News From the Kitchens
DTB, Bratz Y’all & Picayune Social House
The concept at DTB (Down the Bayou) is “coastal Cajun,” and as co-owners Jacob Naquin and chef Carl Schaubhut are both from Acadiana, they come to that concept honestly. A Commander’s Palace and Café Adelaide alum, Schaubhut and Chef de Cuisine Jacob Hammel bring inventive approaches to traditional dishes.
One dish that exemplifies this is the mushroom boudin balls, which are inadvertently vegan. They’re a mix of mushrooms, eggplant and rice served with smoked tofu mayonnaise and pickled collard greens, and I probably wouldn’t have tried them had the kitchen not sent an order out when I dined. I’m glad they did. It’s thoughtful and delicious, and something I’d order again.
The menu is divided into Sociables, T-Plates, Beaucoup Plates and Lagniappe. The interior design is by Valerie Legras and architect Brooks Graham, and it manages to pull off a “modern yet rustic” feel.
The bar program is managed by Lu Brow, another alumnus of Café Adelaide. Try the Louisiana Cocktail, featuring rye, Peychaud’s bitters, amaro and a mist of pecan oil – it was a bit sweet, a little bitter, and altogether good. DTB, 8201 Oak St., is open for dinner nightly 5 to 10 p.m.; weekly happy hour starts at 3 pm; 518-6899, DTBNola.com.
New Orleans has a significant German heritage, but until recently, we lacked a real German restaurant. Now that Bratz Y’all is open in the Bywater, that’s changed.
It’s a casual space, more of a beer garden than a restaurant. There’s no table service; one orders at a counter in the 25-seat dining room, or at a window opening onto the patio, where picnic tables provide 60 or so additional seats. Chef Sven Vorkauf met his wife in New Orleans while visiting friends in 2007, and the couple moved here in 2010. In 2012 he started selling sausages at events and festivals, and opened Bratz Y’all in March.
The menu is German to the core; the only nod to “local” cuisine is the Nola Schnitzel sandwich, a breaded pork loin cutlet topped with crawfish remoulade slaw, served on a muffaletta bun. The sausages are made in-house, as are the pretzels, and there’s also a selection of German wines, beers (on tap and in bottles) and “traditional German shots,” which include caraway schnapps, Goldwasser and several fruit brandies.
I’ve sampled the bratwurst platter, sauerkraut, creamy, dill-laced potato salad, potato dumplings, and sweet and sour slaw with caraway. Everything was excellent. Bratz Y’all, 617-B Piety St., is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 to 11; 301-3222.
Picayune Social House
Picayune Social House recently opened on Camp street, in a space that once housed the Picayune newspaper, a precursor to the Times-Picayune. Chris Demers, who developed the restaurant’s concept, described it as a gastropub, but that doesn’t mean food won’t be a serious focus. The Picayune will, for example, be one of the only restaurants in town with a true tandoor oven. The tandoor is, traditionally, used in Indian cooking, and Demers told me that naan bread will be on the menu, but Chef Lacoste was enthusiastic about using the super-hot clay oven for a variety of items, ranging from skewers of meat and vegetables to whole fish or lamb chops.
The beverage program will focus on the classics; there will be wines available by the glass or bottle, and a selection of mainly local beers on tap, in bottles or cans. Cocktails, too, will be more “classic” than “craft.” Manager Ryan Fairman told me their focus will be on doing the standards correctly, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s a reason certain cocktails are “classic,” after all. The Picayune Social, 326 Camp St., open daily from 11 to 11; 308-3584.