Nine Roses Café (620 Conti St., 504-324-9450) is scheduled to open in the French Quarter next Wednesday, June17, bringing another welcome addition to the thin ranks of eateries for inexpensive and (at least potentially) lighter meals in the Vieux Carre.
A spinoff from the Gretna classic Nine Roses (1100 Stephens St., Gretna, 504-366-7665; ninerosesrestaurant.com), it follows the model of other Vietnamese restaurants opening “express” or cafe versions of their brands (see Pho Orchid for another local example).
Proprietor Anna Nguyen’s original restaurant in Gretna, which also goes by its Vietnamese name Hoa Hong 9, is known for its huge menu of traditional Vietnamese fare, alongside a long list of Chinese-American dishes.
Her new café will have a much more streamlined menu of noodle house standards, starting with spring rolls, pho, bun (the rice noodle salad) and banh mi sandwiches. However, she’s also bringing a few specialties from her kitchen’s deep roster across the river.
That includes the raw beef dish called bo tai chanh. Like a Vietnamese-style carpaccio, it pairs the savor of thin, lightly marinated beef slices with rippling fresh and brightly aromatic bunches of onions, chopped basil, cilantro and other herbs, ground peanuts and lemon. Rippling fresh and brightly aromatic, the dish comes with a thick, murky mixture of pineapple and fish sauce on the side to add more sweet and pungent flavor.
“We’re very excited to show more people traditional Vietnamese dishes there,” Nguyen said. “That is a dish that Vietnamese people love to eat with lots of beer.”
You’ll need to bring your own beer to follow suit, at least initially. Nine Roses Café will be BYOB to begin, though Nguyen plans to add a bar later.
Also look for grilled mussels, roasted quail, meaty salads and steamed bun sliders on the menu, where the price range tops out at $15.
Nine Roses Café takes over the small restaurant space that was most recently Somethin’ Else Cafe, adjacent to the picturesque Exchange Place pedestrian mall. There will be table service, and outdoor seating as well.
Nine Roses Café will serve lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.
Meanwhile, no changes are planned at the Gretna location, Nguyen said.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.