LUVI opens in Uptown_lowres


Asian seafood restaurant LUVI (5236 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-605-3340; is now open in Uptown.

  The spot from longtime Sake Cafe chef Hao Gong serves crea-tive dishes with a wide range of Asian influences.

  Gong was raised in Shanghai, and he named the restaurant after his two daughters by combining their names, LuLu and Violet.

  The petite corner restaurant was once home to the donut concept Proofed. The renovated space has a colorful theme in the dining room, and there is a narrow, wraparound bar facing a chef's counter where Gong presides.

  Gong's previous tenure at a Japanese restaurant provides inspiration for the creative selection of raw dishes on the menu, but sushi is not among them. During a recent visit, there were thin planks of yellowtail topped with cilantro, fresh jalapeno and a habanero pepper tobiko. Tuna crostini was topped with wasabi aioli, and the playfully named "monkey snack" featured raw salmon wrapped around sesame-crusted banana slices drizzled with a sweet and spicy sauce. An omakase-style dinner of courses chosen by the chef costs $45.

  Other dishes include spicy dan dan noodles with ghost chili oil, "Mama's" dumplings filled with pork, ginger and cabbage served in soy broth, fried tofu with shiitake and wood ear mushrooms, caramelized ginger-soy chicken and a smashed cucumber salad drizzled with a garlic and soy vinegar.

  The bar features sakes, wines, beer and sake-infused cocktails, among other drinks.

  LUVI serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.