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News From the Kitchens
El Pavo Real, Palms and Jack and Jake’s
El Pavo Real
Literally translated, El Pavo Real is Spanish for “the royal turkey.” Non-literally, it means “the Peacock.” I find that pretty nifty, but perhaps that’s just me. I think I’m not going to be alone, however, when El Pavo Real opens at 4401 Broad St.
Chefs Lindsey McClellan and Mario Aranda have experience in multiple restaurants in New York City and locally, including Lola’s, August and El Gato Negro. Aranda is from Tlapa, in Guerrero, Mexico, and the restaurant will reflect the cooking of that region. The menu I saw was a work in progress and as I write the restaurant hasn’t opened, but I’m excited to have a place in my neighborhood that looks like it will be family friendly without sacrificing on the quality of the food.
Look for chicken in mole poblano; ceviche with Gulf fish, octopus and shrimp; chilaquilles; and a number of vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu. They will make their own tortillas where appropriate. There are plans for a liquor license, and from what McClellan told me, I’d expect that to happen by the time you read this article. Once El Pavo Real is open for a few weeks, I’m pretty sure even the most obstinate neighbors are going to come around. I can tell you this: The restaurant is opening within a brisk stroll from my home and I’m going to be visiting frequently, unless I’m very mistaken, in which case I will never speak of it again.
The current plan is for El Pavo Real to be open 7 to 7, serving breakfast, lunch and an early dinner six days a week (closed Sundays).
As a callow youth I frequented a few bars near Tulane University’s campus. Among them were the Boot and, as it was called then, the Metro, and now the Palms. When I walked into the Boot a few weeks ago, there were certain things that I remembered, and certain things that were very new.
It is possible that some of the new things were new to me because I rarely entered the Boot during daylight hours, but I think the place is just classier than it was in 1985.
One indication of that is that the folks who own both the Boot and the Palms have engaged Jeff Baron to oversee the operations, including the food at both establishments. Baron is a veteran of the restaurant scene in New Orleans, though at his age, “veteran” may not be the best term. He and his partner Bart Bell were the brains behind Crescent Pie & Sausage, among other joints, and he’s bringing that attention to detail to his new job.
Baron was also behind the surprisingly good pizza served at the Dough Bowl for a few years, and he’s returned to that end of the business, but what’s exciting him these days is that he’s scored chef Dave Usher (most recently of Annunciation, but also an alum of the food truck La Cocinata) to cook a pan-Latin menu at the Palms, including arepas, empanadas and tacos. At the moment, the Palms is serving chef Usher’s food from 6 p.m. until midnight, Tuesdays-Saturdays, but there may be lunch in the future.
The Palms is located at 7130 Freret St., and you can call 669-2061 to get the latest scoop.
photo by Cheryl Gerber
Jack and Jake’s
Jack and Jake’s has been in the “about to open” mode for a long time. I have driven by the place on my way downtown just about daily for a year, and in that time I’ve seen the space at 1307 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. start to actually look like it was ready for business.
There is a beautiful garden along the front, and peering into the building itself (which I’ve done) gives the impression that, any day now, the place is going to revolutionize shopping in the surrounding neighborhood and beyond.
The plans are certainly grandiose – in addition to stalls where local farmers will offer produce and products, there will be a restaurant, a bar and who knows what else. I would not be surprised at this point if the place had plans for an organic unicorn milk stand.
I am not ready to call it a boondoggle, perhaps because I so very much want to see the potential realized. I want to shop there and I want to see the place be inclusive to the community, all while helping local producers make a living. I see the promise of the place, and I hope they have things worked out by the time you read this.
If the place interests you as much as it does me, you’ll want to check back here in a few months for my assessment of how the place is holding up.