New Orleans has seen several high-profile hotels open in the CBD in recent years, and that means we’ve also seen several high-profile hotel restaurants arrive. The latest is Public Service, which opened in July in the NOPSI Hotel, 317 Baronne Street. As you likely guessed, the hotel and restaurant are named for the building’s original owner, New Orleans Public Service, Inc., (which once operated the city’s utilities and public transit) and the restaurant’s décor is consistent with that theme.
Chef Dustin Brien, formerly in charge of the kitchen at Salú, is serving a menu of eclectic, upscale, comfort food, with items such as crab gnocchi with orange, green onion, peas and sheep milk cheese; chicken-fried softshell crab with watermelon, blistered serrano, arugula and watermelon ranch dressing; and a shrimp roll with lemon mayonnaise and lettuce on a buttered brioche. The last item reflects the chef’s former home in Massachusetts, but there’s no real regional focus – there’s a raw bar, multiple rotisserie items, and I’m told sushi is on the way.
Public Service, 311 Baronne St., open 7 days for breakfast, 6:30 – 11, lunch 11 – 3, dinner 5:30-10 Sun. – Thurs., and until 11 on Fri. and Sat; 962-6527.
Piece of Meat Butcher & Restaurant
First it was Bayou Beer Garden, then Bayou Wine Garden. Now the folks behind those two successful ventures are opening Piece of Meat Butcher & Restaurant in the same Mid-City neighborhood. The full-service restaurant will also offer retail sales of meat and poultry, charcuterie, cheese and accompaniments.
It feels like the culmination of a process started when Virginia and David Demarest opened Bayou Beer Garden at 326 North Jeff Davis, and continued with the opening of Bayou Wine Garden at 315 N. Rendon Street, properties that are connected by rear patios. The Wine half of that equation featured a greater emphasis on food, and particularly house-made charcuterie and cheese plates.
That’s getting an even bigger emphasis at Piece of Meat, where the day to day operations will be handled by Leighann Smith and Daniel Jackson, both of whom gained experience at Cochon Butcher.
Piece of Meat Butcher & Restaurant, 3301 Bienville St., plans to open for lunch, brunch on the weekends, and an early dinner, but at this time it’s not going to be a late-night haunt. Call 259-5970 to confirm hours and see what they’ve got on offer.
Sprout and Press
Sprout and Press joins a number of local restaurants serving freshly-pressed juice and light fare. It’s also yet another addition to the Freret street dining scene, located in the same block as Piccola Gelateria and Bar Frances.
The juices are cold-pressed, which purportedly retains more of the vitamins, minerals and nutritional content, but also keeps the flavors fresh. Options include the Citrus Green, with spinach, celery, cucumber, kiwi, green apple, lemon, banana and mint; the Berry Cooler, which combines strawberry, blueberry, mango, papaya, banana, red apple, pomegranate, honey and basil; and the Choco-latte: cacao, banana, almond milk, raw honey, date, cinnamon and espresso.
Sprout and Press is owned by Kim Nguyen, who also runs Magasin and Magasin Kitchen, two excellent (and popular) Vietnamese restaurants. That explains the presence of fresh spring rolls on the menu, which fit right in with the salads, wraps and “bowls” that make up the remainder of the fresh menu. Both sweet and savory pastries are also available.
Sprout and Press, 4525 Freret St., open from 9 -6 , Mon. – Fri., and 11- 4 on Sat., 324-9685.