Looking for a few adventurous and fun restaurant options to add some spunk to your otherwise routine spots? These days New Orleans is bustling with places that will add the spark to your love of dining out.
SoBou is located in the former Bacco space, but you would never know. A lively renovation with beautiful lighting and décor – including a beer garden with beer taps adorning tables – reflects the creative and playful food and drinks you’ll find. Chef Juan Carlos Gonzalez, who developed the menu alongside chef Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace (they’re sister restaurants), never ceases to have fun in the kitchen, serving unique street food inspired spins on old classics. It is like a fine-dining carnival really, with things being set on fire and lots of fun disguises. Beignets are pumped full of foie gras, and the Caprese salad gets a sweet revamp, with mozzarella, tomato and basil getting the boot for vanilla panna cotta, sugarcane-soaked naval oranges and mint drizzled in a Steen’s cane syrup and a balsamic reduction. This is a restaurant determined to share its sense of humor with you, and it will to make you smile. Chocolate Coma Bar is a funny name for a dessert, yes – but only because it’s true. Tuna tartare arrives in a most unusual serving, as an ice cream cone. The tuna-and-pineapple ceviche is served with a dollop of basil-and-avocado ice cream, and toasted coconut in a dainty little cone that’s impossible to resist. It is also impossible not to chuckle a little while watching grown men in business suits devouring these yellowfin tuna cones, but it might be due to Abigail Gullo’s drinks, too (the mixologist behind the restaurant’s impeccable craft drinks). Gullo’s signature cocktails are as fun and intriguing as Gonzalez’s menu, like her creation The Last Laugh with gin, marachino, lime and Chartreuse topped with Prosecco. Like Commander’s and Adelaide, you can also get two-bit cocktails at SoBou on Mondays through Fridays, from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., which includes, quite appropriately, the choice of a Cha Cha or Pink Elephants on Parade.
Wayfare is a new addition to the Freret Street dining scene, located in the former Freret Street Boxing Gym, and when it comes to amazing sandwiches they are indeed a knock out. Chef Kevin White, formerly of Galatoire’s and Borgne, prepares his own mozzarella and sausages in-house (he cures charcuterie, too) and has an obvious talent for interesting flavor pairings, all of which elevate your normal lunchtime fare. The chips are also housemade and good enough to turn decent people into thieves. If you’re feeling sinful, though, the lardon macaroni and cheese is a “must-try” side. Sandwiches satiate myriad urges, from a BLT that includes fried green tomatoes, to a fennel sausage sandwich with a yard egg. The Knuckle Sandwich, with layers of tender roast beef topped with thin wisps of fried onion, arugula and horseradish mayo on a pretzel bun is the sort of creative spin on a lunchtime staple that makes Wayfare a game-changer for the lunch scene. But Wayfare is really so much more than that, with its later hours and a full bar, including a wealth of craft beers on and bar food options. It is the type of restaurant you can hit up at any hour and leave impressed.
ManhattanJack, recently opened on Prytania Street next to Creole Creamery, isn’t just a coffee shop. Home to an array of extremely naughty chocolates, macaroons, pastries, doughnuts and after-dinner deadlies, this bakery turns out Effin Good Bars and other “effin” good sweets. Owners and bakers Jack Petronella and Coleman Jernigan have recently added a sandwich menu that’s totally worth the trip. The Monte Carlo, a pressed sandwich of melted Swiss cheese, ham and turkey between two slices of French toast dusted with powdered sugar, comes with a small dish of raspberry jam and is a sweet-tooth’s delight for brunch, lunch or even an afternoon snack. The menu also features a nod to the lobster roll, made here with crawfish, and there’s also a Jersey specialty, a Taylor ham and cheese which, if you’ve never tried it, is like a salty, melted ham and American cheese hangover sandwich on a bagel.
ManhattanJack | 4930 Prytania St. | 768-6561 | ManhattanJack.com
Pizza Delicious | 617 Piety St. | 676-8482 | PizzaDelicious.com
SoBou | 310 Chartres St. | 522-4095 | SoBouNola.com
Wayfare | 4510 Freret St. | 309-0069 | WayfareNola.com
A slice of pepperoni from Pizza Delicious in Bywater will change the way you think about New York-style pizza in New Orleans and the way you think about Bywater as a dining destination.