinners and cocktail parties, and it’s also a convenient stop for those who crave a mid-concert snack. One thing to try, he says, is the Voodoo Shrimp.
The restaurant is unique, he explains, as it features an eclectic mix of Southern folk art, blues music and a great dining environment. “We deliver a consistent quality product that embodies the best of Southern cuisine combined with a unique dining atmosphere, that’s really more of an entertainment experience than just a simple meal.” Dinner before a great show in the famed music hall allows the diners priority access into the venue, adds Roberts.
Information, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999.

Antoine’s new Hermes Bar
A new bar has opened at the historic Antoine’s restaurant in the French Quarter. With seating for 100 guests, The Hermes Bar serves food as well as signature cocktails, providing a comfortable, elegant atmosphere.
The bar, says director of sales Wendy Chatelain, is warm and inviting. “We wanted it to have the old charm of the restaurant in a modern setting.” An antique mirror hangs above the fireplace, while a television is projected through the mirror for entertainment.
“The bar is not your typical French Quarter bar,” continues Chatelain. “It is comfortable and relaxing in a beautiful historical building.”
Chatelain believes the bar was a much-needed space for people to “enjoy while waiting for their table and enjoy Antoine’s incredible ambiance.”
Mike Kavanaugh, who serves as the bar manager and the head bartender, serves up cocktails, including the Sazerac, Fleur de Lis (cognac, apricot brandy and muddled strawberries), the Streetcar (Old New Orleans Spiced Rum, Grenadine, Triple Sec and Sweet & Sour mix) and the dessert-like Baked Alaska Martini (Butterscotch Schnapps, Absolut Vanilia vodka, sweet cream, brown sugar syrup, whipped cream and Amaretto). Diners can sip these cocktails while sampling from a variety of dishes, including Shrimp Remoulade, Crabmeat Ravigote, Fried Eggplant with Hollandaise dipping sauce and Oyster Rockefeller, among others.
Information, 725 Rue St. Louis, 581-4422, antoines.com

Royal Treatment at Royal Blend
Owned by John and Jeanne Zinsel, Royal Blend Coffee and Tea opened in 1988 and has grown tremendously since its beginning as a traditional coffee shop. Today, says Jeanne Zinsel, it’s a café with gourmet salads and sandwiches, appealing to a range of clientele at its two locations on Metairie Road and in the French Quarter. “Families, friends and people having business meetings all feel comfortable,” says Zinsel, who says she and her husband are very hands-on owners who strive to offer excellent customer service and product quality. “We bake all of our muffins and pastries fresh daily,” she says. “We serve a full breakfast seven days a week with a Sunday brunch. We have signature salads and sandwiches that we prepare to order.”
The café also sells a variety of local and national publications – magazines and newspapers.
And of course, Royal Blend doesn’t skimp on what got it there in the first place: the coffee. “We feature six different locally roasted coffees every day,” says Zinsel. This month they’re introducing a special Glacé (the Royal Blend’s signature sweetened frozen coffee beverage): “It is a Bavarian chocolate with caramel, whipped topping and chocolate chips. The Glacé draws people in from all over the city on a daily basis!”
Information, 621 Royal St., 523-2716; 204 Metairie Road, 835-7779.

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