Everyone wants to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, or so the saying goes. But just after St. Patrick’s Day this year, a local chef best known for his interpretation of Southeast Asian flavors will begin trying his hand at some Irish comfort food.
Michael Gulotta of MoPho, the modern, Vietnamese-inspired restaurant in Mid-City, has drafted a new menu for the kitchen at Finn McCool’s Irish Pub (3701 Banks St., 504-486-9080; finnmccools.com). He’ll begin serving it after the pub’s St. Patrick’s Day blowout on March 17 and before its annual St. Baldrick’s Day event, a head-shaving fundraiser for cancer research scheduled for March 21.
“It will be pub grub and good old drinking food,” said MoPho manager Jeff Bybee.
From the walk-up kitchen window, you’ll find fish and chips (with tarragon aioli), burgers (and a veggie burger) and a variant on toasties, the popular form of Irish grilled cheese sandwiches. Dubbed “Toas-Tites” here, they’re made on round bread and variously filled with corned beef, spicy cabbage and pimento cheese or bacon and fig or a “classic Velvetta,” among other combinations.
Gulotta is bringing his wildly popular Asian-style lemongrass and ginger chicken wings from MoPho, though that’s the only crossover dish planned. The pub menu also lists snacks like fried shepherds pie, Brussels sprouts, Manchego potato wedges and root beer funnel cake.
Finn McCool’s owners also run Treo (3835 Tulane Ave., 504-304-4878; treonola.com), a Mid-City cocktail lounge and art gallery, and there have been changes in the kitchen there as well. Treo’s first chef, James Cullen, departed at the New Year. Now, chef Ray Gruezke of the nearby bistro Rue 127 is consulting on a new menu of small plates and bar snacks.
An Emeril’s anniversary
Before he had cookbooks and branded product lines and restaurants around the country, before he reinvented the TV cooking show format and made “bam!” and “kick it up a notch” into kitchen catchphrases, Emeril Lagasse opened his own first venture in the Warehouse District, a section of town then considered pioneering territory for an ambitious chef.
March marks the 25th anniversary of Emeril’s Restaurant (800 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-528-9393; emerilsrestaurants.com), which Lagasse still calls his flagship location. In recognition of the milestone, Emeril’s has special menus planned through the month.
Each week through March 25, Emeril’s will serve a different “throwback menu” with dishes from the restaurant’s history, available individually or as tasting menus. On the 25-year anniversary of Emeril’s original opening night, March 26, the restaurant will begin a dinner series called 3 Nights of Emeril, which continues March 27 and March 28. These six-course dinners, served with wine pairings, are intended to highlight the future of the restaurant and will be hosted by Lagasse himself and overseen a team of his New Orleans chefs and managers, including Emeril’s Restaurant chef de cuisine David Slater.
The 3 Nights of Emeril dinners begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and cost $250 per person, plus tax and tip. Contact Emeril’s Restaurant for reservations.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.