by Ian McNulty
The second rendition of René Bistrot (700 Tchoupitoulas St., 613-2350) is set to open next week, on Tuesday, May 15. It’s the return of a restaurant that had a great run prior to Hurricane Katrina and the latest move from a chef, René Bajeux, who has made a lot of them lately.
In March, the chef announced his new René Bistrot would open inside the Renaissance Arts Hotel, taking over its LaCôte Brasserie and spelling the end of that restaurant after nine years.
The menu will be focused on French bistro cuisine with contemporary updates and a Louisiana influence. Prior to the official opening, the restaurant will host brunch on Mother’s Day, May 13. The brunch, served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., is a buffet with sparkling wine, an oyster bar and many hot and cold dishes. The cost is $50 per person, $15 for children ages 6-12 and free for children under age 6.
The Renaissance Arts Hotel is closely related to the Pere Marquette Hotel in the CBD where the original René Bistrot had been located. Bajeux was also part of a team of chefs who first opened LaCôte Brassserie in 2003, along with Richard “Bingo” Starr. Bajeux’s understudy Chuck Subra later took over as executive chef, a position he held until late last year when he left to become executive chef at the JW Marriott.
A native of Alsace, Bajeux has earned many culinary plaudits during his career, and is recognized as one of just 55 French Master Chefs in America. He built his local reputation as chef at Windsor Court Grill Room and opened the original René Bistrot in 2001. After Katrina, he had a brief stint as chef at John Besh’s La Provence restaurant in Lacombe and later worked at restaurants in the Caribbean and in San Antonio, Texas. He surfaced again in New Orleans last spring to lead the kitchen of the Rib Room at the Royal Omni Orleans Hotel, but left there earlier this year.
The new René Bistrot will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
700 Tchoupitoulas St., 613-2350