RESTAURANT INSIDER

So much to say, so little space…
Soul Searching Mike Collins, right, (Executive Chef of the Windsor Court’s New Orleans Grill) has been checking out the local food scene and making hook-ups with vendors at the Crescent City Farmers’ Market and cool grocery stores like Hong Kong. He’s seeking and stocking up on soul foods (things which speak to his broad culinary sensibility) that will soon become a part of his fall menu, set to launch this month. His dishes (yes, I’ve gotten to taste a few) are deeply flavored, satisfying yet light and beautiful on the plate. Chef Mike has a fondness for pairing meats and seafood with fruits; the match is excellently rendered – Kobe beef short ribs are spiked by star anise and brightened by slices of candied kumquat; a curry crusted scallop sits atop a mini tatin of tiny diced apple. I think this chef is going to stick at the Windsor Court and diners are all the luckier for it. The Polo Club lunch is smashing – even if it has soared to $24 per person – especially on Fridays for the Spicy Conch Chowder and Abita Ale Battered Catfish with Assorted Dipping Sauces.
Hickory and Docx Love the Shimmy Shack’s giant sign at the corner of Dock and Hickory streets that always says something funky like “Char Glo Broiled Wibs and Wibeyes.” Jimmy Collins has a great sense of humor; check it out.
Sake to Me Kyoto 2 in Elmwood, has been taken over by Chef Yoshi, formerly of Hana in the Riverbend. Doing his own renditions of Kyoto favorites like Tuna Tataki Ginzan and the killer, king-sized Chirashi lunch, Yoshi says he will soon expand the menu, as well as the wine and sake list. At the moment he offers the zippy, bubbly Zipang sake from Gekkeikan. Its bright, fresh flavor and gentle bubble pair perfectly with sushi.
Word Is On a hot tip from a local attorney, we hear that Camelia Café (64955 Hwy 59, Abita Springs, (985) 809-6313; 525 Hwy. 90 West Gause Blvd., Slidell, (985) 649-6211) on the Northshore is cooking up some Rocky and Carlos-like favorites – baked macaroni and red gravy … Yum.
Impressive The dish was a gold medal winner at the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience – Pan-Seared Scallop with Mushroom Ragout over Creamy Stone Ground Grits – and the chef is a hidden gem. Roberto Bustillo, left, presides over the kitchen at Zoe in the W Hotel. He is wowing diners with astounding lunch and dinner menus. Lunch for me will forever be Shrimp and Venezuelan Crab Gazpacho and the Open Faced Ahi Tuna Sandwich with fries.
Go Local Andy Roo’s “Stuff With No Salt.” is a local version of Mrs. Dash, but better and did I mention, local? In Market news, The German Coast Farmers Market has added a Wednesday night market from 4-8 p.m. at Dougie V’s Restaurant at Esperanza Plantation, 13899 River Road, Luling.

Categories: LL_Feature

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