Modern Southern cuisine is having its time in the sun as more chefs mine the region’s deep-running customs and robust flavors for inspiration. Starting this week, it also has a new showcase nestled along a picturesque stretch of the lower French Quarter at Angeline (1032 Chartres St., 504-308-3106; angelinenola.com).
Chef/owner Alex Harrell hails from the small south Alabama city of Dothan and has cooked around the South before coming to New Orleans. He made his name locally as chef of Sylvain, the gastropub a few blocks up Chartres Street.
Harrell’s menu at Angeline is definitely Southern, but not predictably so. He frames his style as a refined, contemporary interpretation of the region’s flavors and traditions, with an emphasis on its European roots and Harrell’s own interest in cooking from the northern Mediterranean. Butterbean tortellini in a broth of red eye gravy; rabbit Milanese with spoon bread and collard greens; sherry-glazed shrimp with fried lemon and shaved radish; and fried quail with honey and hot sauce over a hoe cake are representative dishes.
Angeline, which the chef named for his mother, opened Tuesday. It’s part of the Hotel Provincial, in the space that was previously home to Stella!, the ultra-high end restaurant that abruptly closed last spring after a 13-year run.
The layout is unchanged, with its small and large dining rooms parted by a handsome bar in between. But Angeline is a good deal more casual than its predecessor, with a feel of clean-lined country elegance. Cypress tabletops stand bare, and a long bay of banquettes lines one wall in a main dining room that stretches back under ceiling timbers to a brick patio arrayed with seats for preprandials.
Angeline serves dinner nightly and will add weekday breakfast and weekend brunch in the weeks ahead.
Dot marks the spot
The nonprofit cafe Liberty’s Kitchen (300 N. Broad St., 504-822-4011; libertyskitchen.org) grew exponentially last year when it moved from the tight quarters of its original location by Tulane and Broad to a new home as part of the ReFresh Project development. This week it’s growing again by going small.
Liberty’s Kitchen is taking on management of the Green Dot Café, the petit coffee shop and eatery inside Broadmoor’s Rosa K. Keller Library at 4300 S. Broad St. Liberty’s Kitchen runs a cafe and restaurant, provides fresh meals for local schools and offers a job and life skills program for young people who are out of work and out of school. Executive director David Emond said Green Dot Café will add another venue for its students to put their training to the test while gaining on-the-job experience. The cafe will serve coffee and espresso drinks, smoothies, panini — including a banana and Nutella number — and salads.
The Green Dot Café opened in 2012 along with Broadmoor’s new library and community center. Its name is a jab at a controversial post-Katrina planning recommendation that the neighborhood might be better suited as green space than residential rebuilding. It was last run by the Marrero-based nonprofit Café Hope.
This new Green Dot Café opens Monday and will serve from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday. This Saturday, Liberty’s Kitchen hosts a free, public preview party at the Green Dot Café from 1-4 p.m. To attend, email the number of people in your group to email@example.com (include “Preview” in the subject line).
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.