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Restaurant Insider

Normally when I show up on neighborhood doorsteps demanding candy, folks tend to call to the police. In October, however, things are different. Plus, I have a child.

Or, as I call him, “Daddy’s Cover.”

When Kelly Ponder and Michael Buchert opened the Rum House (3128 Magazine St.) earlier this year, neither had significant experience in a professional kitchen.

You wouldn’t know by eating at their casual, Caribbean-themed restaurant. When I dined recently I was frankly surprised by the excellent, large fillet of “jerked” drum I was served. It was served on the “half-shell,” cooked perfectly and seasoned with a mild “jerk” that included coconut, chiles, herbs and spices.

The price point is just a bit high where entrées are concerned, at least for lunch, but that’s where the tacos come in. The tacos are unusual, starting with the brisket, which is served with a chimichurri sauce and a drizzle of barbecue sauce. The fish taco features beer-battered fish with some excellent jalapeno-laced slaw. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday, and service starts at 11 a.m. On weekdays, the restaurant closes at 10 p.m.; on Friday and Saturday at 11; and on Sunday at 9. Contact them at 941-7560.

Chef John Besh’s new cookbook My New Orleans is scheduled for release this month. The book is divided into chapters that focus on either ingredients such as “Crawfish and Rice” and “Creole Tomatoes,” or an event or idea, such as “Feast Days” and “Preserving Summer.” The recipes span the full range of the dining spectrum. The chapter titled “Crab Season” for example, includes a recipe for buster crabs with grits, as well as potato gnocchi with jumbo lump crabmeat and truffles.

The diversity is an advantage, with something for pretty much everyone. Looks like a pretty sweet holiday gift, if you ask me.

Frank and Marna Brigtsen have re-opened Charlie’s Seafood (8311 Jefferson Highway in Harahan). This is good news for residents of Harahan, as the Brigtsens know their seafood. It is also a great fit for a chef whose eponymous restaurant has always had a more casual feel than you’d expect from the fine-dining menu. Chefs Ronald Prevost and Gabriel Beard are running things at Charlie’s, and the management team includes Marna’s sister Rhonda Madach and Janet Caldwell, a native of Cane River whose hand-made meat pies will also be on the menu. The restaurant’s specialty is fried, grilled and boiled seafood, but it will also feature daily specials.

Charlie’s employs local seafood and other products, such as “popcorn” rice, which is an indication that Brigtsen recognizes the importance of rice to Louisiana cuisine.

The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Contact them at 737-3700.

This month, for the first time since Katrina, Restaurant August will open for lunch Monday through Friday. The menu will change weekly, and will feature a choice of three courses for $20.09. Patrick Van Hoorebeck, who took over maitre d’ duties this summer will generally be on hand to ensure the experience goes smoothly. 

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? E-mail Peyton: rdpeyton@gmail.com.

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