by Ian McNulty
The highly original, sometimes peculiar Mid-City restaurant Serendipity has a new chef, a new menu and a new culinary direction. Chef Chris DeBarr left about a month ago, confirms Ed Diaz, one of Serendipity’s owners, while chef Gabriel Beard has recently been hired to take the helm.
“Our goal is to be more approachable,” Diaz says.
DeBarr says he’s now en route to Houston for a restaurant consulting project. He cites “creative differences” for his departure from Serendipity, though he emphasizes that he hopes the restaurant is successful in its new path.
“I picked the name Serendipity because I believe in the principle. I live for the magic,” DeBarr says. "I'm off for another adventure."
Serendipity first opened in September in a large but easy-to-miss location inside the American Can Company apartment building near Bayou St. John. DeBarr’s menu was decidedly idiosyncratic, his dishes marked by a blend of global influences, exotic ingredients and, sometimes, their own literary back stories. The menu was spread between snacks, small plates, a few more substantial entrees and a tasting menu, but Diaz says many customers had trouble connecting with the format.
“We wanted it to be small plates, where you’d order a bunch for the table,” says Diaz. “But people were only ordering two (plates) and then leaving hungry.”
He says Beard’s new menu (see below) “reads simpler but is still rooted in a lot of technique.”
DeBarr cooked in New Orleans restaurants for more than 25 years. He gained a significant foodie following as chef at the Uptown tavern the Delachaise and in 2009 he and chef Paul Artigues partnered to open the Green Goddess (307 Exchange Place, 504-301-3347) in the French Quarter. He left the Green Goddess in May 2012 and announced plans to open Serendipity with new business partners.
Serendipity continues to serve lunch Monday through Friday and dinner Monday through Saturday.
Crab & Corn Soup - 9
pearl potatoes & tasso
Watermelon Gazpacho - 8
pickled rind & oranges
Creole Tomato Cornbread Salad - 9
arugula, olives & basil vinaigrette
Buttermilk Romaine Salad - 8
cucumbers & butter croutons
Seafood Slider - 6
shrimp, crab mayo, fried pickle, Lettuce & tomato
Olive Salad - 5
Red Bean Salad - 5
Shrimp Basil Salad - 7
Crab Pepper - 7
Pork - 6
Chicken Liver - 6
Pimento Cheese - 5
choice of french bread, butter bread, grilled flat bread, cornbread or spiced crackers
Quinoa Stuffed Tomato - 15
hominy & butterbean succotash
Lemon Verbana Gulf Shrimp - 20
house-made herb egg noodles and escarole
Grilled Gulf Fish - 21
citrus butter & eggplant squash dressing
Herb Broiled or Fried Des Allemands Catfish - 16
Cherry Smoked Chicken - 17
tomato jam & new potato salad
Paneed Pork - 17
Corn flour dumplings, mushrooms & butter poached egg yolk
Hangar Steak - 23
marrow sauce, fresh green bean casserole & pan roasted potatoes
Whole Fish of the Day — Market Price
3700 Orleans Ave., 504-407-0818