A new crew takes over the kitchen at Finn McCool’s Irish Pub this week, and they come with some history at the popular Mid-City spot.
The chefs Trey Smith and Blake Aguillard and their partner Drew DeLaughter run the new Bywater bistro and wine bar Saint-Germain together.
On Wednesday (May 1) they’ll also run the Finn McCool’s kitchen.
They begin with a rotating menu of between 10 to 15 dishes, like fish and chips, nachos, loaded fries and “scattered” style hash browns with toppings. The new kitchen does not yet have its own name.
They replace Wolfhound, an operation from local restaurateur Danny Millan, which served pub grub from the Finn McCool’s kitchen for the past year. Monday (April 29) was scheduled to be its last day. Millan, who recently closed his Lakeview restaurant Cava, is developing a "sports restaurant" called Azul.
Before Wolfhound, this kitchen was the original location of Rum & the Lash, which is part of the MoPho group (Rum & the Lash relocated to the nearby Mick’s Irish Pub last year, serving the same menu of Asian-style wings, burgers and a divine fried chicken sandwich).
Smith managed Rum & the Lash at Finn McCool’s prior to leaving to develop Saint-Germain with his partners. He knows the bar well from that experience, and from the days when Finn McCool’s was his own local after-work spot.
“It was my living room for a while,” Smith acknowledged.
Housed in an old Bywater double shotgun Saint-Germain (3054 St. Claude Ave., 504-218-8729) was conceived as a double-barrel proposition.
Others could make the same claim (I’ve been known to hoist the occasional pint there ). Established in 2002, Finn McCool’s is the city’s de facto expat clubhouse and opens early to show overseas sports games. Clusters of fans routinely gather here for games airing at daybreak or in the wee hours.
That means breakfast dishes must have a place on the bar food menu, said Smith. Look for specials along the lines of kolaches and cinnamon rolls next to breakfast burritos.
Saint-Germain, which Smith, fellow MoPho alum DeLaughter and Aguillard opened last fall, serves a modern French tasting menu in its tiny, 16-seat bistro, and a short list of snacks and charcuterie at its wine bar.
Don’t expect much cross over from the bistro to Finn McCool’s, however. Smith said the goal is simply to satisfy the bar’s clientele.
“We’re not going for any particular cuisine,” said Smith. “Whatever’s good, and whatever people at the bar respond to, that’s what we’re going to serve.”
Finn McCool’s Irish Pub
3701 Banks St., 504-486-9080
Note: Try This Dish is a periodic series on interesting dishes around the New Orleans area and the stories, restaurants and people around them.
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