When it opened its door in late 2018, Couvant was notable for the striking design work of Stonehill Taylor that incorporated contemporary details into the existing architectural elements of a space that once housed the original Peychaud Bitters factory and the Daily Picayune newspaper. Also noteworthy was Couvant’s classic French Brasserie menu, an unusual rarity in a city with a strong French foundational identity.
These elements will be firmly intact when Couvant reopens opens next Thursday following a pandemic-necessitated closure. New elements include the evolution of the restaurant’s raw bar into a semi-open kitchen, added outdoor café table seating with table service on Magazine Street, additional indoor seating, and expanded courtyard dining. The restaurant’s artwork now comes from a rotating group of New Orleans artists. Works by Margaux Hymel, Steve Mercer, Zach Burbach and Lost Dog (Nathan Sitz) will adorn the walls for the reopening. All pieces will be available for purchase with 100% of proceeds going directly to the artist, rather than a gallery.
Ryan Pearson has taken the helm as executive chef and brings with him a new menu that is still rooted, blissfully, in classic French style. Pearson recently returned to New Orleans after spending several years in New York and Paris. He approaches his craft with an arsenal of fresh, local ingredients and a sensibility for sustainability that inspires him to limit waste and utilize as many parts of whatever critter he happens to be cooking.
Dinner menu highlights at Couvant include Panisses (chickpea fries with garlic aioli), Gulf Fish Rillette (served with pickles, toasted bread), Baby Beet Salad (marinated baby beets, romaine spears, local strawberries and a Creole cream cheese mousse), Pate en Croute (duck and pork, dried fruit mostarda, and pickles), Brioche Crusted Veal (milk-fed veal in a crisp brioche crust, crushed potatoes, king trumpet mushrooms and sauce Diable) and a show stopping Cote de Beouf for two (pan roasted dry aged ribeye, bone marrow crusted potato gratin, roasted mushrooms and a black garlic bordelaise). While favorited breakfast dishes include Smoked Salmon and Oeufs Mayonaise (smoked salmon with a soft boiled egg, dill caper aioli, mixed greens and toasted wheat bread), Breakfast Po boy (roast beef debris, Swiss cheese, fried eggs, fancy sauce, fried shallots served with hash browns) and a NOLA Breakfast Sandwich (Creole country andouille sausage glazed with pepper jelly, cheddar cheese, Blue Plate Mayo, a fried egg and pickled red onion served with mixed greens), plus mouth-watering sides including rosemary and garlic potatoes, pepper jelly glazed Andouille, stone ground grits and more. Couvant’s wine list features a variety of sustainably farmed French and European wines from small growers not readily available in the United States. The center piece of the cocktail menu is six staff-created house cocktails that will be rotated monthly.
The chic brasserie is located just two blocks from the French Quarter and is connected to the boutique hotel The Eliza Jane. Breakfast and dinner will be offered upon reopening with plans to expand its offerings to include lunch and brunch service later this year.
As part of its continuing Sunday Funday Charity Supper Club, on Sunday, March 20, Mister Mao will host guest chef Ozzie Mendoza Diaz of Fowlmouth NOLA and Bronwen Wyatt of Bayou Saint Cake. That evening, Mister Mao Chef/Owner Sophina Uong will team up with Diaz and Wyatt to create a unique and spectacular dinner to benefit Turning Tables – a nonprofit organization dedicated to tackling racial inequity in New Orleans’ hospitality community by providing mentorship, training, and access for individuals within the Black and Brown communities.
Dishes will include:
Sopa de Domplines – a flavor-packed soup with green plantain dumplings, chicharron dashi, avocado, sawtooth cilantro, and adobo
Asopao de Pato – deep fried duck confit, Creole chicken soup “risotto,” five-spice hot pickles and onion ash salt
Poisson Cru – coconut, chile and sour orange marinated Gulf fish with tostones
Cardamom Custard- with hibiscus, candied kumquats, coconut and puffed amaranth
The four-course dinner includes unlimited Puerto Rican Disco Coladas and Chichaito. The cost is $100 per person. Reservations can be made here.
Join me and Chef Michael Nelson in the kitchen at GW Fins next Tuesday at noon via Instagram Live. We will be preparing Gulf Shrimp with Quinoa Tabouleh and Roasted Beets, a Lenten dish Chef Mike created just for The NOSH, my monthly culinary column for New Orleans Magazine. I hope to see you there.
Have a great weekend, everyone.