NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans and award-winning chef Donald Link are proud to announce the November 26th opening of Chemin à la Mer. French for “pathway to the sea,” Chemin à la Mer offers sweeping, rare panoramic views of the Mississippi River while serving cuisine highlighting Chef Donald’s Louisiana heritage and world travels.
“We are thrilled to introduce Chemin à la Mer to our guests from near and far,” said Mali Carow general manager of Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans. “Donald’s concept here is a personal reflection of who he is, not only from what you find on your plate but in every detail. Combined with renowned Four Seasons service, we look forward to Chemin à la Mer becoming one of New Orleans’ favorite dining experiences”
Louisiana fare expertly executed with French technique.
Chef Donald’s artistic blending of Louisiana flavors prepared with precise, classic French technique honors and respects the river and its coastal Louisiana home. The menu showcasing a grand oyster bar, specialty steaks, and Gulf seafood, is steeped in French tradition and subtly incorporates inspired flavors from the West Indies and neighboring local regions.
Signature dishes include carvings of several classic cuts of steak, including A5 Kobe Strip Steak, Pan-Roasted Filet Mignon, and Cast Iron-Seared Coulotte. A highlight is the Côte de Boeuf for Two, carved tableside. Entrees also include an Ōra King Salmon with French Lentils; Pan-seared Jumbo Shrimp served with white beans and pistou; Domestic Lamb with olive tapenade and garlic rosemary; and charcuterie and foie gras inspired by his trips to Paris and the Burgundy regions of France. The grand oyster bar will excite the palate with delectable oysters from the Gulf Coast; Snapper Ceviche; Steamed Louisiana Shrimp; and topping Le Grand Plat de Mer is a Jumbo Crab Salad influenced by flavors found during Link’s travels to the French Antilles.
“This restaurant is very personal to me, and I’m proud to be able to incorporate so many elements and inspirations from my life and travels here in partnership with Four Seasons,” said Chef Donald. “It was very important to me to honor the sense of place, and this restaurant and menu pay respect to that. This rich and sultry space reflects its name, ‘pathway to the sea,’ as the Mississippi River plays such a vital role in the fabric of New Orleans, from its commerce at the port to fishing and hunting along its basin to irrigation for crop production to serving as the greatest backdrop for a celebration of food.”
Design and décor reflect the riverside location and Southern heritage.
From the very beginning, Donald Link had John Alexander, a keenly observed southern artist of naturalist paintings, in mind for Chemin à la Mer. Their shared southern roots in the Gulf Coast region were a touchstone for this commission, which resulted in three new paintings and four unique hand-worked prints created specifically for this restaurant overlooking the Mississippi River. Two mural-sized paintings titled River Bottom Blues I and II help set the tone of the main dining area. Both oil on panel paintings feature birds of varying size and personality perched among lush greenery, with bright bursts of pink plumage offsetting the moody, sultry southern sky. Alexander’s work has an honesty and directness of materials, with flashes of color, that visually correspond with Chef’s concept for the food and tie the idea of the “pathway to the sea” explicitly to the space. Anchoring the bar is Alexander’s new painting Purple Grackle, one he calls a “humble tribute” to his and Link’s great shared friend, the late Julia Reed.
In the space created by architect CambridgeSeven, award-winning interior designer Bill Rooney provides a bespoke design that mirrors the river’s rich and alluring heritage. Rooney said, “Working closely with Chef Donald and Four Seasons, we assembled design elements into a space that feels fresh while respecting its sense of place, with a strong connection to the natural landscape of Louisiana and its riverside location.”
Expansive floor-to-ceiling windows provide immediate and spectacular views of the crescent bend for which the city is known, while the dining room interior is awash with a mixture of rich colors and accents that connect it visually to the river. Oak wood walls, timbers, shiplap on the ceilings and oak and walnut flooring reminiscent of a ship deck, create a warm, rugged feel juxtaposed against vibrant
Scala marble found along the restaurant’s bar and tabletops. This balanced palate creates a backdrop that showcases its deep connection to the water. Banquette seating and round tables offer an intimate yet casual setting.
From the bar areas built with timbers and beautiful green stone reflecting the feel of water, to the large pendant lighting selected for its representation of local historical influences, Chemin à la Mer’s connections to its home run deep. The chalkboard menu at the raw bar, indoor and outdoor plantings, and open floorplan to the pool area provide an inviting and familiar feel to guests. Outdoor seating on the deck offers one of the most spectacular dining experiences in the city—open-air, panoramic views of the Mississippi River.
Chemin à la Mer will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations are available on OpenTable by phone at 504-434-5100, and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow along on Instagram @CheminalaMer and @FSHotelNewOrleans.