Jewel of the South, the highly anticipated restaurant from bartenders Chris Hannah and Nick Detrich, is now open in the French Quarter.
The restaurant is at 1026 St. Louis St. in a Creole cottage that dates back to the 1830s.
Hannah left Arnaud's Restaurant's French 75 Bar last September after a 14 year run. He and Detrich, another bar industry veteran, run the French Quarter Cuban cocktail nook Manolito (508 Dumaine St., 504-603-2740; www.manolitonola.com).
The new space includes a tavernlike setting anchored by a copper top bar that was built in the 1880s, and the dining room has banquettes and seating for 35. A private courtyard seats another 30-35 guests, and the owners plan to open a second floor dining room.
Named for bartender Joseph Santini's early 19th-century restaurant of the same name, Jewel of the South pays homage to one of Santini’s cocktails, the brandy crusta, a cognac drink featuring lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, Curacao and a sugared rim.
The drink is on the menu among, “New Orleans classics, general classics and house drinks that are classically oriented,” Detrich says. “They’re all pretty elegant but also fun and more flamboyant drinks.”
A “seasonal crusta” also will be featured. “We want people to understand that at one point the crusta wasn’t just a brandy crusta, but a category of drink, much like a sour or a daisy,” Detrich says.
“We really wanted to honor Santini’s memory just because he really made New Orleans drinks very special and very much what they are,” Detrich says.
The cocktail menu features classics like a French 75, a Roffignac, a sherry cobbler and other original creations like the Dr. John-inspired bourbon-heavy Night Tripper and the Second Line Season, made with apple brandy, lemon, Amaro Montenegro, maraschino liqueur and Abbot’s bitters.
Helming the restaurant’s food operation is London-born chef Philip Whitmarsh, who until recently worked as sous chef at Nina Compton's Warehouse District restaurant Compere Lapin.
The contemporary menu has 10 rotating dishes, such as gougeres with Parmesan custard, beef tongue pastrami with hazelnut pesto, fried chicken bao with collard kimchi and kombu-cured salmon served on an English crumpet with celeriac slaw and remoulade. Gumbo is served with buttered rice and potato salad. Detrich says several dishes will change on a nightly basis.
Currently, Jewel of the South serves dinner from 6 p.m. to midnight daily. Starting Sunday, March 17, it will be open daily from 4 p.m. on, and a weekday happy hour will feature drink and food specials from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information on Jewel of the South, visit the restaurant’s website here.