Roots Rambles: New places, new faces
We are honoring Maximilian Ortiz in this issue for his work at Root, the restaurant he and chef Phillip Lopez operate in the Warehouse District. The two are set to open a second restaurant early next year, and it promises to be one of the most interesting debuts of 2013. They are calling it Square Root (1800 Magazine St.), and Lopez described it to me as the “grown-up” version of their first venture. There will be 15 or so seats around an entirely open kitchen on the first floor, and a tasting menu of around a dozen small courses will be the only option. Reservations will essentially be required, both because of the small number of seats and to allow diners to alert the chef to any food allergies well in advance of the meal. Lopez plans to offer pairings of wine, beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic pairings with the food. The second floor will feature a more casual, à la carte menu of charcuterie and small plates, and will have lounge-like seating. This is an ambitious plan, but Lopez is an ambitious chef. He said he wants no less than to garner attention from the Michelin guide, something no restaurant in New Orleans has done to date. As I write, Lopez and Ortiz haven’t decided on a price for the tasting menu, but I would expect it to be a bargain compared to what you’d pay at restaurants in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles for the same sort of tasting-menu approach. I am a huge fan of Root, so I’ll be there to see what Lopez and his crew can pull off. Look for a more detailed report in my online column, “Haute Plates,” sometime in March on MyNewOrleans.com.
Dominique’s Wagyu beef meatballs and spaghetti
By the time this issue hits the stands, Dominique Macquet should have opened his eponymous restaurant Dominique’s on Magazine (4213 Magazine St.). It is the latest in a series of fine-dining restaurants Macquet has helmed in New Orleans.
Macquet is a native of the island of Mauritius, and though his primary training is in French cuisine, his food isn’t limited to one country. Macquet’s menus have featured elements of the cooking of South America, Italy, the Caribbean and Japan, among others.
Look for the return of Macquet’s Wagyu beef meatballs and spaghetti; sweetbreads with potato purée and chimmichurri sauce; and Royal Red shrimp ceviche with Vietnamese cilantro, lime and habanero peppers. Dominique’s on Magazine is a partnership with Mike Schexnayder, who’s also an owner of Le Foret in New Orleans and the Foundry in Thibodaux. Macquet is a talented chef, and his return to Magazine Street is welcome news.
A few restaurants have recently shifted locations on Magazine Street. Saucy’s BBQ (4200 Magazine St.), which until May was located in Metairie, has taken over the space which formerly housed Ignatius Eatery. Ignatius (3121 Magazine St.), meanwhile, has moved to the former location of a Rue de la Course coffee shop. Saucy’s specialty is their dry-rub, smoked St. Louis-cut pork ribs, but they also put out some pretty tasty pulled pork and brisket. Ignatius serves classic Creole and Cajun dishes, such as poor boys, gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya and shrimp Creole. Specialty sandwiches include shrimp rémoulade, grilled alligator sausage and chicken salad poor boys.
Saucy’s is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and 5 to 9 p.m. On Saturday they stay open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call Saucy’s at 301-2755 to place a pick-up order or to find out more. Ignatius serves lunch and dinner Thursday through Sunday (they’re closed Tuesday and Wednesday). You can reach Ignatius at 899-0242.