Antoine’s Restaurant first opened 175 years ago, and since the start of 2015 the city’s oldest restaurant has marked the milestone with events that both celebrate its long history and seek to introduce it to the next generation.
This week in particular brings a full docket, including a block party on Friday, Oct. 2. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the 700 block of St. Louis Street will be closed to traffic and open to the public. Restaurant CEO Rick Blount leads a complimentary Champagne toast, and the bar will pour special $1.75 cocktails during the party.
There’s a special wine dinner planned for Wednesday, Sept. 30, pairing longtime Antoine’s chef Michael Regua with Billy Oliva, chef of Delmonico’s, said to be the oldest restaurant in New York. The two chefs will serve a six-course dinner combining dishes from each restaurant’s trove of classics, paired with wines. The dinner costs $130 per person, and reservations are required.
Then on Saturday, Oct. 3, Antoine’s will throw a Prohibition-era themed gala, with proceeds benefiting the Historic New Orleans Collection. Bands will supply sounds of the era, dice will roll in the historic Japanese Room for “faux gambling,” and there’s a “dessert parlor,” a Champagne and wine lounge and a raw bar presented by Tabasco among the food and drink offerings. The Mystery Room, one of the restaurant’s many chambers, which during Prohibition served as a speakeasy, should be an especially interesting focal point. The gala is from 7-10 p.m. and tickets cost $150, with all food and drink included. Get them at antoines.com.
Taste America Tour
Plenty of New Orleans chefs hit the road for James Beard Foundation events, whether as guest chefs cooking special dinners at the James Beard House in New York or as nominees hoping for honors at the culinary group’s annual awards ceremony.
On Oct. 9, the James Beard Foundation comes to New Orleans instead, for an event dubbed “A Night of Culinary Stars.”
It’s part of the group’s national Taste America tour, and is held at the Hyatt Regency hotel. The event starts with a reception featuring small plate tastes from local James Beard Award-winning chefs.
That’s followed by a five-course dinner presented by visiting chef April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig in New York along with chef Donald Link, Emeril’s pastry chef Jeremy Fogg and Hyatt Regency chef Eric Damidot.
The event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $300. Proceeds benefit the James Beard Foundation. For tickets and details, go to jbftasteamerica.org.
Trinity Takes Shape on Decatur
The French Quarter space that was for decades home to Maximo’s Italian Grill is now slated for a new restaurant called Trinity (1117 Decatur St.), which is expected to open late in 2015. The executive chef is Scott Maki, who gained notice as chef at the former CBD Spanish restaurant Rambla and was later sous chef at Bayona and chef at Maple Street Patisserie et Bistro, a restaurant offshoot (now closed) from the Uptown bakery Maple Street Patisserie.
In a release, Trinity’s approach is described as paying “tribute to the cuisine and techniques of Italy, France, Vietnam and Cajun Country — the amalgamation of ethnicities that contribute to the very unique and easily recognizable flavor of New Orleans food culture.”
The menu is still in the works, but it will forego the standard appetizer/entree format to instead run through categories called “Community Property,” a.k.a. small plates; “Between Things,” meaning salads and pastas; “Shell Company,” for oyster dishes; the “Big Deal,” for entrees; and, of course, “Sweet Tooth” for finales. Trinity will serve dinner nightly.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.