Chef Sue Zemanick had been out of the kitchen for a while, but in January that changed when she opened Zasu, the first restaurant at which she is both owner and chef. Diners familiar with Zemanick’s direct, precise compositions will find plenty to love on the new menu, which features a range of seasonally-influenced dishes that emphasize ingredients over technique. Zasu, 127 N. Carrollton Ave., Monday – Saturday, 5:30 – 10; 267-3233, Zasunola.com.
Espiritu Mezcalaria opened in the space formerly occupied by Capdeville in December. It’s a Mexican restaurant led by chef Nanyo Dominguez, a native of Puebla, who worked with chef Aaron Sanchez upon coming to the U.S. There are about a score of mezcals on offer at the bar to pair with chef Dominguez’ take on traditional Mexican fare. Espiritu Mezcalaria, 520 Capdeville St., Monday – Thursday, 11:30 – 10, Friday until midnight and Saturday from 4 to midnight, 267-4975, Espiritunola.com.
Empanola got its start at the St. Roch Market, and has opened a restaurant near Tulane and Loyola Universities. Known for inventive takes on the Latin American hand-pie, the husband and wife team of Marcelo Garcia and Jimena Urrutia were wildly popular at the Market and I see no reason why they shouldn’t continue that success with the new venture. Try the crawfish étouffée pie and tell me I’m wrong. Empanola, 7321 Freret St., Daily from 10 – 9, 249-5977, Emanolaempanadas.com.