9 Roses’ original location at 1100 Stephens St. in Gretna is one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in town. It has a huge menu featuring dishes from all regions of Vietnam, as well as Chinese and Thai dishes. The new venture is a much smaller affair in every respect. The space, which was most recently a Cajun/Creole restaurant, has about two dozen seats inside and a few tables on Exchange Alley.
The menu is similarly reduced from the flagship operation. The standards are represented – spring rolls, steamed bun “sliders,” banh mi sandwiches, pho, rice plates and rice vermicelli noodle bowls are available, but there are also salads featuring thinly sliced cabbage and chicken, duck or a combination of pork and shrimp, and monthly specials which currently include a Vietnamese-style beef carpaccio with herbs that’s delicious.
Soleil Dang, the restaurant’s general manager, told me that he plans to change that portion of the menu seasonally, adding the spicy soup Bun Bo Hue when the weather eventually cools down.
The new location won’t totally cure my urge to cross the river for some of the more exotic offerings at 9 Roses, but it’s a welcome addition to the French Quarter.
9 Roses is located at 620 Conti St., and you can call 324-9450 to find out more.
Unlike Vietnamese food, we don’t have a wealth of options where the food of the Indian subcontinent is concerned. Shyan’s Kitchen is the second restaurant operated by Irfan Khan, who until recently operated Salt & Pepper at the corner of N. Peters and Iberville streets. That restaurant was one of the first in town to regularly offer goat, and Khan continues to do so at his new operation.
The food is billed as Indian and Pakistani, which is appropriate, as Khan hails from Kashmir, a territory disputed by the two countries. In practice, this means the meat is all halal, and there are a few items on the menu that are more familiar to Lebanese restaurants.
But there’s a tandoor oven, and that means breads and other items cooked quickly at intensely high heat, which is a good thing. There is a lot to the menu, but if you’re looking for the sort of Southern Indian specialties you can find at Taj Mahal, you’ll be disappointed. Shyan’s sticks to the basics, though there are specials offered daily and on weekends that recently have included goat liver with rice and beef or goat trotter soup.
Shyan’s is located at 3320 Houma Blvd., and their phone number is 302-9901.
Paladar 511 is one of those restaurants I’d been meaning to visit for months, after hearing great reports from people whose opinions I value. But Paladar 511 isn’t open for lunch, and dinner chez Peyton is home-cooked for the most part. Then my saintly mother-in-law offered to watch the kids, and my wife and I ventured out.
The pizza is unlike any in town. The crust is thin and crispy – sort of what St. Louis-style pizza aspires to be. Toppings are high quality and applied in the right proportion, which is with a light hand.
The rest of the menu is outstanding as well; particularly the orange-sized arancini stuffed with beef short-rib ragu and the preserved tuna. There is far more I could write about the place, but my space here is limited, so I suggest you check it out for yourself.
Paladar 511 is located at 511 Marigny St.; call 509-6782 to make a reservation.